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Sandwich shops closed

I drove all the way to St. Anthony to go to Jersey Mike's. Windows covered in brown paper and the phone is disconnected. What's up? Also, Quizno's in Hopkins appears to out of business. Huh......

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  1. I just can't get het up about a chain (Quizno's) folding when there are so many good local/mom & pop joints in MPLS/STP. I am inclined to say "Good ridance," and "Who cares?" but won't. Trying to be PC, dontchano.

    2 Replies
    1. re: green56

      Green56 - thanks for saying what I was thinking...

      1. re: green56

        I'm with you. Years ago there was a family gathering in Fergus Falls. As we drove through it, the mom and pop places were few while the giant Wal Mart was up and runnin.
        I'm with keep the mom and pop places, couldn't care less about being PC, can't stand how this nation's become that way. Sheesh, tell it like it is I say..........but then, I'm not PC :)

        I don't know what constitutes chain.
        There is a breakfast joint we like that has [I think 4 locations] by last count = Crazy Otto's.
        Went for hubby's birthday Saturday. We like it.
        Then there's a Mexican place that we've frequented a lot over the years, there are 5 that we know of, in various locations.
        Then there's Golden Corral in Virgina and that place being so obnoxious with their zillions of people fighting for a place in line at the counter, all to grab "my" piece of blueberry pie ;(
        :))))))) < which we LOVE

      2. There's a new sandwich shop in St. Paul, a couple doors down from Coffee News Cafe. The Grand Sandwich. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Saint-P...

        ~TDQ

        -----
        Coffee News Cafe
        1662 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

        5 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          So the "EYE-talian Pie Shoppe" is out? Interesting....

          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

            Nope, Italian Pie Shoppe, Shish, and Coffee News are all still there. I think it was some kind of craftsy/women's clothing store that is gone, but I am not completely sure.

            ~TDQ

            -----
            Coffee News Cafe
            1662 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

            Italian Pie Shoppe
            7107 42nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55427

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Ah -- misread the "street view" of the map. The Grand Sandwich occupies the space formerly held by Coat of Many Colors.

              Thanks for the correction!

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            And the cheese shop on the corner of Grand and Snelling makes an outstanding sandwich (with great cheese of course).

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I had a really good hot sloppy dago (albiet with ground pork vs patty) from Abetto's, and they have other nummy sounding specialty subs, along with the usual sammys of turkey, rueben, et al, I am anxious to try.

            2. This might be considered heresy on this posting board, but I miss Jersey Mike's - even though it was a - gasp - chain. It was a good sandwich at a reasonable price. I wish there were more places like that around. And, growing up in New Jersey, it fit the bill for my go-to sandwich when I had a jonesing for home food. In that light, I've got two general comments/questions on sandwiches and chains:

              1) Sandwiches: I love a good sandwich. And I certainly don't mind paying out for high quality ingredients and unique flavors. But not everyday. Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with good old fashioned good quality (not necessarily sole sourced, acorn fed, hand massaged) ham and cheese on a sub roll. Isn't there room for something between Holiday gas station and hand-made charcuterie and small batched cheeses? The sandwiches at Be'wiched and St. Paul Cheese Shop - excellent quality and very tasty - but it's just not a regular fare for me.

              2) Chains: We all love to beat up on them, but is there something inherently wrong with a chain? Can't chains be good (or even excellent)? Or are all chains just crappy because they go against some ethos of locally sourced and handmade? Is there a difference between a local mom-and-pop that buys Boar's Head meats and uses Hellman's and a chain that does the same? What about a place like Jersey Mike's: it's a chain, for sure, but it was the only one in Minnesota. If Punch Pizza opens up a few more locations, will it turn overnight from golden child to being dismissed, simply because there's a few more locations (disclosure - I think Punch is just OK). Lastly, what is the difference between a chain that makes crappy food and a one-off storefront that makes crappy food? OK - now, really lastly, are folks really going to dismiss the steaks at Capital Grille because it's a chain?

