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Diving into Freddie's Subs

April 08, 2011

By Anne Chovey

Special to The Herald-Mail

I had driven past Freddie's Subs on West Oak Ridge Avenue in Hagerstown many times, but never stopped in. It always had a friendly and inviting look about it, so Pap Ricka and I decided it was time to visit it.

Freddie's is located in a small shopping center with big windows in the front. It is surprisingly spacious inside with several molded booths in the main room and even more in the adjacent space. Orders are placed at a counter in the front and the big grill is just behind the counter.

Freddie's menu has both hot and cold subs sold in halves and wholes. Half subs are mostly in the $4 to $4.50 range; whole subs are $7.50 to $8.50. There is a nice selection including cold cut, turkey, roast beef and ham and cheese as well as tuna, chicken and egg salad.

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Hot subs include a few more exotic choices like jalapeno steak and cheese, Reuben and chicken Parmesan to go with the usual steamers and cheeseburger. Freddie's also has burgers and dogs with all the trimmings.

Sandwiches, which mostly appear to be smaller versions of the subs, are available for $2 to $4. Wraps, soup, salads and "munchies" (french fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks) round out the menu.

Pap and I were starving for some reason and he loves subs. I have never been a huge fan, but I do enjoy the convenience of being able to eat all your food groups in one big bite.

We decided to get a variety to see what we liked best. Pap picked his perennial favorite: a turkey breast with cheese, lettuce, tomato and hot sauce.

He also liked the looks of the advertised special "Just like you'd find on the Jersey Shore" with capicola (a spicy Italian ham), salami and provolone cheese. I selected a steak and cheese with fried onions and a grilled vegetarian with the works. (I figured that covered the entire spectrum.)

Our order was taken by a very pleasant clerk who waited patiently while we sorted through our choices and then took more time to pick toppings. We sat down and the efficient cooking crew went to work. Orders were called back and forth briskly, subs were packaged up and names called out. In short order, our names were called and we picked up our subs and headed out.

We cut all the subs in two so we could taste all of them. I started with the turkey. It is pretty hard to mess up a turkey sub and this one was fine. It met Pap's standard of a good sub and he wolfed it down.

The steak and cheese was next. The steak was thin cut like a Philly cheese steak and it was chopped up and put on the roll. It was topped with melted cheese and grilled onions. We were both a tad disappointed. While it was good, it was not that beefy, gooey, slightly greasy taste that really hits the spot when you think of steak and cheese.

The next one we tried was the Jersey sub. This was great. The capicola was spicy and the onions and lettuce gave it a nice texture. This sub also was topped with oil that was oregano or basil infused and it really punched up the flavor. This was our favorite so far. We were down to the last selection and it was by far the best.

We had ordered the grilled vegetarian with everything and it was delicious: peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce, hot sauce. It was wonderful.  So many times the vegetarian option at a sub shop is just cheese or is a cold vegetable mix. It feels like an afterthought -- like "Let's just put our condiments on a bun and call it vegetarian." Freddie's grilled vegetarian celebrated the vegetables and made them the star.

I enjoyed our trip to Freddie's and the friendly people there. There was a sign on the wall that said,"Remember ... Tough times never last ... but tough people do!!" A nice inspirational reminder in these difficult times.

Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.

Restaurant review

Freddie's Subs

3 stars (out of 5)

Food: 3

Service: 2 (the restaurant is designed to be self serve)

Ambiance: 3

Value: 2

Address: 18206 Oak Ridge Ave., Hagerstown

Phone: 301-733-2128

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Food: Subs, sandwiches and soup.  A terrific vegetarian option.

Parking and handicapped accessibility: The main dining room was accessible but the restrooms pose difficulty.  Parking is available in the lot in front of the shop.

Reservations: Not necessary.

Website: FreddiesSubs.com seems to be under construction with some information available.

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