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Category Archives: Sub Sandwiches

Kira’s Number 13: Bloomington Sandwich Co.

Kira, smiling around a mouthful of potato salad at the Bloomington Sandwich Co.The Place: Bloomington Sandwich Company

Neither of us had been to or even heard of this place before. The last few places we had been to had been sandwich shops, so we were happy that the Bloomington Sandwich Co. had a slightly different variety of sandwiches.

The Time:
Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 1:00 PM

The Atmosphere:
There is a huge mural of Bloomington landmarks on the entrance hallway. We had been thinking of having something like this for Eat Bloomington, but with Erik and Kira eating it. For example: Erik and Kira taking a bite out of the Sample Gates, or something else that captures the essence of Bloomington. If you have any ideas, let us know.

Interior Bloomington Sandwich Co.Otherwise, the place was small, clean, and inviting. They had a few tables outside, but we ate inside.

The Food:
The Bloomington Sandwich Company specialized in their homemade Italian and corned beef, so Erik got the Italian and I got the corned. Their sandwiches are fairly big, so they now offer a half sandwich special which is includes your choice of coleslaw or potato salad, AND your choice of like 6 other options, chips and a drink or fries being some of them. You get all this for the price of a regular sandwich. It is still plenty of food, just more variety. We took them up on this special. The sandwiches were just ok. Erik thought his Italian beef was a little dry, but I liked it and my corned beef, as well. The sides were fairly typical, but the best part was that they brought us free samples of their new blackberry Italian ice. It was scrumptious.

Corned beef sandwich at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Oh, and while most of their sandwiches are meaty, they do have salads, vegetarian chili, and a decent looking veggie sandwich for those non-meat eaters out there.

The Service:
There was a man and a woman working there, both were very friendly, patient and helpful. They did forget about my fries, but were very apologetic and speedily remedied the problem.

We haven’t made it a habit of telling the places we go about our Eat Bloomington project, but when we asked them if we could take pictures, they were very interested in our project and we even gave them our website. It’s taken us awhile to get this review up (sorry! We’ve been on vacation), but hopefully they read this.

The Price:
Most full-sized sandwiches were $5-7. ($6-9 these days. -Erik, May 2014) The sandwiches are definitely not stingy in size, so getting either the full sandwich or the half sandwich combo with the sides and/or drink is definitely worth the price.

The Rest:
While writing this review, I have gotten very hungry and want to go back to Bloomington Sandwich Co. to try another one of their sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get the BBQ beef this time.

Edit: Erik is a dork and forgot it was Saturday, so it was already closed when we got there. Some other day…

How Often Would I Go Back?
Every 2 months

 

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Erik Eats Sandwiches, in Bloomington, from a Company

Erik eating a pickle at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Our trip to the Bloomington Sandwich Company has taught us an important lesson: take pictures of the restaurant interior after eating. We came to this conclusion because we realized that if we take the pictures first, we usually have to explain why to the employees, and after we tell them that we review restaurants on a blog, it becomes difficult to determine whether they treat us well because they treat all their customers well or because they want to get a good review. I’ll try to be as honest as possible with this review even though I liked the folks at the BSC. The staff seemed excited about our project and we unfortunately gave them the website’s address while our review backlog already had three restaurants in it and right before we went on a two-week vacation, so almost an entire month has passed since we told them that we would review their little sandwich shop. If anyone from the shop ever gets around to reading this, sorry for the delay.

Kira, looking at a mural at the Bloomington Sandwich Co.The Company sits smack-dab in the middle of downtown Bloomington, squeezed in between an “adventure outfitter” and a cooking supply store with a very strong gay-pride theme. A large mural featuring Bloomington landmarks covers one wall, which I found odd because I hadn’t realized that Bloomington had any landmarks. In comparison to the other sandwich shops we’ve eaten at recently, they have quite reasonable prices and decently-sized sandwiches. (They’ve since moved to a new location, with completely different decor. -Erik, May 2014)

They advertise that they cook their own corned and Italian beef, which I usually consider a good sign. Unfortunately, the homemade beef had a dry, crumbly taste to it that put me off a bit. Italian beef sandwich at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Fortunately, I don’t have anything else bad to say about the place.

