Behind the Sub: When we weren’t filling pasta and stirring sauce, our group of culinary-trained chefs created subs in the kitchen of an old Italian restaurant in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. We had the best Italian ingredients at our fingertips: wine-cured Genoa salami, capicola, honey-cured ham, fresh mozzarella. Using fresh baked artisan breads, flavorful sauces and these primo meats and cheeses, we carefully crafted every sub to create the most unique flavor combinations…
—From the side of a Quizno’s drink cup
Curtain rises on kitchen scene in the back of an old Italian restaurant. Culinary-trained chefs Giuseppe and Tomaso are busy crafting submarine sandwiches with the best Italian ingredients. Giuseppe has just bitten into a magnificent-looking sandwich.
Giuseppe: Mama mia! Tomaso! This sandwich is sooooooo bene!
Tomaso: Bene, Giuseppe! Grazie! I have crafted this sandwich using only primo Italian ingredients, which I have here at my fingertips: wine-cured Genoa salami, capicola, honey-cured ham, and fresh mozzarella!
Giuseppe: Buongiorno! But it tastes like-a roast beef sandwich…
Tomaso: I know! It’s-a special sauce!
Giuseppe: Oooooooohhhhhhh! Bene, Tomaso, molto bene! The flavor… it’s so… unique! The most unique-tasting sandwich I have ever enjoyed!
Tomaso: Giuseppe, how can something be superlatively unique, eh? Is not the state of being “unique” inherently incomparable?
Giuseppe: Hmm. I don’t know, but it’s-a good sandwich, no?
Tomaso: Si, ciao! The most delicious sandwich!
Giuseppe turns and grabs a plate, which he presents to Tomaso. On it is another magnificent-looking sandwich.
Giuseppe: Tomaso! Mama mia! You gotta try this sandwich! I, too, make it with only the finest Italian ingredients, which I have here at my fingertips, as well! Per favore!
Tomaso: Momento! First I have to stir the sauce and fill the pasta!
Giuseppe: Bene! I’ll help you then!
They return momentarily to their regular Italian-restaurant duties. Tomaso stirs a large cauldron of sauce while Giuseppe fills pasta.
Tomaso: Bene! Now that we are not filling pasta and stirring sauce, we can go back to creating submarine sandwiches!
A man enters the kitchen.
Giuseppe: Arrivederci! Pardon mio! You gotta try this sandwich!
Man: Buona notte! Of course! I would love to try this sandwich!
Man tries sandwich.
Man: Mama mia! Magnifico! Allegrissimo! This is the best sandwich I ever tasted! So unique! More unique than any other sandwich in the world! But I wonder if there is-a way to make it better…
Tomaso: I still don’t understand how something can be superlat—
Man: Presto! I have a bon idea! Let’s run the sandwich one time through this old pizza oven that was provided by Tombstone Pizza! The toasting process will unlock all of the sandwich ingredients’ hidden flavors! Molto delicioso!
Man runs the sandwich through the pizza oven, takes it out, and offers it to Giuseppe, who takes a bite.
Giuseppe: Mama, mama, mama mia! Magnifico! Formaggio! This made the sandwich even better! You’re-a culinary genius! You can be the manager!
Man: But I already am!
Giuseppe: Al dente! Sir, before we continue with our exquisite culinary experiments in the kitchen of this old Italian ristorante, what is your name?
Man: Allow me to introduce myself! I am Hussain “Jeff” Jaffarie, manager of the first Quizno’s restaurant—this restaurant!—before it was-a Quizno’s!
Tomaso: Hussain? Hmm, that name doesn’t sound very Italiano…
Hussain: It’s not! It’s Iraniano!
Giuseppe: Bluto! You must-a have us confused with-a different old Italian ristorante, for this is no “Quizno’s,” as you say! I am Giuseppe, and this is Tomaso! Gelato! Benazir Bhutto! Where did you learn to speak Italian so bon, Hussain “Jeff?”
Hussain: Clamato! I really don’t know! But you should be mindful of that large grease spot on the floor behind you. It’s-a hazard! You might slip!
Giuseppe: Hmm, grazie. I wonder where the grease spot came from…
Hussain: It’s probably left over from when this place used to be-a Sinclair gas station! Grease spots are notoriously difficult to clean up! Mama mia! Also, OSHA will cite you if you’re not careful. Try cat litter.
Giuseppe: Wait a momento… Gas station? Where are we?
Hussain: As I have told you: we are in the back of my sandwich shop, Sandwich World! As a child growing up in Iran, I dreamed of moving to Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and opening my own business. First, when I came to America, I wanted to open and run an Ace Hardware store, but gaining membership in their co-operative proved too difficult. Then, I tried my hand at managing a sporting goods retailer, at which I turned out to be an abject failure. So, I became manager of this shop, Sandwich World, which resides in an old service station! It was only by dumb luck, just now, that I decided to run the sub through the pizza oven. And it worked!
Tomaso and Giuseppe are visibly confused.
Tomaso: Bento… but… if you are the manager, then who am I?
Hussain: I’m not sure! You mean to tell me you’re not a culinary-trained Italian chef crafting sandwiches with primo meats and cheeses and artisan breads in the back of my Sandwich World—the first-ever Quizno’s—before it was a Quizno’s?
Tomaso: Yeah, I’m not so sure about all that now.
Giuseppe: Colombo… Cicciolina… Come to think of it: Have you ever even set foot inside a culinary academy, Tomaso?
Tomaso: No… Giovanni Ribis—wait! I remember now! My name’s not Tomaso and yours isn’t Giuseppe! My name is actually Todd Disner! We’re in business together!
Giuseppe: Of course! And my name is Jimmy Lambatos! We own the restaurant across the street! We heard about Hussain Jaffarie’s superlatively unique method of crafting fine-ingredient submarine sandwiches then running them through the pizza oven! We then offered to buy out the Sandwich World location!
Tomaso: They accepted! We changed the name to Quizno’s shortly thereafter, carrying on the Iranian tradition of toasting the subs in the pizza oven in order to unlock the hidden flavors!
Hussain: Can someone please explain what am I doing with a Tombstone Pizza oven, anyway?
Tomaso: Jimmy, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s spawn thousands of Quizno’s franchises and become a limited liability company! Then we’ll develop a reputation for being extremely disagreeable with our franchisees, even causing one to go completely broke and subsequently kill himself, blaming us in his suicide note!
Giuseppe: OK, Todd! Hey, what happened to your Italian accent?
Tomaso: I don’t know!
Hussain: Parmalat! I understand the history of Quizno’s so much more bon now! Perhaps we will have to change what is written on the sides of the soda cups!
Tomaso: But why would we want to do that? It’s such a great story!
Hussain: Bene! However, I am still confused about something…
Tomaso: What is it, Hussain?
Hussain: The meats, the cheeses… are they really, as you say, “primo?”
Giuseppe: No! They are just normal meats and cheeses you would get if you ordered your sandwich at Boston Market or Blimpie! Can you imagine if we actually had to wine-cure our own Genoa salami? It would take forever! We don’t even know what Genoa salami is! We save a crapload of money this way!
Hussain: Mimosa! Bon Jovi! I see now! The Quizno’s legacy wasn’t created by culinary-trained Italian chefs after all, but by crafty, bottom-line business men! Bella!
Hussain: But, Todd, Jimmy, I have only one more question.
Hussain: The breads… are they really, as you say, “artisan?”
Giuseppe: Of course they are. What do you think we’re running here, a Subway?