Boss Subs recently opened next to Home Depot on Tower Road, in the site of the former Sub Stop Café at 7249 NW 4th Blvd. There has been a ton of buzz on the place, including quite a bit of drama brewing on the Gainesville Word of Mouth Facebook page. Mostly due to the owner’s responses to unhappy customers that range from accusations of altered photos, claiming that negative reviews were planted by competitors, endless boasting of his quality product, and borderline megalomaniacal behavior. Seriously, I can’t tell if their Facebook page is a business page or his personal profile.
So there has been a lot of talk and claims by the owner that their product is premium, and far better than other sandwich shops in town, but are their subs any good? Well...they aren’t bad, but they aren’t life-changing either. To put it simply, these are average subs, and I’ll explain why.
The menu is quite large…in all, there are 32 sandwich options available and another 8 salads. Most of the options are some sort of meat, Provolone, and your choice of toppings. Then there’s items like a meatball sub ($8), Reuben ($8.50), The “Bossy Cuban” ($7.50 medium/$9.50 large), and the Big Tony’s Philly ($8 for 8”/$10 for 12”). The big board behind the counter is actually incredibly difficult to read, and print-out menus are not readily available. Needless to say, it took some time to decide.
First up, I had the chance to sample the “Demetri-Italian”, a spiced capicola, salami, ham, peppers, black olives, Swiss cheese sandwich that was $7.50 for a medium or $9.50 for a large. Off the bat, it was clear that they take their liberties with traditional sandwiches at Boss Subs, as I’ve never heard of an Italian sub that contained Swiss cheese (they also put mayo in their Cuban sandwich). The sandwich itself was actually pretty tasty, but if you enjoy a substantial amount of meat on your subs, this would make you angry. Seriously, a $7.79 Pub Sub probably contains twice the amount of meat, tastes just as good, and that’s a whole sub using Boar’s Head meat.
At this point I know you may be saying, “well, Boss has better quality meat,” but pump the brakes. See, the restaurant proudly serves cold cuts from Duck Deli. It’s posted on their big menu, takeout menus, and is even all over their tray liner. Duck Deli is actually a division of Cheney Brothers, a food distribution company commonly used by all restaurants. It’s their house brand of meats and cheeses. Now I’m not saying it’s bad quality, but we’re also not talking about house-cured and hand-carved meats here. So far, nothing is really setting them apart from other sandwich shops in town.
Then I tried the Philly. I had to try the Philly, it’s one of my favorite sandwiches. I opted for the foot-long for $10, added grilled mushrooms for a $1, and made it a combo with a bag of chips and a drink totaling $13.79. The sandwich took some time to make. In fact, my dining partner was completely done with his sandwich before they even called my name. I found the Philly to be average. The meat was tender but unseasoned, with little to no grilled mushrooms despite paying extra for them, and incredibly soggy bread. There was also mayo on the sandwich despite no mention of it on the menu description. While I enjoy mayo, some people do not and would be in for a surprise. I also wish they would toast their bread, or at least give customers the option to do so instead of just taking it out of the bag and immediately start assembling their sandwich.
If you were on this side of town, Boss is a worthwhile visit. But would I pick this over Hogan’s or Dave’s New York Deli? That’ll have to be a no. Both places offer a better value, an arguably better product, and most importantly a beer to wash it all down. You have to admire the enthusiasm and passion, everyone was very friendly, and they did a great job cleaning up a space in dire need of updating. Boss Subs calls themselves “the boss of subs” but does nothing to set themselves apart.
Oh, and can someone explain to me why there are pictures of Mary J. Blige on every table with the quote “Sometimes, you just gotta take your hands off the situation and leave it in much more qualified hands”?