Although not as prevalent as pizza, sub shops abound here in Rehoboth Beach. Rather than try and review them all (at the expense of further hip expansion, as one must eat in order to review), I'm going to focus on a select few. Namely, Capriotti's, PrimoHoagies, Casapulla's, and Touch of Italy.
I've been eating cheese subs since I was 10, since that was usually the only item on the deli menu catering to my culinary persuasion. Thankfully, times have changed.
I was delighted when I went into Capriotti's and they had an entirely new menu board devoted to salads and vegetarian subs! They're now offering five vegetarian sandwiches: the cheese sub, the garden sub, the cheeseburger sub (meatless soy protein), hamburger (meatless) and their new turkey sub which is offered two ways, regular and Cole. The cheese sub usually includes three cheeses, provolone, Swiss and American, but of course you can have it any way you want. The garden sub is basically a salad on a roll. Along with my non-vegetarian friends, I sampled the cheeseburger sub and the new turkey sub. Both got high marks all around. (Note that Capriotti's is super generous with portions and even a small veggie cheeseburger sub contains two patties!) Very good veggie burger both in flavor and texture. The regular turkey sub was also surprisingly good although the fake turkey does not taste like turkey. My carnivore friends thought it tasted more like pressed chicken, if they had to pick a flavor. Again, high marks in flavor and texture. The Cole Turkey sub is offered with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
A historical note: Veggie burgers and fake turkey are what Wikipedia refers to as meat analogues or meat substitutes. They've been around for a long time and have thankfully improved in both taste and texture. I can remember the ones I had in the '60s (I'm dating myself here!) that felt like a ball of rubber bands in your mouth. Blech! The taste was equally strange; way too salty and too much smoke flavor. And the names were hilarious! My favorites for the laugh factor were the fake ham called Wham (apologies to George Michael), and Stripples which was the fake bacon. Both are still available and made by Worthington Foods. The most readily available meat substitutes in this area are Morningstar products found in the freezer section. On occasion I've also found Quorn foods which use mycoprotein (from mushrooms) as opposed to the more common soy products. The Quorn brand started in the UK in 1985 and came to the U.S. in 2002.
Casapulla's South is the Rehoboth Foodie's favorite subbery, especially for the Italian variety, so be sure to check out his review that includes the proper way to stuff these babies! They too offer a Cheese Sub, the Three Cheese Sub, the salad on a roll (oops! Sorry, make that the Vegetable Sub), the Veggie Burger and the Veggie Burger with Cheese. Casapulla's is tucked behind QVC and Buffalo Wild Wings out on Coastal Highway. The last time I went there and ordered the Cheese Sub, I asked for my usual oil and vinegar. I was told they won't put vinegar on the sandwich but could give me a packet of vinegar to do it myself. The look on my face must have been scary because the young woman behind the counter kept apologizing like her life depended on it. So weird. Casapulla's sandwiches are fine by me, but I'm more of a Capriotti's girl.
I'm always pleased when a new eatery opens, even a sub shop, so I was happy to see the arrival of PrimoHoagies several years ago. They list six “Meatless Delights” on their menu, although if you look closely, there's really not too much variation here. Two of those options contain tuna, so that leaves four vegetarian choices: the Cheese Deluxe (standard cheese sub), the Knuckle Sandwich (provolone with roasted red peppers), the Milano (fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers) and Nonna's Veggie (Eggplant, provolone, broccoli rabe with roasted red peppers). Are you detecting a theme here? If they run out of red peppers, we're screwed! Actually, Primo does make a decent sandwich but once you've had Touch of Italy's version of a fresh mozzarella sandwich, it spoils you for anything else. I agree with the Foodie that PrimoHoagies rolls are very good, but where the two of us are in total accord is that the service is atrocious. Once or twice and I think it's a fluke, but three times and I won't go back. So I haven't. And I won't.
Speaking of Touch of Italy, I was all over the Rehoboth location from the day it opened. And on the day they first began to offer sandwiches. Although they're not officially a sub shop (thankfully they are so much more!), they do a lovely job. When the subs arrived initially, the only veggie choice was the fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and EVOO. That's ok. It was divine. Then they added the eggplant Parmesan sandwich. It was like an entire entree dumped onto a loaf of bread — a little more than I can handle for lunch (unless it's followed by a nap!). Yesterday their new website went live and I see they've added a few more veggie choices including the DaPaulie (fried eggplant, fresh mozzarella, sun dried peppers, basil and EVOO) and the Dante which also has eggplant (grilled not fried) along with red peppers, mushrooms, olives, artichokes and provolone cheese. Hmmm … the Dante may require a field trip very soon!