Sub shop offers art, architecture and antipastoWritten by Joshua Stanley | | email@example.com
Jackie David refers to it as the “mysterious part of Toledo.” Nestled between abandoned buildings and what’s left of an old neighborhood near the Downtown post office, David runs a restaurant that has been a well-kept secret for almost 30 years.
Jackie and her husband, Sargis, own and operate The Original Sub Shop & Deli, located at 402 Broadway St.
“It’s more of a salon than just a dining room,” a place where people come to meet and make friends as well as get a bite to eat, Jackie said. She said honeymooning in Toronto inspired the opening of the deli. She said she and her husband were impressed by the delis there, and “they provided the spark” to open their own shop in 1979.
The menu features a variety of gourmet salads, paninis, submarine sandwiches and soups, as well as ethnic specialties such as hummus, tabouleh and antipasto. Recipes that were passed down to him by his mother, Sargis said. There are numerous vegetarian selections such as the Mediterranean veggie sub.
“I had a good friend that had a heart problem,” Sargis said. “I wanted to create something healthy and light, so I put it together and he loved it. Then people would walk by [in the restaurant] and say, ‘What’s that?’ ” he said.
So he added it to the menu where it has remained a signature item. The sandwich consists of numerous vegetables including cauliflower and carrots that are marinated in Sargis’ homemade sauce, and fresh feta cheese.
“We try to make a healthy sandwich for our customers,” David said. “We have to like it ourselves before we put it on the menu.”
Jackie said the 100-year-old building that houses the restaurant has been in her family since the 1960s, when it was a carry-out with a lunch counter made popular by sailors coming into port.
“A lot of the satisfaction is in the fact that we brought an old building back to life,” Jackie said.
She said she and Sargis tried wherever possible to maintain the original architecture of the building. From the original sculpted tin ceiling to the brick structure, care was taken to preserve the structure’s original designs.
In 2006, the Davids received the Historic Preservation award from the Landmarks Preservation Council, a local historical organization.
Although it has changed dramatically since, the area has seen a renaissance and is becoming a core of the local arts community, something the Davids strongly support.
“It’s fun to be in a position to do that,” Jackie said, referring to her efforts in promoting local artists.
The walls of the restaurant are adorned with photographs, paintings and ceramic and clay pieces made by the Davids’ daughter, Lisa.
Jacob David, the couple’s son, and Joel Washing recently produced a documentary titled “Two Toledos,” a portion of which was recently featured during a “Toledo Stories” segment on WGTE-TV.
The fact that both of the Davids’ children are artists is no accident.
“They always encouraged us to do the things we had passion for,” Jacob said, which included taking ceramics classes at the art museum as children.
The Davids’ restaurant is also host to numerous events. Poetry readings are performed on a regular basis, including “Back to Jack,” a tribute to Jack Kerouac. A bi-annual flower exchange, the next of which takes place on May 3, usually draws several hundred people, including several master growers, Jackie said.
“The Original Sub Shop is my favorite place to get subs. It’s the sauce,” said Keith Mounts, a fan of the restaurant for more than 10 years. “And I enjoy viewing the different types of artwork that they hang on their walls.”