Thursday, September 22, 2011

The New Yellow Sub

Many people in Fort Collins know that the owner of the Yellow Sub, Frank Gallagher, decided to retire a couple months ago and was planning to close the doors of this beloved sandwich institution. This made many people upset and searching for answers. Luckily, in a deus ex machina twist, a group of young men decided to take over and keep the joint running -- promising no changes whatsoever to the setting or the product.

My brother and I ate over at Yellow Sub last month and it was my greatest wish for everything to remain the same but there were some changes that were immediately noticeable. First, the soda machine was turned around so that patrons could get refills at their own pace. As you may know from my review on Yellow Sub, a constant and healthy douse of soda is key in wolfing down a sandwich there. I also noticed 3 guys in the kitchen, which I also took as a good sign in terms of speedy orders. One thing that I found unsettling was that the famous note stating "if you get your meal in under 10 minutes, it will be a miracle" was gone (perhaps taken by Frank as a keepsake) and replaced with the same message on a neon pink or orange piece of paper. If the note had to be replaced, I think a golden plaque would haven been more appropriate.

Going with the old standby, I ordered the 12" Super, which has turkey, ham and salami and a mess of fries. I asked for lettuce, tomato, and that awesome onion/pepper/pickle concoction plus oil and vinegar. After a bit of an expected wait, the food arrived and I was shocked to see the sandwich laden with mustard and mayo. Both have their place, but I must have the oil/vinegar on a Yellow Sub. I don't ever do this, but I sent it back. In no time at all, a replacement sandwich was back on the table with an explanation that 2 of the 3 guys back in the kitchen were trainees. Kudos to the new owner for cranking that (hopefully saliva-less) sandwich out so quickly. On to the sandwich itself...

Back in the day, Frank served the sandwiches almost open-faced and left it to the eater to fold over the mass of meat, cheese, and fixins himself. However, this is now done in advance and doesn't seem as messy. This change is not as helpful as it may sound, as there wasn't nearly as much of that relish as I expected. Additionally, the salami was missing and the ham wasn't the thinly shaved boiled ham that was so good before but a thick slice of smoked ham. Finally, the sandwich seemed really cold. This might be beneficial in stopping the spread of food-borne illnesses but made the sandwich seem pre-made. Not that I am making that claim, but combined with the thick cut smoked ham I had a brief airport sandwich flashback.

The fries were good but needed to stay in the fryer just a tad longer as they were a bit soft.

I really admire what the new owners of the Yellow Sub are trying to accomplish and I can accept that their plan may not be to do exactly as Frank Gallagher did, after all. But for us purists I have the following recommendations:
  1. Turn up the temp in the Fridge Counter a bit and let the bread be room temperature. A really cold sandwich is unpleasant to eat.
  2. Serve the sandwich open faced again and pile the fillings up more especially the onion/pickle/pepper relish.
  3. Further to #2, don't lay down the meat and cheese in airtight slabs, but "fluff" it a bit, I dare ask.
  4. Don't hold back on the vinegar/oil if requested. Douse it! It helps bring the sandwich together and makes it easier to eat.
  5. Don't forget the salami on a Super! Additionally, check again about what type of salami was used by Frank as my brother's sandwich seemed to have a different kind from before, which was not as good.
  6. No more thick cuts or smoked ham. The coldcuts should be thinly sliced. I call for the return of boiled ham. Imagine a group of rioters shouting, "Boiled Ham! Boiled Ham!" That is my soul.
  7. Leave the fries in the fryer a bit longer to get the crisp factor up.
With these changes, I'd make sure to eat at Yellow Sub any time I was back in my hometown. Until then, Yellow Sub will need to be removed from the Sultans of Sandwich. As it stands, the New Yellow Sub is about at 70% of what the Old Yellow Sub was but by following the above recommendations it can get easily get back to what it once was.

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