Gaetano’s Sub Shop: The Little Sub Shop on State Street
Not all fast-casual sub sandwiches are created equal. Most can be gimmicky, packed with an obnoxious amount of condiments or plain boring. This is not the case for Gaetano’s Sub Shop. The dark, brick building with tasteful graffiti art on either side is nestled between a tattoo parlor and a used car dealership. Blending into the scenery across from Salt Lake Community College, Gaetano’s is a convenient spot for students, commuters and passersbys to grab lunch, dinner or a quick snack. The interior is homey with plenty of indoor seating, and if you happen to be running a little late, they offer a perfect street-side window for an after-hours order pickup.
Gaetano’s’ offerings come like an open-faced sandwich and are filled to the brim with carefully curated ingredients. I had the pleasure of sampling a variety from their menu: the B.L.T. (6” $8.00, 10” $10.00), a Meatball Sub (6” $8.75, 10” $11.00), a Chicago Dog ($5.25), an Italian Sub (6” $8.50, 10” $10.75) and the Muffaletta (6” $9.00, 10” $11.75). Their hot subs make for a great dinner option and are quite substantial on their own. The B.L.T. checks every box for this classic sandwich. The bacon was hot, crispy and plentiful, the lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and there was the right amount of mayonnaise—not too little, not too much.
The Meatball, another hot sub, is served with sliced provolone, shredded parmesan and a thick marinara sauce. It can be difficult to stabilize this sandwich, but Gaetano’s have perfected the meatball-to-sauce-to-bread ratio, creating a meal that is neither a sopping mess nor too dry. While not considered a sub, the Chicago Dog does come straight from the grill. This ¼-pound all-beef sausage comes split and grilled on a toasted bun with a smear of yellow mustard, some sweet relish, a single dill pickle spear, a handful of grilled onions, fresh slices of tomato and diced onion.
“The interior is homey with plenty of indoor seating, and if you happen to be running a little late, they offer a perfect street-side window for an after-hours order pickup.”
Gaetano’s cold subs are a great option to save for a later meal. They make great next-day lunches without becoming stale or soggy. I saved half of my Italian for work the next day and was pleasantly surprised to find it still in good form and taste. The Italian comes with three types of sliced meat (hard salami, pepperoni and capicola), several slices of provolone cheese, fresh tomatoes, onions and shredded lettuce, a little mayonnaise and a splash of Gaetano’s own sub dressing. The dressing, composed of oil, herbs and vinegar, added a much-needed boost of flavor that elevates what can be an overly salty sandwich to a satisfying and pleasantly flavored meal.
The Muffaletta is their interpretation of the New Orlean’s favorite. It comes with slices of mortadella, hard salami, capicola, swiss and provolone cheeses and an olive tapenade mixture. While not the traditional combination, after trying this sub it was easy to see why it is a favorite among Gaetano’s fans. The use of capicola instead of simple ham is a brilliant substitution that adds a savory depth to the classic southern sandwich.
“The B.L.T. checks every box for this classic sandwich. The bacon was hot, crispy and plentiful, the lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and there was the right amount of mayonnaise—not too little, not too much.”
Another reason this little sub shop has earned its stellar reputation as a top sandwich spot in Salt Lake City is due to its wonderful staff and dedication to the community. Bruce Niemi was working the after-hours shift when I ordered. He went above and beyond preparing my order quickly without sacrificing quality while also providing me with excellent customer service and consideration. Gaetano’s Sub Shop owner, Curtis De Lagerheim, posts often on social media encouraging his followers to support small shops like his. He also sources his ingredients as locally as possible, including the delicious bread he gets fresh every morning from the Salt City Baking Company.