The staff treated us well, even giving us little cups of blackberry Italian ice for free. At first I thought they gave us the free treat in order to secure a better review, but I noticed that they had also offered the free samples to everyone else in the place. I think they’d recently added the Italian ice to the menu, and that they wanted to make sure everyone knew how good it tasted. And it did taste good. As did everything else I ate, other than the beef itself. The potato salad, the pickles, the cole slaw*, and even the toasted buns on which the beef sat all tasted quite good. (*Understand that when it comes to cole slaw, I only use the phrase “quite good” in the relative sense, as I don’t think any cole slaw has ever deserved to get called “quite good” in absolute.) The french fries didn’t astound, but they served their purpose.

Blackberry Italian ice from the Bloomington Sandwich Co.I’ve mentioned that the size of the sandwiches did not disappoint, but lest you think I’ve lost my marbles after looking at the pictures, keep in mind that we took advantage of a special deal where for the same price as the full sandwich (somewhere between $4.99 and $5.99 ($5.99 and $8.49 these days. -Erik, May 2014)), you get a half sandwich, a cup of either cole slaw or potato salad, and one of the following:

  • a fountain drink and a bag of chips (my choice)
  • an order of fries (Kira‘s choice)
  • a house side salad
  • a cup of soup
  • a cup of chili
  • a side of chips and salsa

So despite my misgivings about the homemade beef, I do like the place, and we’ll certainly go back. In fact, Kira has just informed me that she wishes to eat there today, just as soon as we finish these reviews.

Addendum:

If you think that I wouldn’t try to go to a restaurant that had closed for the day merely fifteen minutes after typing the restaurant’s hours into the info page, you’d be wrong.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3, Ooh – 3, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)

Update (May 4th, 2014):

Kira and I have eaten here many times since then, and we really like the place now, both for their friendliness and the good sandwiches.

 

 

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Bloomington Sandwich Company

Exterior Bloomington Sandwich Co(Update: The Bloomington Sandwich Company has moved to a new location, next to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. -Erik, May 2014)

A sandwich shop with free delivery within a quarter mile radius

Location:

118 E Kirkwood Ave (map)
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 330-9611
(812) 330-9612 (fax)

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 11:30am – 3:30pm

Website: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com
Menu: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com/menu.pdf

(Info updated May 2014. -Erik)

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3, Ooh – 3, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Every 2 months (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

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Kira’s Number 10 1/2: Bella Cucina

Kira, holding a sandwich at Bella Cucina(Update: Bella Cucina closed a few years ago. -Erik, May 2014)

The Place: Bella Cucina

Like Erik said, this place wasn’t in our phonebook, but it was on an online phonebook, and it sounded interesting, so we thought we’d check it out. Since it’s not in our phonebook, we decided that alphabetical order wasn’t crucial. We did try to go to Bella Cucina before Big Mouth Subs, but they were closed. They have weird hours, something like noon to 6pm. So we went to Big Mouth Subs, and then headed to Bella Cucina on another day for a late lunch.

The Time:
Thursday, June 08, 2006, around 2pm

Knickknacks and business cards at Bella CucinaThe Atmosphere:
Even though the address listed in the phone book is on Rogers, you actually have to turn onto 4th street to get to it. It’s at the end of a block of offices, and I have no idea how/if they get any business.

From the name, (Bella Cucina is Italian for “beautiful kitchen”) I expected a little Italian bistro, but what we got was another sandwich shop. The decor seemed like it had been very carefully picked out. There were 3 tables to sit at, and apparently they were made by a local artist and were for sale. The place is small, but cute and inviting.

The Food:
There was a sign on the wall saying that you could order lasagna or chicken parmigiana to go for dinner, but other than that the place served mainly specialty sandwiches. I ordered the #1 The Red Onion (Smoked turkey, crisp bacon, Fuji apple slices, melted gouda, sautéed onions and cream cheese on sourdough bread). Of course I ordered this without the onions.

