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Patronizing SUBWAY and being a Chowhound should be Taboo

The lower 48 have probably seen a Subway shop somewhere in their state, but here in New York, they're cropping up everywhere. As I was walking along 30th Avenue in Astoria today (Queens, for the rest of you outside NY) I was greeted by this unpleasant, but familiar, odor.
I knew exactly what it was. I was quickly approaching a Subway shop. The odor could be best described as floor cleaner, combined with the smell of old luncheon meats, tuna fish, and ass. Yup, I said it, ass. Are people hard of smelling? The SAME odor permeates every single Subway shop. If you find that sort of nourishment appealing, you should not be allowed to post. Just my honest opinion. I'm trying to figure out which Subway smells worse...the one I ride using my Metrocard, or the one feeding people disgusting food. It's a toss-up right now.

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  1. I hate Subway....everything is HORRIBLE there......yuck. Although I do like Togos...the turkey and roast beef sandwhich (#8).

    1. the bottom line with all these franchised sandwich shops is why would you pay top dollar for the cheapest cold cuts and condiments when you could go to the deli around the block and get a boars head sandwich with hellmans mayo with twice the amoubt of meat and cheese, fresh homemade potato salad etc. for a couple of dollars less? I guess its the power of advertising. i do admit that i get the urge for a blimpies foot long tuna hero with tomatoes and onions once in a blue moon.

      1. Why Subway (or any other fast food chain for that matter) shouldn't be a taboo for a chowhound:

        1. It's affordable and there are some Chowhounds on tight budgets.
        2. If you work in the burbs a Subway sandwich is better than a fast food burger. It is the lesser of many evils should you forget your lunch or unexpectedly have to work late.
        3. Unless the food is contriband or endangered nothing should be taboo for a Chowhound.

        8 Replies
        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

          I've never found Subway that affordable, for what you get. If you live in NYC and need cheap food, go to your local and get a slice of pizza. Much better, cheaper, and generally does not smell of ass.

          1. re: galiana

            And there are quite a few fast food burgers that are much tastier than Subway. Every sandwich tastes exactly the same; there are little if any distinctive flavors. And their "fresh baked" breads STILL taste like Wonder Bread.

            Agreed on the ass crack. What IS that smell?

            1. re: galiana

              I agree about it not being affordable. Subway manages to be more expensive than most of the delis in Midtown...every time I go with coworkers its about 10 bucks for the sandwich chips and soda.

              1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                Here in LA, it's a toss-up... meaning between a sandwich shop (notice my avoidance of the word "deli", more on this in a minute) and Subway, it's a tossup, and I'll go to the sandwich shop any day... I don't like Subway.

                That smell, by the way, is old yeast.

                Now, here in Smog Angeles, we have these... THINGS... called "delis", which apparently are trying to vie for the name with the Carnegie Deli and Harold's (in Edison, N.J.). These aren't ACTUALLY delis, they're just ridiculously expensive places to get mediocre sandwiches. Each one has one thing they do well. The amount of food is staggering, but a sandwich can run $16 at some of them!

                We don't have nearly as many Subways as other places, because our neighbourhoods tend to be one or another ethnicity, and so you're likely to have ten taquerias, or ten kaboberias, or ten Thai noodle shacks... and one Subway.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Actually I don't know what to call these things we have over here. They serve sandwiches, salads, burgers, pasta, hot food, pizza, burritos and all sorts of random stuff. Just used deli for lack of a better word.

              2. re: galiana

                But, ass scent aside, a piece of pizza will not do for someone like me who likes to watch what she eats. A low-fat sandwich at Subway WILL fit the bill.

                1. re: galiana

                  If you're watching your weight, a greasy slice of reheated pizza isn't an option. Every now and then I'll get a veggie delite (I don't want none of that mystery meat) if it's late at night and I need to eat something before heading to bed.

                2. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                  Although I agree in principle that the idea behind chowhounding is to ident the best of a particular lot - even chains - unfortunately, Subway is the worst of theirs. The meats and cheeses are invariably the worst of the cheap grocery store off-brands, and that makes it a blessing that they're stingy with them to boot. There are usually other sub shop options within barfing distance of a Subway that are a better choice, especially in the 'burbs. Any grocery deli case is better than Subway, and in the 'burbs many groceries are open at least as late as Subway.

                  Ok. Rant is over, meds are kicking in, I feel much better now.

                3. I haven't found them to be uniform cross-country, or even within regions; there are, after all, several HUNDRED in Los Angeles County alone. While they're not as good as some local spots, they serve the same function as Dennys'; if you need to eat SOMETHING, you're somewhere unfamiliar, and logistics just prevent any serious 'Hounding, you have some idea what you're getting whatever part of East Armpit you're stuck in.

                  r gould-saltman

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                    I must just not be seeing them, then... I can think of four in the entire East Valley.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      while there are mcd's and starbucks on every corner in Manhattan, we are thankfully blessed with very few subways. ha-ha.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I got my count from the LA County Health Dept. website, which excludes, IIRC, Pasadena and Long Beach, and shows FOUR HUNDRED++ restaurants named "SUBWAY", almost all, incidentally, with "A" grades...

