HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Montclair - Grinders Submarine Sandwiches - the sandwich Nazi and "delicatess-sins"?

So, I'm in the Montclair district in ... what ... Oakland ... Piedmont?

First time I've ever been there and I go by this place that has a sign ... Grinders Submarine Sandwiches ... well, fine ... but what's the name of the joint ... oh ... it IS Grinders Submarine Sandwiches.

The parking gods are not kind and I'm forced to do a drive-by ... ironically I never saw the joint 20 minutes earlier when I was next door at Monclair Malt Shop ... it was not meant to be.

This might have been a good thing ... I look up the place on the web and get all this sandwich Nazi stuff.

Not that strongly worded but here's an East Bay Express blurb which says you better know what you want before you step up to the counter and place that order. THEN you better answer the questions in the EXACT order they are asked ... or else according to the EBE "he'll let you know when you've committed a delicatess-sin"


The choices are meticulously entered in a computer to be retrieved on your next visit ... yeah, I wouldn't have been in the mood to play today.

I guess the irony is they go through all this computer hassle and they don't have website or an online menu.

So how's the sandwiches? The word 'grinder' is what attracts me. What is good? Is it possible I can get a toasty sub on this side of the bay as good as Submarine Center in SF's West Portal? How's the meatball grinder?

Grinders Submarine Sandwiches


2069 Antioch Ct.
Piedmont, CA 94611

Hours: Daily 10 am - 5 pm

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The sandwiches I have had were very good, and the rest of the family and friends agree. But I will not order because he is so rude. If you don't know what you want, he does yell and gets all rude. I make my husband order. He says the meatball is very good. Grinders is said to be the best in the Bay Area. Give it a shot. Just figure out what you want before you get to the counter.

    1. They are good, but in an odd sort of way. They are good like spaghettios were when you were a child. They are tasty but as you eat them you realize that the meats are almost as low grade as Subway and the bread has all of the character of Sunbeam. But you can't stop yourself from returning. I have never tried the meatball. I pretty much stick with the Poor Boy and the Colossal, which is a damned fine sandwich! Sadly (for my waistline) I work over in Montclair once a week...
      Do make sure that you know what you want so that the order process goes smoothly. Once you have a sandwich in the system, it is fairly painless. Unless you want to make changes or run out of cash. Also, make sure that you turn off your cell phone. That is another "trigger"!

      1. I've never been there but do enjoy a good sub sandwich and would really like to find a good East-Coast-type grinder (there may be more than one authentic type). But I find it interesting that many people are willing to put up with this so-called sandwich Nazi. I probably don't have the tolerance for that.

        1. I was never as into the place as my friends. Once you eat here your order is programmed into the computer. It doesn't really speed up ordering, but it does help if you're the one picking up an order for a group of people.

          I invariably get an Italian sandwich which is only OK here. I should have learned from my friends who ordered other things. You can order several different size sandwiches - one that my friend used to order was called a "heart attack."

          1. Wow , being in the business I am shocked. His food would have to be to die for and even then I am amazed he's still in business. Oh well, maybe he will get everyone good and trained in how to order so my job gets easier..LOL
            Maybe I'll get less phone calls asking whats on your menu.....these expect complete menu recitations. Less people asking how big my 12inch pizza is. And what kind of Pizza by the slice do we have as they stare at it rotating in front of them. Yes I want to snap - however , its unacceptable and as consumers the message gets to the business owner by his clients telling him its unacceptable and his customer base falling off.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coastie

              He's still in business because he's in Montclair. When there is no good chow in the area, people will put up with a lot.

            2. Grinderman is a great guy, you just need to follow some simple guidelines. First, step boldly to the cash register and ask, "Do sell sandwiches?" Then, as he's asking you what you want, accept a cell phone call holding your hand up to him. This will confirm that you are a busy person, worthy of his respect. Then, check in with him frequently while his staff is making your sandwich. Don't be concerned if he is talking with another customer. He'll admire your "go getter" attitude. Finally, when your sandwich is made ask if they take credit cards. Then, as you are in a parabola that is taking you beyond Montclaire, and contemplating whether you are going to clear Highway 13, think about how good the sandwich will taste after you are out of intensive care.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChewChewChew

                Funny. Do you have a favorite sandwich?

                Grinders Submarine Sandwiches
                2069 Antioch Ct, Oakland, CA 94611

                1. re: rworange

                  My wife and I have each made "saved" sandwiches. Mine's a hot roast beef with cheese and onions (a West coast phillie steak). Really yummy. My wife's order is too healthy to contemplate.

              2. I am vehemently against this place. The prices are high, and do not compute when you realize the lack of quality in the ingredients...there just seems to be nothing really special about the sandwiches, and the rolls seemed very narrow.

                The hype about his personality and traits never became reality for me, but I did notice that when he is not around that his employees are pretty unmotivated...the reign of terror must have a downside, namely folks that don't care much when you are not there.

                If I want a sandwich, I'll go to Genova in Temescal, and if I'm hungry in Montclair I'll hit one of the many other decent spots that seem to be a better value to me, with more interesting ingredients...

                1. See, if the Sandwich Nazi's sandwiches were exceptional, I could put up with his antics.

                  But when the subs are mediocre (as were the 2 I had, both variations on the basic "Italian") his obnoxious behavior just comes off as silly. I doubt I'll be back. There's an A.G. Ferrari's in the Montclair village, if I recall correctly, and other options for chow that, while not exceptional, beat what these guys offer.

                  One thing in their defense...I do think saving people's orders in the system is a bright idea.