The Red Onion sandwich, minus the onions

The Red Onion, minus the onions

I was very excited to see that they put apples on a sandwich. My friend Ruth introduced me to putting chopped up apples into tuna fish sandwiches a few years ago, and it really is good! It adds a sweetness and crunchiness that somehow works. The apples slices in this sandwich worked, as well. In fact the whole sandwich worked. I really enjoyed it, I just wished that there had been more of it.

Erik had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, which was quite tasty, but he wanted more of a sandwich, as well. The sandwiches come only with a sandwich, and they don’t have free glasses of water, which is very weird to me coming from Arizona where it’s against the law not to have free water available. They did have bottled water and soda for $1 each.

If we had still been really hungry, we could have ordered a salad or soup, but we decided against it.

The Service:
After talking for a few minutes to the friendly older man who seem to own the place, it became obvious that he was not in this for the money. His name was Victor, and he and his sister, Victoria, recently moved to Bloomington to semi-retire after running a successful restaurant in Florida. Victor smelled like he had just come in from a smoke break, but was very friendly. Since we were the only people in the small place, I felt an awkward obligation to keep a conversation with him.

Obligatory photo of Kira with her mouth full of a sandwich.The Price:
The sandwiches were really good, but a little overpriced for their size at $5-6 each. Not outrageous, we just wanted more.

The Rest:
This place is definitely a nice change to the chain sub shops, but you pay a little more for it.

How Often Would I Go Back?
Every 2 months.

 

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Erik Eats a Beautiful Kitchen

The interior of Bella Cucina, with Kira's back. The owner is in the back.(Update: Bella Cucina closed a few years ago. -Erik, May 2014)

Bella Cucina does not appear in our phone book, as it only opened a few months ago. Originally, we had planned on just skipping any restaurant that didn’t show up in our phone book, but the obsessive-compulsive halves of our personalities simply would not allow this. On the other hand, neither of us wanted to start over every time we found a new restaurant, so we decided to compromise with the following rule:

  • Erik and Kira are under no obligation to visit restaurants that do not appear in the designated phone book. If they choose to eat at such a restaurant, they are under no obligation to maintain the alphabetical order.
Hand-painted chairs and tables.

A sign said that the hand-painted furniture were for sale by a local artist.

Whenever possible, we’ll try to keep any alphabetic variation from getting too far. If you think we’ve skipped someplace worth eating, please let us know, and we may try to fill the gap. We’ve decided to use the unlisted restaurants as filler for when the alphabetical order puts too many of the same type of restaurant in a row. In this case, we had just started on a long list of sandwich shops, and so we thought we’d stick this new place in between.
As it turns out, this new place mostly serves sandwiches. We should really check up on these things before we leave the house.

Bella Cucina sits inconspicuously in the far corner of a little building with a tiny little sign in the front. It stays open a little past lunch, long enough for someone to pick up one of their “dinners to go,” but not long enough to eat it there. The outside of Bella Cucina, with it's tiny little, barely noticeable sign.Even before we went inside, I began to wonder how the place could possibly make enough money to stay in business. Sure enough, we didn’t see any other customers during our entire visit. At first, this struck me as odd, but after talking to the owner for a few minutes, things began to make more sense. Apparently the owner used to run a large, successful restaurant in Florida, and as he got closer to retirement age, he decided to move someplace quieter and open up a small sandwich shop to get away from his previous, very busy lifestyle. He didn’t seem to care much about doing a lot of business, and that fact showed through some of his decisions. For example, he had opted not to pay the extra money to install enough plumbing to have free water to serve, so we had to buy tiny little bottles of water or soda. It always surprises me to find places that won’t even give a little cup of water to paying customers, but I come from a state that outlawed refusing to give free drinking water to anyone. I keep getting reminded that I don’t live in the desert any more.

