This past Saturday, Anthony and I headed toward downtown Greensboro and Tate Street to check out the submarine offerings of Manhattan Pizza and Subs. The shop was recommended to me a couple of times and I finally decided to check it out. I was looking forward to visiting a sandwich shop that was outside my normal hunting grounds, but I’m sorry to report that what I found left both of us less than enthusiastic.
Manhattan Pizza and Subs is located practically on top of the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s campus in the heart of Tate Street. Being so close to the college, Manhattan seems to have a clientele built in, which might help to explain how the place stays in business. When we arrived, we actually almost missed the restaurant completely. Manhattan’s street sign is faded and worn, with only a single large neon “Subs” sign on the building itself. If I had not been looking for it, I think we would have driven right by. This isn’t something a restaurant owner wants to hear, but I’m afraid it’s the truth.
Like the sign, the interior of Manhattan was a bit worse for wear. Its obvious the shop has been around a while and the seating, while spacious, was a bit on the run-down side. It seems as if the “high traffic” location next to UNCG has taken its toll on the little sub shop over the years and for some reason, the owners have not kept up with renovations. The entire dining area could use an update or at the very least a good scrub down. This, plus the fact that the dining room seats both smoking and non-smoking customers, lowered my expectations right away.
As usual, I spied the classic Italian deli style sub on the menu and ordered an 8″ hoagie along with the Manhattan Special. The only difference between the Italian and the Special was the addition of roast beef on the latter. The size of the sub and its appearance seemed decent, especially considering the price. Both subs were just $4.29 and had a good amount of meat and cheese. Compared to the $6.00 sub I ordered at Giacomo’s from my previous review, I thought I was in for a bargain.
Unfortunately, unlike the fresh ingredients at Giacomo’s, the meats and cheese used by Manhattan were not particularly flavorful. The roast beef wasn’t very rare and didn’t pack a lot of that herby flavor you expect from a good deli roast beef. In fact, the addition of the roast beef didn’t seem to make any difference in taste from the Italian Sub and the Manhattan Special, both came with lettuce, tomato, onion and house dressing. The dressing itself tasted like a store bought Italian salad dressing and definitely over powered the natural tastes of the sub. When all was said and done, I would have gladly paid a bit more to have higher quality meats and cheeses on my sub instead of the rather bland fare we received. On the bright side, the bread Manhattan offers was indeed nice. I dare say it was homemade and was crunchy, fresh and just right for a sub roll.
The Wrap Up
There is a big part of me that would just like to report that Manhattan was a decent place to eat this past Saturday. The owners were pleasant and friendly, and seemed to care about the food they served. Manhattan has continued to offer up sandwiches and pizza to the good students of UNCG despite the fact that there is both a Subway and a Jimmy John’s Subs not half a block from their front door. I would have no problem recommending them and looking past the decor of the shop if the food had been outstanding, but it just wasn’t.
While Anthony and I ate, several students came and went. Many seemed to be ordering slices of pizza or munchie foods like cheese sticks and onion rings. Manhattan is what it is – a college joint. It caters to students on a budget and offers quick, standard food fare to those on the go. Due to its proximity to the campus, I suspect it will do brisk business into the future, but its simply not good enough to travel more than a mile or so for. As we were leaving Tate Street and heading back home, we drove past a place called Yum Yum’s that was packed to the gills with people. I’m told that its “the place” to eat for UNCG. I wonder if they have subs…
Think I’m off my rocker about Manhattan? Wanna send me to your favorite Triad sub shop? Post your suggestions in the comments thread and give me the low-down!