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Apr 3, 2007 11:33 AM

Where to get a good grinder in Seattle

I grew up on the East Coast where mom and pop Italian and Greek joints that offered good grinders (or heros or subs or whathaveyou) were abundant, even in small towns with populations less than 20,000. Now that I've moved to Seattle I've found it really hard to find anyone that offers a good grinder, especially the hot ones. I'm talking big, hand formed meat balls with perfectly spiced sauce, baked in a fresh white bread bun with melted provolone or mozzarella cheese. Or chicken parm, eggplant parm, with grilled onions, etc. Does anyone know of a good, authentic, East-coast style grinder place?

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  1. Well, interestingly enough, there is a place on Hwy 99 in Shoreline called "Grinders" that serves the type of sandwiches you are looking for. Mitch, the owner, is originally from Pittsburgh, so he's got East Coast cred. I have it on good word that he flies his bread in from New Jersey. The sandwiches are fabulous, and there is live jazz on Thursday's and Saturdays. See link below to see if his menu reflects what you are looking for:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Roo

      Excellent--thank you! I will check them out.

      1. re: sianwu

        But don't go today - he's closed on Sundays and Tuesdays. After you've checked the place out, let me know what you think.

    2. Tat's in Pioneer Square is owned by guys from Philly and has grinders. I've ordered some of their other sandwiches and liked them, though not the ones you specifically list. It's pretty popular and there's usually a line at lunch, fyi.

      1. My lady is Jersey girl that pines for such sandwiches, which she calls hoagies (during my time in the east, I always enjoyed the variety of names for them). I'm on the lookout too. I have seen a place in pioneer square that literally advertises in bold letters "east coast subs". Is this Tat's or yet another deli?

        1 Reply
        1. re: equinoise

          Yes, that's Tat's. If you clink on the link I posted you'll recognize the lettering.

        2. Try the Other Coast in Ballard, some really fantastic sandwiches.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rockdoggydog

            I agree. I could not judge authenticity, but The Other Coast makes a great hot sandwich.

            1. re: rockdoggydog

              I frequent The Other Coast in Two Union Square downtown. They use Boar's Head deli meats which are excellent. My favorites are the Italiano - a cold sub made with roast beef, salami, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Italian-herbed vinegar - and their Reuben - a heated sandwich on rye with piled high lean pastrami, swiss cheese, tangy sauerkraut, russian dressing, and mustard.

              1. re: bbqer

                Is it the same owners? Because that is a fabulous tip. I'll try it soon.

                1. re: sophie.

                  Yes. The Other Coast has two locations: Ballard and Downtown at 600 Union Street in Two Union Square.

            2. Tat's makes the best grinder/hoagie/subs in Seattle, closest thing to what I grew up with in Boston. Chicken parm, eggplant parm, hot italian, and steak subs are great. The Tat'strami is the best sandwich in town so save it for last. Salumi, around the corner, has the best meatballs Seattle, but it's much more of a knife and fork sandwich.

              13 Replies
              1. re: foodrover

                Does Tat's do a cheesesteak?
                Does anybody around here?
                I've been to Elo's Phily (sic) grill and another execrable joint in Georgetown, but these are not what I seek. [to be fair, I think after taking a ration from customers, Elo added another "L" so not it may be Philly grill these days - still a no-go, as far as I'm concerned. The buns were soft Gais rolls and gummy where they shoulda been crusty - aaack].

                And Salumi - Oh yes! The meatballs in that meatball sandwich are spiced with most un-Seattle-like audacity. Fine, fine, fine... Speaking of audacious, the cured tongue instantly cured me of a lifelong aversion to tongue, hung over from too much cheap boiled tongue back on the farm. You might think "tongue, nah," but you have another think coming, friend.

                1. re: mrnelso

                  Tat's does a cheesesteak, but it isn't that great, and they have much better offerings so I haven't had it in awhile. I still think the best cheesesteak is at Philly Fever on Madison and 23rd. They have thin tasty steak and whiz, or white american, or provelone. There also is a place on rainer and mlk called Philly Original (i think??). Theirs is OK, but not as good as the Feve.

                  1. re: mr.chorizo

                    The Fevre has really gone down hill in quality that past several years. The cheesesteak is now an overgreased, over-peppered glob of meat and cheese on crappy bread. If it were better I would go more often as I live around the corner.

                    1. re: foodrover

                      I don't know what it used to be like but I definitely agree it's not a very good Philly sandwich IMO. I would be interested to know where to go for decent one in Seattle.

                      1. re: landguy

                        I'll reiterate Tats - it's the only place I'll got for a cheesesteak in Seattle.

                  2. re: mrnelso

                    Elo's makes the worst cheesesteak on the planet, don't think the owner knows much about subs or hoagies either. Tat's makes a very fine cheesesteak; I think it could use a bit more grease but extra whiz can make up for that defect.

                    1. re: foodrover

                      Here's a curveball for you: My love just raved about a cheesesteak at Fare Start on Seventh, as well as their fries.

                      1. re: mrnelso

                        Not really a classic cheesesteak grinder but...the roast pork sandwich w/ gouda and garlic jus at Steelhead falls into that general category too

                        1. re: mrnelso

                          Good to know! Our burger club is going there for lunch today.........

                      2. re: mrnelso

                        Re: cheesesteaks, I've had a surprisingly good one at Slugger's, the otherwise pretty generic sports bar next door to the Elysian Fields brewpub in sodo. It's had the right level of greasy-beefy-cheesy goodness on an appropriately soft roll. I hope they're still doing them right; I'm almost due for my annual steakout.

                        1. re: terrier

                          Terrier: your comment on the soft roll caught my eye. As I may have mentioned elsewhere in passing, my fiancee is a Jersey girl that pines for goods like Italian subs or actually, "hoagies" (she insists there are salient differences). I steered her to Tat's in pioneer square, and while she liked the sandwich, she critcized the roll as being too hard or otherwise incorrect. Can you comment on that or suggest an alternative source?

                          P.S. Zagi's Pizza in Loyal Heights in the closest to an NYC slice I have seen in seattle.

                          1. re: equinoise

                            Philly steaks just shouldn't be on a crusty roll - I agree that Tat's rolls are too hard even though the fillings can be pretty good. A great Philly really melts in your mouth - you should be able to bite it with impunity without shredding your palate.

                            I think it's as much a flavor thing as a texture thing, too. With a Philly, I'm not looking to taste the roll so much - it shouldn't be totally flavorless, but it should be in the background.

                            Interestingly, when in Jersey City (a couple of times a year), I frequent an italian deli (Milano's) that users a harder roll (like the one at Tats) for their sandwiches - I get the fried chicken cutlet & fresh mozz sandwich and the harder roll is right on in that context. On a hot italian sandwich like a chicken parm, meatball or what have you, I like a roll with a bit of crust and tang. The bread Salumi uses for most of their hot sandwiches (not the round roll) fits the bill, and I think their meatball sandwich is really unbeatable anywhere. I wish they'd do something with fried cutlets.

                            I understand, though, that not everyone may agree. Certainly, most of the meatball subs you get back east are on non-descript, soft, white rolls. I don't care for them personally - except when I'm eating a philly steak.

                            Unlike the other posters here, I think the Other Coast Cafe is pretty bad and not at all like the east-coast delis I used to frequent.

                            1. re: terrier

                              thanks for your thougtful input terrier, as always