The truth about Publix’s ‘Pub Sub’

Almost all major grocery chains offer some variety of to-go food, and certain of these food items are so popular that they have attained quasi-cult status. Among these are Costco’s famous rotisserie chicken, Costco’s pizza, Costco’s hot dogs, and, uh, well, IKEA’s meatballs, although IKEA is technically a department store with a small grocery attached, as opposed to Costco which is basically a grocery store on steroids. One grocery store goodie, however, is even more beloved than these iconic items; so popular it’s even got its own line of merch (shirts, socks, hoodies, and pajama pants). We speak of an item from Publix: the one, the only, the legendary Pub Sub.

If you’re not from one of the southern states where the Publix regional grocery chain operates, you may be wondering, what’s the big deal about a supermarket sandwich? Well, these aren’t just any sandwiches. They are the sandwiches that launched a Facebook fan page and have been celebrated in song by hiphop artist Golden Boy (Fospassin). The Pub Subs are, according to Post Grad Problems, “hands down the best sandwich in the country”, and Thrillist agrees, naming them “the country’s best sandwiches.” Not best grocery store sandwiches, but best sandwiches, period.

Why all the 'Pub Sub' love?

Southern Living praises the Pub Subs’ freshness — each one comes on a thick loaf of bread so freshly-baked that the yeasty aroma fills the whole store. Unlike your standard store deli offerings, you can have your sandwich built to spec. In fact, Publix’s online sub builder allows a choice of bread (five grain, white, wheat, flatbread, tortilla, or lettuce/spinach wrap), six different types of cheese (cheddar, provolone, muenster, Swiss, and white or yellow American), extras including bacon, hummus, and guacamole, and a wide array of fresh vegetables and condiments that let you customize up to 30 different sub varieties.

If you want the quintessential Pub Sub experience, you should probably start with the chicken tenders, lauded as the most crave-worthy by Post Grad Problems. But folks also get all giddy over the thought of “luscious honey maple turkey and warm roast beef. Italian sandwiches filled with fresh salami and Cubans filled with tender pork and sweet ham…” In other words, no single sandwich can truly satisfy the Pub Sub craving, since once you’re hooked, you’ll be hungering for all of them. What’s more, by learning to love this most celebrated of sandwiches, you may find that you’ve earned the status of honorary Southerner. After all, in the words of Post Grad Problems, “The Pub Sub is not just a sub. It’s not just a sandwich. The Pub Sub is, for most of us, home. A giant, gleaming, envy-inducing home.”

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