517 Subs is a popular sandwich shop on Signal Mountain that has been around for years and serves basic but delicious sandwiches.
What is it about a great sandwich that is so sublime? Sandwiches are just simple lunchbox fare, after all. How many sandwiches have we eaten in our lives and not given a second thought to? In a world of PB&Js and ham sandwiches on squishy white bread, a sandwich might not sound like something that you would drive to the ends of the earth (or up the mountain) for.
Truth is, I don’t really love sandwiches. I mean, I like sandwiches, and when they’re served to me I’m happy to eat them. The instances of me taking a plain old sandwich of lunch meat on sliced bread this school year though? Zero. Zip. Zilch. There may have been a few turkey croissants but that’s pretty much the extent of my sandwich-packing.
We’ve been meaning to try out 517 Subs for a pretty long time now. I hadn’t really heard much about it until some friends who are fairly new Signal Mountain residents tried it out and told us that it was worth the drive to try it out. A recent rainy Saturday turned out to be “the day” and we headed up Taft Highway to give them a try.
The place was pretty empty when we arrived…a couple of employees doing cleaning and restocking tasks, one taking a break, and one behind the counter, plus another diner at a table. The decor is simple…not much beyond the tables and chairs and some retro board games framed on the wall. We got a laugh out of looking at the Disney’s Robin Hood game and the Beatles board game, among others.
I am decidedly a hot sub person. A BLT sub always sounds good, and it’s hard to pass up a meatball sub…but my sub order is almost always a steak and cheese (I may have declared my love for them at least once on here). I ordered a 6-inch steak and cheese on wheat bread ($4.25 plus $2.10 for chips and a drink) with onions and peppers. They ran out of onions, but I did get a couple of shreds of onions before she heated my sandwich. I dressed my sandwich basically, with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and salt and pepper. The steak and cheese here was very reminiscent of the steak and cheese subs that I used to order at Blimpie, back when it was a frequent haunt of mine…when they still existed in Chattanooga (I thought until a few months ago that there was still one in St. Elmo, when I discovered that it was gone when I tried to eat lunch there🤦🏻♀️). Their steak and cheese was always more like a pot roast sandwich than a Philly cheesesteak, and I always loved it. Thus, this steak and cheese was a throwback to my college years and I did indeed love it.
Unlike me, Philip is a cold sandwich lover, and he decided on the Italian – his standard sub shop order anytime it’s available (he’ll even order the Italian sub at Chuck E. Cheese’s, despite knowing from his years working in the CEC kitchen that the kitchen guys hate making sandwiches more than anything else). The Italian ($4.10 pre-combo) is made on your choice of bread (white, wheat, or rye, all baked fresh daily in the shop) with ham, salami, capicola (a cold cut made with cured pork shoulder), and provolone. Philip likes his Italian sub pretty heavily dressed and got his with lots of “stuff” on it. He said that it was a great Italian sub and commented on how good the bread was.
It wasn’t actually raining when we arrived, but by the time that we finished eating it was pouring rain and we had to hang out inside for a while since we had not brought our umbrella indoors. By that time there were quite a few other people in there – since it was getting closer to closing time, I assume that people were trying to get in before they closed. We hung out until the rain slacked off a bit then headed over to Pruett’s to check out what they had in the store.
If you’re looking for a good, basic but tasty sub, 517 Subs has you covered. The prices are definitely reasonable; the two of us had sandwiches, chips, and drinks for about $13.50. The staff was friendly, particularly the lady who made our sandwiches. There’s definitely something to be said for a great sandwich, and if you (like me) have been missing Blimpie, I’d recommend that you go here.
517 Subs is located at 1238 Taft Highway, Signal Mountain, Tennessee (in the Signal Plaza Shopping Center near Pruett’s). They are open Monday – Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can call 517 Subs at 423-517-7827 (that is, 517-SUBS). They do not have a website, but you can “like” 517 Subs on Facebook.