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              Punch Pizza
              3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

              Capital Grille
              801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

              15 Replies
              1. re: foreverhungry

                I think chains differ in their reason for existence than other joints. First, a chain strives first to sell you the least it possibly can at the highest price you're willing to pay and still convince you you're getting something decent. Most independent stores I would argue try to sell you the best they can do at a price you are willing to pay.

                And I agree, small isn't always better, and it's not always different, but there is something maybe emotionally satisfying about giving money to a mom-n-pop versus a chain knowing you are directly supporting a local family.

                The benefit of a chain is that, when they are successful, they are usually pretty good at doing whatever it is they do. They give you the same familiar taste in any store of theirs you visit. I know the Big Italian at Pot Belly tastes the same at Rosedale as it does in Midway Airport. And when there is literally nothing else to choose from, sometimes that familiarity is very welcomed by me.

                Cheers

                HuaGung

                1. re: HuaGung

                  Really good reply. I like your thinking/reasoning/logic.

                  I'm a big Subway liker, for their consistancy. It's always good.

                  But with locals/mom & pops I'm more likely to get something new and different that I haven't tasted before. It just seems 'righter' to me, the old fashioned way. Before everything was massed produved. Heirloom, if you will.

                  I like that Yarusso's and Abetto's dagos are way different. I like the difference in the sauces and the meats. Neither one is bad, neither one is the best. I like that I have a choice and a small window into two different families' tastes. The ethos I believe Hua is refering to. I can't get that with Subway.

                2. re: foreverhungry

                  Mostly I posted the link to Grand Sandwich to illustrate that not all sandwich shops are closing, some are even opening, but since this seems to be turning into a general sandwich discussion, I'll list a few "basic" sandwich shops for you.

                  Judging by their menu, Grand Sandwich shop might appeal to you. Pretty typical sandwiches. http://www.grandsandwich.com/Grand_Sa... (I can't personally vouch for it though...).

                  Also good for just your basic, solid sandwich (my bias is heavily St. Paul, but I'm sure there are equivalents elsewhere, too):

                  Acme Deli on St. Clair:
                  http://acmedeli.com/takeout.php

                  Also, Nelson Cheese & Deli on Snelling. http://site.mawebcenters.com/nelsonch...

                  Swede Hollow Cafe
                  http://www.swedehollowcafe.com/lunch....

                  Trotter's Cafe
                  http://www.trotterscafe.com/everyday.htm

                  Buon Giorno
                  http://www.buongiornoexpress.com/BGXp...

                  ~TDQ

                  -----
                  Swede Hollow Cafe
                  725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                  Acme Deli
                  1552 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                  Snelling Cafe
                  638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Acme is DEVINE, Queeny! Got sammies frem them frequently when I worked for a Wildere location on Grotto. Plus they deliver for [then] $1.75. One thing they do I have not found elsewhere is make cream cheese a cheese option. Lickin' my lips thinking about them.

                    The others I have not tried. I can spit on Swede Hollow, but I think their price range is outta my league so have not tried them.

                    -----
                    Swede Hollow Cafe
                    725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I like Acme. Haven't been there for a few years, but really liked it. Nelson's is OK. Big on size, but quality of the ingredients is a bit low. They rely heavily on "extras" like sauces to add flavor. I stopped going to Trotter's years ago when I realized that for $6 or $7, I was getting something like a tuna sandwich on white or wheat that I could make at home for $2. If you're going to use Starkist and Hellman's and serve it on white bread, at least make it a decent sized portion. I got tired of leaving there hungry. Without having tried Swede Hollow Cafe (I've heard very good things), of those choices, my money easily goes with Buon Giorno. To me, they get every aspect of it right - great quality meats and cheeses, excellent bread, very good combinations, and reasonable cost.

