When I worked at the Burbank Daily Review in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a signup sheet for lunch sandwich orders from Santoro’s Submarine Sandwiches on a table in the print shop. Anyone wanting a sandwich would write his or her order on the sheet. Money to pay for it went into a basket on the same table. Shortly before noon, someone would take the list and the money, head for the nearby sandwich shop and return with a bag full of subs.
Now, of course, orders would be place online and ready for pickup. Back then, we never even thought of phoning in the orders.
In those days, an Italian combo sandwich went for 65 cents. That same sandwich today is $8.50. But the important fact is that it actually is the same sandwich – every bit as good. Three different meats, provolone cheese, a house blend of spices and oil, and topped with diced tomatoes, onions and pickles. It’s been my favorite since I first tasted it sometime about 1957.
The menu includes hot subs with pastrami, pepper steak, meatballs, and sausages. Egg variables are pepper steak and eggs, pepperoni and eggs, and sautéed peppers and eggs. In addition to the Italian combo, cold subs include turkey, ham and cheese, roast beef, turkey, tuna, chicken, pepperoni, and ham and turkey.
The first requirement for a great sandwich is great bread. Santoro’s checks that box today as it did 60 years ago, with fresh baked, soft sandwich rolls every day.
Pat Santoro opened the restaurant in 1956. He immediately became a presence in local youth sports, sponsoring Parks and Recreation League teams, and providing prizes for local fundraising activities. That continued when Dick Santoro took over from his father and continues today under owner Sal Palilla.
There are two tables and several bar stools for those wanting to eat their sandwiches on the spot. But take out still is the heart and soul of the business.