Sandwiches seem to be the food on everyone’s mind these days—just look at all the new pop-ups that speak to our craving for comfort and convenience. The latest: Subbies, a new “sub-sidiary” concept from Coconut Club chef/owner Adam Greenberg. The Chopped champion teamed up with chef de cuisine Kyle Henderson and former Yang Market owner Pete Sitcov for the virtual sub shop, which will launch for pickup at the Union Market-area restaurant and delivery via Caviar on Wednesday, May 5.
“I’m from Connecticut, so I’m obsessed with grinders,” says Greenberg. “In DC right now, I have options for my Italians. You want pastrami? You know where to go [Stachowski’s]. I just wanted to do something that represented the New England sub.”
Greenberg says the closest thing he found was Sitcov’s Eckington shop. The corner store has since been sold to new owners, but you can get a taste of Sitcov’s creations on the new Subbies menu. Greenberg, who’s also preparing island-style Coconut Club meals to-go out of his NoMa restaurant and tropical cocktails, says he envisions something like a “beachy dive bar meets sandwich shop.”
“Someone wants to pull up in a VW wagon and get a beer and shot combo with chips and sandwich? We’re doing that.”
The opening menu features eight “subbies” on Lyon Bakery rolls. Options include hot sandwiches like a sausage-and-pepper grinder or an “island dip” with thinly sliced coconut chicken, pickled veggies, and coconut jerk sauce for dunking (“like a cross between a French dip and banh mi,” says Greenberg). There’re also Italian subs with hot peppers and shredded lettuce or shaved roast beef with “Ovie” (a.k.a. Russian) dressing and slaw. Sandwiches range between $10.50 and $13.50. A fine selection of chips (Zapp’s, Utz), $4 tallboy beers, $2 Pacificos, DC Brau spiked seltzers, and sodas round out the offerings. Or make it a Covid-era combo deal with a sub, beer, and shot of whiskey to-go for $30.
Subbies is Greenberg’s first stab at a “ghost kitchen”—a delivery or takeout-only business that some argue is the concept of the future, even after restaurants (now ghost kitchens by default) are allowed to reopen. If it’s a success, Greenberg says it’ll operate alongside Coconut Club once the Hawaiian-style restaurant is allowed to reopen.
“I’m built for this kind of scenario. We came from that background in 2008 when the recession hit. We know what it looks like when people just want olives and a glass of wine and aren’t spending $300 on a meal,” says Greenberg.
Subbies will be open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 to 7 PM.