                      On the chain topic...I hear what you're saying about the Walmart's of the world. But let's not forget that all chains started as 1 store. Where along the line does it go from "let's support the place that has 2-3 storefronts" to "let's hate on it because it's a chain". I think we need to separate "chain" from "quality" and "business practices". If it's good quality product, and they run a clean, ethical business, then I don't care if there's 1 store or 100. Is anyone going to seriously call out Penzey's or Capital Grille because they are chains? But on the flip side, I think Punch Pizza did a pretty scummy thing by opening a branch on Hennepin in the Nordeast, just a couple blocks from Pizza Nea. Not a chain, but a shady move.

                      -----
                      Swede Hollow Cafe
                      725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                      Punch Pizza
                      3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                      Pizza Nea
                      1221 W Lake St # 106, Minneapolis, MN

                      Capital Grille
                      801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                      1. re: foreverhungry

                        I agree with you on the chain business. As I mentioned, I am a liker of Subway. They make better tune-a-fish than I do. But ittiz Velvetta vs imported raw cheese. Hybrid 'maters vs heirlooms. That kinda deal.

                        I think both stores have their place. I just prefer the ethos (I really like that word) of the mom & pops, and what I perceive better value and flavor. Maybe it's portion. I don't know. M & Ps are an adventure, an unknown. A trial. Chains are bland. They have it all down pat. There is no excitement or wonder. Blasie, boring - though tasty and predictable.

                        Just me. But I am so fed up with repitition and 'normal.' I like the 'europeaness' of getting my dago here, my rueben there, my burger yet somewhere else. That's okay every place does not do every sammy to my like. It's fun to search out who has what that flips my switch. I love White Castles. But not their fish, etc. And as a side note, I eat Velvetta like it's going out of style. But it's not my raw imported cheese.

                        M & Ps are foodie dreams. They are unknowns and jewels to be mined. Could find a diamon, could find a clinker. You just never know. Chains are routine, but sometimes that is needed. I don't hate chains. They have their place in my world - sometimes.

                        1. re: green56

                          I agree with everything you said. Depending on what you classify as a chain, I've eaten at 1 in the last 6 months (Carrabba's when I was back visiting NJ). The one off's are fantastic for the variety they offer. And yes, quality tends to be higher (though certainly not always). Some folks like the creature comforts of home (but I was seriously flabbergasted when I saw a line outside an Olive Garden!!!!). I like knowing (or thinking) that the owner is local. Which is why I try to go to local coffeehouses rather than Starbucks. And Buon Giorno or Delmonico's instead of Subway or Jimmy John's.

                          But then there's the Dunn Brothers of the world. It's local. And most individual DBs are all distinctive inside and out (menu items, maybe not so much). To hear some folks talk about it, they shouldn't set foot into a Dunn Brothers or Capital Grille because it's a chain.

                          I love Mom and Pops, startups, farmer's markets, etc. But I'm not willing to throw out a Jersey Mike's only because it's a franchise. What if everything operated that way? Should all supermarkets/gas stations/clothing stores/etc. be independent? There's nothing wrong with chains, just like there's nothing wrong with non-microbrew beers...the devil is in how each one is executed.

                          -----
                          Capital Grille
                          801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                          Dunn Brothers
                          2521 Hanley Rd Ste A, Hudson, WI 54016

                        2. re: foreverhungry

                          Trotter's uses organic ingredients, bakes its own bread, and sources what it can locally, which is what drives up the cost of their sandwiches, comparatively speaking. So, if these things aren't important to you, then, yes, you are probably better off making your own sandwich at home.

                          I think I've only had the veggie or the egg salad at Nelson's (that I can remember) at Nelson's and I thought the quality on those was fine, but I do agree that their sandwiches are humungo, which drives up the price if you just want a basic sandwich. I do really like the extras they have in their fridge case, namely the cheese. Usually, I share my sandwich or split it over two meals. (Dumb, but true, sometimes I'd have half my egg sandwich for breakfast and the other half for lunch.)

