Chattanooga's Penn Station offers fresh subs, unique experience

By Patrick Smith Article posted on Thu. Nov. 15th, 2012
  • photo
    The Italian sub at Penn Station East Coast Subs is served with smoked ham, salami and pepperoni. Subs are sold in four lengths (6, 8, 10 and 12 inches) with costs ranging from $4.39 for the 6-inch to $8.79 for the 12-inch.
    Photo by Patrick Smith.

IF YOU GO

• Where: Penn Station East Coast Subs, 5241 Highway 153, Suite 131, Hixson.

• Phone: 485-3536.

• Website: www.penn-station.com.

• Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

• Price range: $1.79 (small French fries)-$8.79 (12-inch sub).

The options for a sub in the Scenic City keep growing. Opened in September, Penn Station East Coast Subs offers a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches from its location on Highway 153.

The restaurant focuses on providing freshly prepared ingredients for each of its menu items, including its signature meal, the Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich, served with fresh-cut French fries and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

THE MENU

The menu at Penn Station offers a dozen sandwich options, including the Reuben, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Parmesan and even a Pizza sub. Penn Station sets itself apart by offering fresh-cut french fries, while most competitors offer only chips.

When ordering, you'll find there's the standard fare, such as the Italian sub, which features smoked ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese. Under their "lighter options" menu, there are two choices: the Grilled Vegetarian, a mix of you-pick veggies, and the Grilled Artichoke, featuring artichoke hearts, provolone and Parmesan cheese, oregano and mayonnaise.

The menu also offers kids meals, cheese bread and the Chocolate Chunk Cookie for dessert. Subs start at $4.39 for the 6-inch option, along with 8-inch and 10-inch, and a 12-inch sub, which sells for $8.79.

THE MEAL

Dining with three friends who had eaten there before, I was eager to give Penn Station a try. I'm a sucker for the Italian sandwich. No particular reason why -- it just always seems to jump off the menu to me.

My fellow diners grabbed the Pizza sub, the Chicken Teriyaki and the Chicken Parmesan subs.

My sandwich was very tasty, and the salami and pepperoni were spicy, which gave the sandwich a nice kick. The heavy amount of provolone cheese helped balance the spiciness for a good, all-around flavor. The fresh-cut french fries were good. They didn't taste too much different from other fries in town, but they were flavorful.

Kudos to Penn Station for offering something different to set itself apart.

My friends were quick to compliment and mention how appetizing the bread is at Penn Station. They did feel, however, that there wasn't enough meat on the sandwiches and that the Chicken Teriyaki tasted overly salty.

THE SERVICE

The service at Penn Station is typical for a sub shop. We were politely greeted as we arrived, and our order was taken promptly. Dining about 6:30 on a Sunday evening, I was surprised to wait more than 10 minutes for our food, considering the restaurant didn't appear very busy. We also waited an additional minute or two for our french fries.

THE SPACE

Penn Station provides a clean, well-designed space, with plenty of room for lots of diners to sit and enjoy their food. The atmosphere is decorated in a way that the restaurant feels more like casual dining than fast food. A huge plus, in my opinion.

THE VERDICT

Simply put, I'd visit Penn Station again. It has better food and a more enjoyable experience than some sub shops in town.

My only drawback is that paying nearly $20 for two meals, I felt it was a little more pricey than some sandwich places around. That being said, the food is good, and they're likely to have a lot of repeat customers.

Contact Patrick Smith at psmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6589.

Search for places to stay...