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'Any Sub Shops Out West?'
Big Ron Wonders about Dinning Out Differences from East to West
“In your travels, what about sub shops? Any sub shops out west? I suppose it's steak country—but I've wondered, how different is it going out to eat in the west?”
-Big Ron, Shamrock Pub, Hamilton Baltimore, 5:30 PM, 7/15/21

I'll write this specifically about the Rocky Mountain region and the east, for the folks living along the two littoral zones.
The East, like the Pacific coast, are dominated by strip malls with standard corporate eateries. To the extent that such places play at uniqueness, it is in the form of upscale bistro and healthy sandwich selections appealing to the aspirational class. In Portland, you can find anything from either coast as far as ethnic dining, as well as the corporate fare, as Portland is inhabited by refugees from LA, Frisco, Freeattle, Detroit, Philly and Chicongo. The only eastern style sub shop I have found is on Powell, in Portland and is Philly Steak, not done very well and tweaked for the twerp vegan palate.
Aside from a few refugees from Eastern Urban Blight bringing such fare, the ethnic food is dominated by Mexican and Vietnamese.
Back to the leased East shackled at the foot of the slathering Leviathan Beast on the Potomac.
The Eastern States of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Jersey and New York are awash in the standard corporate fare in the suburbs at strip malls, Longhorn Steakhouse, Kobe Steak, Denny's, all of the corporate eating. However, in the cities is where Italian and Greek food has long dominated, often with Greeks running Italian food joints with their own spin. Such places are steadily driven out of business by crime and end up reinvented themselves in the suburban flight zones with a slightly lower quality version of the original.
The sub shop, run by Italians or Greeks is a classic eatery in all five of these states. Pizza will almost always be served as well. In addition, most unique pizza places—unlike chains—also have subs.
The best sub shop in Baltimore, is Mastalonis and is as big as your kitchen. Pizza Johns, where I am meeting Brian Jewell for lunch tomorrow, is the best pizza joint in Baltimore County and has wonderful subs.
For westerners, subs are also known as hoagies in Pennsylvania and heroes in New York. Some local grocers will have signature subs made of an entire loaf of Italian bread.
One thing in common with American, Greek and Italian eateries—most notably being Box Hill Pizza in Abingdon, MD—is the inclusion of crab cakes and shrimp on their menu, stuff you rarely see on a corporate menu. These folks mail their crab cakes around the nation to Baltimore area Expats. My brother, in Ohio, looks forward to visiting Baltimore for the taste of seafood that was not frozen and is prepared in an eastern waterfront style: spicy, breaded and greasy.
In the east, dinners are cookie cutter joints run by Greeks, known for a massive selection, large portions and lots of cakes and pies made by associated bakeries, like Yanny's on Philadelphia Road in Baltimore County, who supplies the cakes for a dozen of these diners. The food is usually mediocre, with few of these places having a real specialty, and their appeal in large part being related to their early and late hours.
I do not know much about Mid-Western dining.
In the Rockies the places to eat out, unless you are in a coastal culture replication center like Denver or Salt Lake City are sparse. Most of the restaurants are diners that are not cookie cutter Greek American Sysco outlets, but have unique specialties.
Jody's Diner in Evenstan, Wyoming is serves breakfast food with some Mexican flare.
The Mirror Lake Diner in Kamas, Utah has standard large American fare for the local men and hunters, and some upscale coastal food for the coastal millionaire transplants.
The Diner in Oakely, Utah is in a 1930s dining car and features all unique recipes by Steve and his Wife, with Steve even hand making ice cream with local berries and baking cakes and pies with local fruit. He even makes his own pancake batter.
There is a restaurant in Ogden, Utah that appears to have the best fried chicken in the world.
Steaks are heavily featured in all of these joints, often with a family dining incentive, such as Prime Rib Friday, etc.
People cook at home more in the Rockies than in the East, and there is a lower population density and greater distances. So the Diner somewhere at a mountain crossroads, tends to be distinct and standard at the same time.
One thing about hunters, is they get their own meat and tend to be better at fixing it than any line cook and develop their own recipes, like Bob's dutch oven chicken, The Captain's elk salami and smoked turkey, and The Colonel's fried elk liver, bear stew, stuffed pork tenderloin and misbehaving rooster soup. Why would they spend money on having a corporate meal garnished with Sysco side dishes?
Pizza can be found in the Rockies and never exceeds the quality of corporate pizza chains and is expensive. I spent $39 on one large pizza in Lovell, Wyoming in 2017, and it was okay.
In Portland I have found the very best pizza based on Detroit and New York recipes, some excellent southern style pulled pork, fantastic Hawaii food with a Korean twist—but no good sandwich in the eastern style in a large submarine-shaped roll or between the halves of an entire loaf of Italian bread.
In the Rockies, unless you are in a coastal hipster transplant zone like Park City, Utah, the best dishes are on plates and are built on meat and potatoes and bacon and eggs.
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