                          I like patronizing local, independent shops because I care about the people who care about the neigborhood. And, I like the "personal" touch and pride the indie owners have in their businesses. But, restaurants start to multiply themselves to several locations, then I do think it's possible for that personal touch to get lost. Of course, there are no absolutes, even indie businesses can be lousy.
                          ~TDQ

                        3. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I am the only one in my family who likes sandwiches, so we don't tend to patronize deli type places very much. But we do go to Swede Hollow Cafe since they have good soups and quiche/pies as well. The sandwiches at Swede Hollow are huge, I think, and so good value even though they are on the pricey side. Good, fresh ingredients. I go through phases of absolutely craving their turkey & cheddar sandwich, including when I was pregnant (when you aren't supposed to eat deli meat but I took the risk anyway). It also helps that Swede Hollow is in my 'hood and I like to support my neighborhood businesses ... but they make it easy to do so!

                          I've only eaten once at Trotter's. I had a perfectly awful falafel pita sandwich - falafels were dry and tasteless, and I don't remember there being any hummus or other kind of spread/sauce in there, so the overall taste sensation was lacking in the extreme. A bummer cos I love me some good fried ground chickpeas!

                          -----
                          Swede Hollow Cafe
                          725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                        4. re: foreverhungry

                          The cheesemonger (which, as it happens, I had for lunch) is $6 at France 44. The specialty subs at Milios across the street are $5.75. I can understand sacrificing quality for price, but when it comes to sandwiches, the price point is pretty similar, with staggeringly different results.

                          The real issue, and why more Minnesotans flock to the Subways of the world, is that they can get gigantic portions. Offering two pounds of food for $6 is only tenable if the food you are buying is simply awful. If I pay the same price for a sane portion, I am getting better food and am treating my body better at the same time.

                          That said, I agree there are mom and pop shops putting out the same food as the chains. I won't name names, but I am no more sorry to see them go than I would be a Quiznos.

                          1. re: kevin47

                            Speaking of sad to see an indie place go, I just discovered Brewberry's on Randolph in St. Paul is now an Espresso Royale. http://www.espressoroyale.com/locatio...

                            It always seemed like David and Goliath to me, with Brewberry's seemlingly holding its own across from Caribou.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: kevin47

                              I think that's a very accurate statement. And not just sandwiches. It's why the Applebee's/Olive Gardens/Cheesecake Factorys (why would someone want to eat at a place that has the word "factory" in it's name?) also exist - it's where there's a "safe" choice for everyone (given the 100 item menus), and the portions are huge. I'm willing to pay more for higher quality and a smaller portion. If that's at a Mom and Pop, or a chain, it doesn't matter to me. But the tendency certainly is for the higher quality to be at locals.

                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                It always blows my mind to see Subway next to Maverick's in Roseville. I always wonder WHO would want to eat at Subway when they can eat at Mavericks?

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Sad but true. Every time I go, there are a handful of people going to/coming out of Subway when I go into Maverick's. To each his own, I guess, but I just want them to go in the other door one time.

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    There is a good percentage of people who spend their lives avoiding surprises -- both good and bad. These are the same people who will listen to a really popular musical artist even if (s)he isn't all that great at what (s)he does; the same people who buy plain-looking boring-driving cars when there are some truly interesting useful vehicles out there for less money; and the same people who go to Subway even when it's right next to one of the best sandwich places in town. It's the safe choice. You know what you're getting and even if the food is not great, the chance of a true crash-and-burn is low. No surprises.

                                    I find that a truly sad way to live, but I know too many people who adhere to that mantra.

                            2. I'm not at all saddened when I see a chain close up, but Jersey's Mikes is in the upper echelon of chain sandwich shops, in my opinion.

                              On the independent side, I recently tried Isaac's Cafe in Maplewood (corner of Larpenteur and McKnight. Really enjoyed the place. Sadly, I was the only one there...granted, it was ~2pm on a weekday.

                              To tie in with another thread, I had the reuben. I thought the flavors were great, but the sandwich itself had some flaws. First, the meat was chopped, not sliced. Second, due to the tremendous portion provided, the bread stood no chance. Still, really good. I'm looking forward to giving them another try soon.

                              http://www.isaacscafe.com/6101.html