Opinion: You’re eating Subway again?

Jody Michael

Jody Michael

Jody Michael is a senior news major and opinion editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

One day last semester during finals week, I went to the Hub to grab a quick lunch before my next exam. Nobody was in line at any of the food spots — except for Subway, where nine people were waiting.

This was not unlike any other afternoon in the Student Center: If you want something to eat, you’ll get your food with reasonable speed, unless you want Subway, in which case you will likely be standing behind two dozen people who also want a sandwich.

Before I go on, I want to qualify my gripe by stating I don’t hate Subway — the subs there are tasty (although I’ve eaten them so much that they’ve lost their novelty, and I’m still a little upset that Dining Services booted the area’s only Quiznos two years ago and replaced it with what is the third Subway within Kent city limits).

What I completely fail to understand is why Subway holds such massive popularity over Kent State students in comparison to the other dining options in the Hub.

Is it because Subway is nutritious? If that’s the case, Subway is far from the only place on campus that has healthful choices. You can get a great wrap at plenty of places: Kent Market 2, Shake Wrap and Roll, Eastway, Einstein Bros., Rosie’s, Munchies in Prentice Hall and Summit Street Cafe in the rec center. The Food 4 Thought Cafes in White and Bowman halls don’t accept dining plans but are operated by the College of Health, so you can trust them; plus, I think their peanut butter and banana smoothie might be the best thing on Earth.

But the main reason I avoid Subway in the Hub is that when I’m on campus, I prefer to eat something that’s at least mildly special — something that I can’t easily get elsewhere. I graduate in 12 weeks, and I’m equally as scared about finding a job as I am about what life will be like when I can’t have Eastway’s chicken potato bowl anymore — what if I end up living somewhere without a pasta place as good as Olives in Kent Market 2? That would be a nightmare.

If the widespread preference for Subway were based upon some sort of aversion to the generic campus dining spots, I would argue that isn’t really fair. Sure, some of the stuff (at Prentice in particular) is mediocre at best, but I know from direct experience that every on-campus food location, from Jazzman’s to Summit Street Cafe, serves at least some items made of great-quality ingredients that I would honestly say are delicious.

(You also must admit that Subway has flaws of its own. Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a devastatingly funny bit about Subway in his latest stand-up special. Among my favorite jokes: “The first step is, you have to pick out your bread, and by that, they mean pick out the color of your bread.”)

To me, the people who go to Kent and settle for Subway are a lot like the people who go on vacation and waste a spectacular opportunity to try the unique local fare by instead just going to Chipotle — I love Chipotle, but they have those back at home.

Besides, if you have the time to wait in a line 20 people long to get a Subway sandwich, you probably have the time to take a 15-minute walk downtown and try any of Kent’s best restaurants. Go to Ray’s Place and try the MoFo Burger, which recently received hype on the Food Network from Cleveland’s own Iron Chef, Michael Symon. Taco Tonto’s has unique Mexican cuisine that everyone should try. Wild Goats Cafe just expanded its hours. If you visit Starbucks religiously but have never set foot in Tree City Coffee, I have serious concerns about you.

I’m making an effort to try as many Kent food spots as possible before I graduate, because I don’t want to miss something good. Still remaining on my to-do list are Quaker Steak, Insomnia Cookies and a few others. Granted, trying new foods so often means that getting a bad meal once in a while is inevitable, but it’s nowhere near as miserable as I imagine it would feel to stand in the same long line to order the same sandwich day after day.