So, answer me this question: Where can you get Thanksgiving dinner year-round, on a fresh sub roll, not only here on Rehoboth Avenue, but also in Las Vegas and over 13 other states? Only one place: Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop. When this article was updated, the downtown Rehoboth Capriotti’s had thrown in the proverbial towel, but we were treated to a new Capriotti’s in the shopping center with the Safeway on Coastal Highway. Well, sadly, that Capriotti’s is now also the stuff of history. Leaving only the Lewes location within immediate reach of the Rehoboth Beach area.
The Thanksgiving Dinner sub is called the “Bobbie,” apparently named after the Wilmington family’s matriarch. It’s an overstuffed celebration of fresh turkey (no cold cuts here), cranberry sauce, stuffing, mayo and a tasty combination of spices, perfectly rounded out by their impossibly fresh bread. This sandwich has singlehandedly helped Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop expand into over 15 states as of this writing.
Though I have swallowed my fair share of Bobbies, my favorites are the cheesesteak and the chicken cheesesteak. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (well, it was actually first said by gourmet and culinary educator James Beard): “Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop certainly steps up to the plate with their cheesesteaks/chicken cheesesteaks. Each one is made to order, and everything is fresh.
I get it with a small amount of fried onions, extra pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo and lots of hot cherry pepper spread. The chicken is always properly cooked, and they’re generous with it and the beef. It’s so important that a sub like this be eaten immediately to preserve the cold/hot temperature gradient between the lettuce/tomatoes and the meat. Nothing is more disgusting than warm lettuce–especially Iceberg, for goodness’ sake. I really believe that this is a big part of a perfect cheesesteak. Obsessive? Maybe. But if I’m going to invest the calories and carbs on a big ol’ sub, it better be perfect.
Speaking of calories and carbs, you can get the sub and sandwiches without the rolls in the form of big salads. They also have a selection of vegetarian subs for those so inclined.
I also like their Italian sub, but, to be fair, there is a better Italian sub out there at another Rehoboth deli/sub shop that is reviewed here. The difference is not in the bread and ingredients (all are fresh). The difference is in the technique of building the sub and how the fillings work with the size of the roll and how easy it is to handle. If stuff falls out, it’s not made perfectly. Unfortunately, Capriotti’s ingredients fall out when you eat it because they stack everything on the roll without folding the meats/cheese over the fillings. It’s like a big salad sitting on top of bread. Construction is important when combining all the various textures present in a good Italian sub. The techniques and critical dynamics of Italian sub construction and consumption are often overlooked and must be addressed! And who else but your Foodie has the inclination (or perhaps the lack of good sense) to keep track of these things for you!?
Do beware of the “large!” I think Capriotti’s “large” is the only “large” of anything that I’ve been unable to finish. They dutifully warned me — and of course I knew better — until the sub came out from behind the counter, partially blocking out the sun, frightening small children and dwarfing everything in its path. It’s 20″ long (that’s more than half of a yardstick!!). Obviously, order it to split, or perhaps as a roadblock or a cleverly disguised weapon. The medium is actually the typical large everywhere else and the perfect dinner size for a growing boy such as myself.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the turkey sub; basically a “Bobbie” without all the Thanksgiving fixin’s. The fresh (yup, they roast ’em right there) turkey with lettuce, tomato with nicely spiced oil is delicious. Don’t forget the cheese, either. My #1 dining companion cannot get enough of this cool and relatively light sandwich.
The only remaining Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop local to the Rehoboth Beach area is now the one in Lewes, on the right as you drive into town past the Villages of Five Points on Rt. 9/Savannah Road. Do note, however, that there is a Capriotti’s in Bethany Beach in the little strip center immediately to the right of DiFebo’s, near Off the Hook restaurant, at 767 Garfield Parkway. The off-season hours are all over the place, so double-check Bethany at 302-537-1922 and Lewes at 302-644-8998. Click here to select menus of their items. (L., D.) Price Range: Inexpensive.