Sunday, May 30, 2010

DiBella’s Old Fashioned Submarines

2540 Ridgeway Avenue, Greece
Visited April 3, 2010
Written by Drew
Dibella's Old Fashioned Submarines on Urbanspoon

Being a group of college-aged guys, there is almost nothing more exciting than going to a professional athletic event.

The night before Easter Sunday, Chad, Tyler and I attended the Rochester Knighthawks indoor lacrosse game. And as always the question arose, ‘where can we get a meal on our way to the game?’ DiBella’s Old Fashioned Submarines was the answer.

DiBella’s originated in the city of Rochester, but now has 16 locations scattered throughout the Northeast United States. Seven are in the Rochester area, with three each in the Buffalo and Cleveland areas, two near Pittsburgh and one in Ann Arbor, Mich.

However, the only one definitely considered Rochester’s “west side” is on Ridgeway Avenue in Greece.

Walking into the restaurant itself was an experience. As soon as you open the door, the aroma of the fresh bread and the grilled sandwiches punches you right in the face (in a most pleasing way, of course).

You are then greeted by music from the 1930s and ‘40s and old New York deli décor on the wall. And finally, regardless of how busy it is, the words “Welcome to DiBella’s” aren’t far behind. It truly is like walking into an old-fashioned New York submarine shop.

So now let’s talk about the submarines themselves.

DiBella’s has two different meal deals available, the small and the medium. Each of these deals comes with a drink and a bag of chip. Being a big guy myself, the small meal deal is just the right amount of food. Another bite or two would be overkill.

If you choose, you could substitute your bag of chips for one of Grandma DiBella’s famous cookies. You can choose from two different varieties; chocolate chip with nuts or without nuts. It is suggested that you finish your meal with one of these freshly baked cookies.

I have been a huge fan of DiBella's submarines for as long as I can remember. Nine times out of 10 I will order my “go-to sub” which is fairly simple: seeded roll, turkey, mayo, and American cheese. The explanation for my order is just as simple as the order itself. The seeded bread is the original bread of the sub shop, the mayo and turkey mix well together, and the American cheese because of Uncle Sam.

So on our visit, I ordered my usual, which was great as always, and Chad ordered a Chicken Philly Supreme without cheese. The sandwich included a hefty serving of grilled chicken pieces, peppers, onions and added a sweet Rochester kick with Boss Sauce.

When asked about his sandwich Chad simply responds, “Excellent,” and when asked if he would order it again he said, “I sure would.”

Tyler didn’t order anything because he had just eaten a huge meal, but said he thought Chad’s Chicken Philly (which the restaurant seemed to be hyping at the time) looked delicious and, having a love for chicken like he does, should probably try one soon.

Tyler has eaten at DiBella’s before, however, and said his Hot Turkey and Ham on Multigrain bread he had last summer was one of the best subs he ever ate in his life.
Both the City Newspaper and the Democrat and Chronicle agree with us when it comes to our satisfaction with DiBella’s, which has been voted “Rochester’s Best Sub” for the last eight years and counting. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if it wins that title again.

Aside from its 16 locations, DiBella’s seems to be in a partnership with Wegmans. Many Wegmans stores I have been in have the “Old Fashion Submarine” moniker and have very similar subs to DiBella’s.

I visited Subway about a week after my visit to DiBella’s. I paid roughly the same price for the same amount of food, and I was amazed how much DiBella’s ruins Subway for me. There just isn’t a fair comparison.


Service/Atmosphere: Very quick service, always fairly full, more than enough people behind the counter to speed up the process. It seems like you walk back into time when you walk in.

Food: Always the best of quality. I have never had a bad meal here.

Value: Great food with reasonable prices, plus good portion sizes.

Overall: There is a reason it was voted the best subs in Rochester for the last eight years.

Grade: A-


  1. Ian WrightMarch 30, 2011

    Great review, my mouth is watering already. Definitely have to check out DiBella’s next time I'm in that part of the country.

    Webmaster -

  2. AnonymousMay 10, 2011

    what kept it from an A or A+? I love DiBellas and Grandma's cookies are definitely worth a trip in themselves. Do yourself a favor and by the box so you can take them home!