Courtesy of The Substation

A staple of campus life at UCR, The Sub Station is nestled right in the heart of Bannockburn Village and across the street from the softball field. This convenient location near the heart of campus has made the restaurant a steady source of delicious food and reliable company as it has become a hub for the community. Known locally for its great sandwiches and welcoming environment, it is a relief to hear none of that has changed since the pandemic struck.

When you walk inside, you are immediately confronted by the enthusiastic energy of the restaurant and all who eat and work there. In all the times I’ve gone to The Sub Station, not once have I seen a frown or heard a moan. The student staff are lively and engaging, and any who decide to eat lunch there are sure to run into the friendly and engaging owner, Richard Munio, who seems to know almost everyone who walks through his restaurant’s doors. Furthermore, the layout of the restaurant is comforting as everything there is original and authentic, and practically every bit of furniture, from the tables to the outdoor patio cover, was handmade by the owner and his father. This welcoming environment puts newcomers at ease while they scour the menu for just the right sub.

Of course, a welcoming staff and appealing decor isn’t all that’s needed to make a great restaurant since quality of food is obviously critical. Thankfully, The Sub Station has that in spades. With a full offering of 20 cold subs, 11 hot subs and plenty of vegetarian options, The Sub Station is sure to have just what you are craving. Each sub is given the proper attention as it is filled with delicious ingredients and fresh meats for customers to enjoy. In the many times I have eaten at The Sub Station, not once have I been disappointed. As I am personally a fan of cold subs with Italian meats, my go-to sandwiches include, but are not limited to, the No. 8 (pepperoni, ham, capicola and cheese) and the No. 11 (ham, capicola, dry salami and cheese). Each of these two sandwiches have been consistently delicious as I have regularly ordered them. Expertly made so that they don’t fall over the place while still packing away all those ingredients between the two pieces of bread, the sandwiches here never disappoint. The same can be said for hot and cold subs alike, as every time I’ve been there with friends, they too have enjoyed everything they’ve gotten off the menu. I challenge any customer to find a disappointed face when you enter since it simply can’t be done.

Though the atmosphere has changed slightly with the pandemic (now with smaller crowds as indoor dining is closed), the welcoming atmosphere and customer loyalty has yet to truly diminish. Staff are still personable, Richard is still the life of the shop and loyal customers still spend their lunches there. Since the pandemic started, I have visited The Sub Station at least three or four times, and there has almost always been a line of people exiting out the front door as they wait to place their order or lingering outside at an appropriate distance as they wait for their order to be prepared. Even more impressive is the fact that I have started to recognize faces there as I hear Richard greet customers by their names, which only reaffirms the community spirit that The Sub Station embodies. Though the pandemic has limited customers’ ability to linger and socialize as they eat their food, the community spirit of The Sub Station has managed to endure.

For any hungry Riverside local or UCR student living in the area, The Sub Station is a treasured part of the community. Providing customers with great food at a reasonable price (averaging $8 for a 7-inch and $12 for a 12-inch) and great company, The Sub Station should always be on the menu for anyone looking for a place to eat.