Downtown Ansonia will get a Subway sandwich shop this year — but customers likely won’t recognize what they find inside.
The Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved an application to open a Subway Cafe at 350 West Main St. — the former B&L Men’s and Boys’ Store.
The new kind of Subway looks more like a Panera Bread or coffee shop than the traditional Subway sandwich shops.
“It’s not your mama’s Subway,” said Wayland Benbow, the director of leasing for Subway development.
Subway has started opening the “full service” restaurants, with table service and cafe-like decor, in a handful of markets around the country.
The Subway Cafes are similar to traditional Subways, except they have higher end decor, and serve baked goods and upscale coffee options, according to an article in fast-food industry news site QSRweb.com.
Some of the Subway Cafes offer expanded salad and sandwich menus.
The features are similar to those in Starbucks and more often, McDonalds.
Restaurant industry analyst Nima Samadi, in an AP article published in August 2011, said the trend appears to indicate Subway is creeping into other markets.
“They’re using this as a litmus test to see if there’s an opportunity to combine their traditional offerings with this expanded breakfast market, see if people are willing to abandon their traditional allegiances with McDonalds and Starbucks,“Samadi, an analyst with IBISWorld, Inc., said in the article.
A similar shop that opened in Orange, Conn. in August has couches, a fireplace and brick walls. Click here to read a write-up on the shop in the Orange Patch.
Photo credit: Orange Patch
Ansonia’s shop won’t have a fireplace, but it will have the upscale decor, Benbow said.
Ansonia’s New Subway
Benbow was at the Planning and Zoning Commission in Ansonia Monday, representing shop owner Anil Patel, who was not at the meeting.
Patel owns several Subways, including Ansonia’s only other shop on Pershing Drive and the downtown Subway in Shelton.
Both stores were among the first 50 Subways in America, Benbow said. There are now more than 36,000 Subways worldwide.
The building on West Main Street is owned by Carmen DiCenso, a member of the Board of Aldermen in Derby.
The building will not have any other tenants beside Subway, DiCenso said. He is still working out a lease with Patel.
The Subway will be 1,500 square-feet. Of that, 600 square feet will be dining area.
The application was worked on by the Planning and Zoning Commission since November, but the commissioners had asked for several changes from an original plan. The original application was for a more traditional Subway, with less seating in a smaller space.
“The reality is we’ve ended up with a much better product for us,” Benbow said of the changes the commission asked for.
Benbow expects the Subway to open in the next couple of months, after a renovation to the store.
“We’re going to do it right because we plan on being there for the next 35 years,” Benbow said after the Planning and Zoning meeting.