                        1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                          I'll take your word for it, RGS... I must just have Chow-selective vision, where Subway and McDonalds don't appear (I couldn't tell you where there was a McDonalds, to be honest.)

                          Proof positive that an "A" doesn't mean good food, though.

                    2. I agree that subway smells, but it smells worse than ass. That is the smell of their "freshly baked bread." You can smell a subway on a crowded dirty NYcity street from a block away. It definitely smells worse than a real subway car.

                      That said, unfortunately, many university cafeterias have nothing better to offer. I only eat subway when there is nothing else to eat and I forgot to bring my lunch, at least it doesn't give me severe stomach pains like the university burgers. I only eat the meatball or chicken subs b/c the cold cuts look revolting.

                      1. What's up with their restaurant smell? Is that the vinegar? bleh.

                        1. While I agree with you about the relative merits of Subway (personally, I would rather have all my teeth drilled than to be in such reduced circumstances that I would have to eat at a Subway), it is important to remember that for every opinion, there is an equal and opposite opinion. Somewhere out there, a person considered to be knowledgeable about food is asserting that "if you dont like Subway, you dont like good food!" I hope I never meet this person, but I am certain (s)he is out there.

                          1. People who work at Subway normally don't eat Subway (and won't let their friends do so either).

                            1. Just have to say, this is a very funny thread. Jared would be so incensed.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jefferson

                                The smell probably factors in to how he lost all that weight -killed his appetite.

                              2. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who notices the Subway Smell. I thought it must just be me, because who could eat there with that stink? Very odd.

                                1. I also don't like how they pre-portion everything...corporate ying yang...whacha gonna do

                                  1. When i was growing up a Cheese Whopper was the highest end food we could afford. For my "Special Birthday Dinner" we used to go to the corner deli for a hot open faced turkey sandwich. While in College, getting a Patty Hearst sandwich at Booeymongers was high end. Would I be upset if people looked down their noses at me for thinking and enjoying this food, yup. So I feel the same way if people want to go to Subway. If they enjoy it and feel special eating it more power to them.

                                    On the other end of the spectrum, I have never been to this French Laundry place and I bet it really outstanding, but some will probably think your all crazy for spending that kind of money. I do not drink wine and do not understand how people can spend multiple hundreds of dollars on wine. But to both of these groups more power to you as well.

                                    Whatever makes you smile when you take a bite, savor the flavor and the tecxture, look at your plate and know this more smiles coming, great great great. One night I want some foie gras, other nights some good old fashioned chopped liver on ritz crackers. Double smiles to both.

                                    Eat and enjoy.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I am so happy someone else has noticed the horrible smell of Subway. I have mentioned the smell to tons of people, and nobody seems to know what I am talking about. My husband told me the smell was bread and one of my friends told me the smell was pickled peppers. I don't remember bread or pickled peppers smelling bad.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Wintergoblin

                                        It's yeast. Next time you're forced into eating Subway, tear off a piece of the bread and inhale deeply. After you come to, you'll realise that what you smelled was the baked version of the Subway Offensive Smell (S.O.S.).

                                        Also, that shaved beef they use in hot sandwiches is seriously the most foul-smelling, awful-tasting chaloshes I ever had the misfortune to put in my mouth. I'd rather eat Arby's "roast beef".

                                      2. What you are probably smelling is the yeasty smell from the proofing cabinets. Subway uses frozen dough and proofs it in cabinets on the line which I think is a mistake.

                                        What they should do is move the cabinet in the back of the house and bake the bread u[p front and the smells would be better.

                                        1. Yuck. I think Subway smells awful. Unfortunately, my husband (who is definitely not a chowhound) thinks the smell is appetizing and enticing!

                                          1. I don't like Subway and don't go very often. I will go everyonce in awhile since my wife likes it. She use to work there as a teenager and believes that their food is healthy (which it can be, I guess).

                                            However, I also feel to each his own and if someone likes Subway, I don't have a problem with that. And if they want to be a Chowhound and still go to Subway, I guess that's ok too, it's not like there's a test or application process :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: rcheng

                                              i remember liking all fast food as a teenager except Subway. once in awhile a friend would want a sandwich from there and I'd have to wait outside. i actually trained myself to find it tolerable. in college, subway was the only food available along the 5-6 hour bus route from NYC to Ithaca.
                                              I think it has something to to with whether you are used to pre-packaged deli meats. and the fact that some people can tolerate the bread smell is unexplainable...