Bella Cucina's little cordon bleu sandwich with little bottles of Coca-Cola and water.Thankfully, the owner’s lazy manner didn’t extend to his sandwich-making. My chicken cordon bleu sandwich tasted excellent, although I wished that I could have ordered a larger sandwich. Maybe he only serves the little bottles of soda to make his sandwiches seem bigger. I also enjoyed my few bites of Kira‘s “red onion” sandwich (turkey, bacon, cream cheese, gouda, sautéed onion, and apple), which she ordered without the onion. I wouldn’t have chosen to put apple on a sandwich myself, but it actually worked out pretty well.

I enjoyed the food, and I would gladly have stopped in to pick up a sandwich periodically if only they hadn’t cost the same (about $6-$8) as sandwiches three times their size. At some places, I will gladly pay large amounts of money for good food, but in this case, the taste can’t quite make up for the one-two combination of price and size.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 4, Ooh – 3.5, Ah – 3, Wow – 2 (Huh?)

 

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Bella Cucina

Exterior of Bella Cucina(Update: Bella Cucina closed a few years ago. -Erik, May 2014)

A sandwich shop

118 S Rogers St (map)
Bloomington, IN 47404

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 4, Ooh – 3.5, Ah – 3, Wow – 2 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Every 2 months (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

 

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Erik Eats Big Mouth

Erik, contemplating a messy meatball sub at Big Mouth Subs(Update: Big Mouth Subs closed down a few years ago. It’s been replaced by an Asian restaurant named Red Chopsticks. -Erik, May 2014)

I find it difficult to review Big Mouth Subs without comparing it to Subway. I don’t view Subway as the epitome of sandwich shops, and while I eat there often, I only do so because they put in a location right next to the math building. But the sandwiches at Big Mouth and at Subway look so similar, that I couldn’t avoid making the comparison. Big Mouth has essentially the same ingredients, sandwiches, and sides, although they do have big pickles. I do like the fact that they have four- and eight-inch sandwiches; my appetite usually sits frustratingly between sizes at other sandwich shops. Unfortunately, the reasons for preferring Big Mouth to Subway, or any other sandwich shop end there. The smaller sandwiches don’t really cost any less, and I find the taste markedly inferior (and I don’t even like Subway that much.)

Meatball sub at Big Mouth Subs

The Big Balls.

Whatever Kira may say, I have eaten there before, but only once almost a year ago. They didn’t impress me then, but I’d had a bad week, so I decided to withhold my opinion until I could eat there while in a better mood. I definitely felt better this time around, and when we got there, the big windows and bright colors sent out happy vibes that grabbed a hold of my brain and made me really want to like the place. (Note: the chairs may look snazzy, but you’ll feel much more comfortable sitting in the booths.)

 Club Big Mouth (turkey, ham, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise)

The Club Big Mouth.

I guess I do like the shop itself, but the food didn’t make me as happy. The meatballs on my meatball sandwich tasted like meat but lacked that distinctive beefy flavor. Maybe they don’t call them “beefballs” for a reason. The sandwich dripped all over the place, which I mention not because it bothered me but because we got a good picture from it. I also ordered a Club Big Mouth because I like club sandwiches, and most places I’ve eaten don’t screw up club sandwiches. Big Mouth Subs joins the long list of places that don’t screw up club sandwiches, but stays off the much shorter list of places that do them very well. Kira ordered a Cream and Crimson, which bears more in common with the Subway Club than it does with the colors white and red. We thought of quite a few ingredients that would better serve the name. Again, I have no serious complaints about the taste, but I can get similar sandwiches elsewhere that cost less, fill me up more, and taste better. Even though the taste of the sandwiches didn’t impress me, I have to give them credit for naming their meatball sandwich “Big Balls” and their bologna sandwich “Cheap Date.” I wish I had more to say, but Big Mouth Subs just doesn’t inspire much emotion one way or the other.

Oh, I thought of something else to say:

I like cookies.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 2, Ooh – 2, Ah – 2.5, Wow – .5 (Huh?)

 

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