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You need this hot Italian sub from Green’s Grocery in your life
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Each Wednesday, Shawn David Cozad prepares hot Italian subs for people at Green's Grocery in Gainesville. The nearly one-foot sandwich has quickly become a favorite among locals. - photo by Kelsey Podo

To Shawn David Cozad, known by many as “the sandwich guy” at Green’s Grocery, Wednesdays aren’t just typical weekdays. They’re “Frank Stallone” days. 

Dashing back and forth between the kitchen and deli counter at Green’s, Cozad creates culinary works of art that measure nearly a foot in length and keep people coming back each week for more. His hot Italian sub, fondly called “Frank Stallone,” has become a commodity in town, drawing in devoted followers.

Cozad said it’s not uncommon to hear a string of profanities or other surprised remarks leave someone’s mouth when they first try the sandwich. 

“I love hearing that they eat it unashamedly,” he said. “I’ve got a customer that always slaps and rubs his hands together when he comes up, high-rolling-at-a-casino style. It’s wonderful.”

Cozad said he felt inspired to make the sandwich over a year ago when working on new concoctions for the deli’s menu. He considered several options, but his mind kept drifting toward Little Italy’s Italian sub, a dish he has missed since the restaurant left Gainesville years ago.

“It’s very traditional, and one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had,” Cozad said. “So, I went with that, but I didn’t want to take theirs. That’s just rude. I wanted traditional with a couple of tweaks.”

Green's Grocery hot Italian sub

Where: 971 Riverside Drive, Gainesville 

When: Available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday

Price: $10.99

Every sandwich needs a good base, and for the Frank Stallone, that’s an Italian roll with a nice smearing of mayonnaise. Cozad said he throws some slices of mortadella with pistachios, hot capicola and Genoa salami on a flat-top grill and cooks them until they’re searing and greasy. 

He then places the meat on the bread and covers it with fresh mozzarella and shredded lettuce that’s been mixed with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cozad tops off the sub with a combination of marinated tomatoes, onions with simple spices. He then adds a touch of olive oil and vinegar and finishes it off by roasting the sub “really hot” for a minute and a half.

The result — a greasy, ridiculously filling masterpiece of savory, spicy, herbal and acidic flavors.

“I can’t say that any part is my favorite,” Cozad said. “I feel it’s all together as it should be.”

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