Who knew it was National Drive-Through Month? No wonder we Lunch Guys feel so giddy. This magical, mythical month is part of Arby’s push for its Toasted Subs, showing an edge in car accessibility over those toasted subs at Subway and Quiznos.
We picked our favorites from the four choices of Classic Italian, French Dip & Swiss, Philly Beef and Turkey Bacon. So in the battle for sub supremacy, are we thinking Arby’s?Chris: Granted, the Arby’s girl might as well have given me a $20 bill for dry cleaning plus $30 more for auto detailing when she handed a French Dip sub through my driver’s-side window. There is no reason why a full tub of au jus — no matter how tight the plastic cover is or how thick the paper bag is — should ever be in one’s automobile. I gingerly drove to the nearest safe table before daring to open the bag.
So yes, the French Dip is a terrible fit for National Drive-Through Month, but it’s a perfect match for Arby’s. The tender thinness of the trademark roast beef is the real star on this simple, filling 6-inch sub.
At Subway, I’d have to order a yard-long to get this many slices of meat. Top and bottom, it snuggles up with very Swiss-y Swiss cheese, melted/melded against the toasted ciabatta roll. The bread itself has a touch of dryness and a bit of tug to soak up and hold the au jus, which I know is just a meatier, independently made soy sauce. But it still gives the lunch an air of dining at the golf club with guys named Worthington.Tom: Chris, I had the French Dip and it’s good (you are right about that container of au jus having more mess potential than a lidless cup of coffee), but the Classic Italian Toasted Sub is the best sandwich I’ve had in our four years of being Lunch Guys.
A glance at the ingredients and I knew Arby’s was really onto something: Genoa Salami, pepperoni, roast ham, smoked mozzarella, banana peppers, red wine vinaigrette, red onion rings, roasted garlic sauce, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and Ciabatta bread. Enough said!
These great ingredients create a perfect combination and the light toasting literally tops it off.
The way the red wine vinaigrette and subtle roasted garlic sauce mixes with the lettuce and chewy ciabatta roll would be enough to bring me back. But what really makes the sandwich is the smoky, melted mozzarella, combined with the pepperoni and salami, that gives this such an authentic Italian deli flavor — you can actually savor the ingredients.
And Chris, when you compare the fat content of these two sandwiches you’ll see why the Italian gets the flavor edge.Chris: Hey, I don’t want to make an argument out of which superb sub is more, uh, superber. I know we can agree that these subs surpass some of the offerings at Quiznos and Subway, and that’s not even considering the drive-through convenience. Arby’s scores big again.Tom: I’m with you. I know the Italian sub is going to have executives at the "sub places" shaking their head saying, "Wait a minute, Arby’s is way better than ours, less expensive than ours and you don’t have to get out of your car?" In fact, I’m driving now to get another Italian.
Tom James and Chris Tauber are Orlando-based writers.