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Subway: GF sandwiches for the rest of us?

February 6, 2011

Welcome to Dallas, where it is 18* one day…

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and 50* the next.  (Seriously – I wore a t-shirt and shorts to the gym today.)

I love the Dallas metro with all of my heart.  I love the southwest meets big city culture.  I love the sports teams.  I love the food, especially good Tex-Mex.  And I especially love the shopping.

But I do not love the crazy winter weather we get.  And by crazy, I don’t mean blizzards (although to many Texans, the snow you see above might as well constitute a blizzard) – I mean that it can literally be jacket-free weather one day and well below freezing the next.  That’s insane.  And that is precisely why I have an office full of sick people each winter.

When I lived in Oklahoma, I really began to appreciate winters.  In Oklahoma, it gets cold and stays cold.  In Texas, it gets cold, gets warm, gets cool, gets warm, gets freezing, gets cool, etc.  No one I know ever rotates their seasonal clothes to the back of the closet because you never know what you’re going to get.

But one thing Dallas has on the rest of the country right now? Gluten-free sandwiches from Subway.

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About a month ago, I was contacted to give a quote for the press release for Subway’s gluten-free sandwich buns that would be tested in the Dallas market beginning at the end of January. (You can read the press release here.)

As I told them, I was initially concerned about the cross-contamination issues because, afterall, Subway does make their living by making people sandwiches on gluteny bread.  And anyone that has been to Subway since going GF can’t help but notice that there is literally bread everywhere.

So I was very happy to hear that they had taken major measures to ensure that the GF buns would, actually, stay GF.  Because, as you and I know, there is no point in a place offering something that starts out GF if it doesn’t make it to your plate GF.  

Here are a few things Subway is doing to ensure the GF sandwich bun makes a GF sandwich:

  • Subway has issued training materials to each of their “sandwich artists” on how to prepare a GF sandwich
  • The buns come pre-wrapped
  • The “sandwich artist” will make your sandwich from beginning to end (My husband tells me that regular sandwiches are made assembly-line style with multiple employees touching the same sandwich)
  • The person preparing your sandwich will first wash her hands, use sanitizer, then put on fresh gloves before touching the GF bun
  • The knife used to cut the bun in half comes pre-wrapped and will only be used once, for your sandwich
  • All sandwich artists are “taking measures” to ensure that the meats, cheeses, and vegetables are not contaminated with gluten during regular sandwich making

Based on this info, and because I find myself more and more interested in finding lunch options that do not come from my own kitchen and are not prepared by me, I sought out a Subway last week for lunch.

At first, I wasn’t sure if all Subways in the D/FW area would be carrying the GF buns, but as soon as I walked up to the door, I noticed a sign pasted on the door noting that there was now a GF bun.  Awesome.

When I walked in, I told the first available “sandwich artist” that I wanted a gluten-free sandwich.  She immediately took off her gloves, washed her hands thoroughly, sanitized them with what looked like a Purell-like substance, then put on fresh gloves.  She got out a clean piece of sandwich paper, the pre-wrapped bun, and a pre-wrapped knife.  She opened the bun and placed it in the middle of the clean paper, then opened the knife and cut open the bun.  I was watching like a hawk (I may or may not have been on my tip-toes, peering over the glass counter), but my sandwich never went anywhere near any offending crumbs.  She then made my sandwich per my instructions, including toasting it (still on its protective piece of paper), wrapped it up for me, and took my money.

So, I had a sandwich.  And it appeared to be something I could eat without having to go home from work sick later that day.

But was it edible?

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Why yes, yes it was.

I had a turkey blt (basically just turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a little regular mayo).  And it was good.  Not earth-shattering, but good.

The bun itself was a little spongey for my preference, but I think part of that was that it wasn’t toasted as long as it could have been.  I’ve been a loyal Kinnikinnick fan for many years, so I’m used to that version of GF bread, which is awesome when toasted.  As far as taste goes, it had a pleasant flavor with no aftertaste.  I really think it would have been pretty good had it been toasted longer.

And most importantly: I didn’t get sick after eating it.  Not in the slightest.

So, add Subway to your GF fast food listing.  Is it gourmet?  No.  But it’s another GF option in a gluteny world. 

And that, my friends, is something to celebrate.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristen permalink
    February 6, 2011 7:56 PM

    Tried the new Subway GFree menu and I was quite impressed. I saw absolutely NO cross-contamination issues…they changed gloves, put down fresh butcher block paper, put in seperate bags then non GFree sandwiches. It was DELICIOUS, I couldn’t believe it, both the bread and the brownie. I was in heaven. I am able to make many things that are Gfree edible and almost good but have never found a GOOD GFree bread. Was even wondering if I could buy the bread alone so that I could use it as a hamburger bun. I see myself going to Subway 3 times a week now. 🙂

    • thedallasceliac permalink*
      February 7, 2011 9:21 PM

      Glad you also had a great experience! I haven’t tried the brownie – it looked delicious, though.

  2. deena permalink
    February 7, 2011 6:34 PM

    I can’t wait until this reaches my state! I was dubious when I first heard that Subway was going to try this, but the way you describe their preparation methods makes me think that they’ve thought it out carefully and are committed to keeping the food GF.

    Do you know if all of Subway’s meats are GF? And the commenter above me mentioned that they have brownies, too? Awesome!

    • thedallasceliac permalink*
      February 7, 2011 9:27 PM

      Hope the Subways near you start offering it soon!

      The allergen listing is here: http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/MenuNutrition/Nutrition/pdf/AllergenChart.pdf

      Most of the should-be stuff (like turkey breast and cheese) is GF and the stuff that isn’t is pretty unsurprising, like the meatballs.

      • deena permalink
        February 10, 2011 12:27 AM

        Thank you so much for the link. I don’t know what I was thinking when I didn’t think to look myself. I’m so looking forward to this.
        There just aren’t enough quick lunch-y options (that aren’t salads) and I never like to insist that friends/family go along with what I need vs. what they want. Everyone has always been super understanding, but still.
        Being able to have a yummy sandwich on-the-go would be a huge blessing.

  3. Neal permalink
    February 7, 2011 7:58 PM

    Do you have any idea If And Or when this will reach Canada? as I live in Saskatchewan,

    • thedallasceliac permalink*
      February 7, 2011 9:28 PM

      I’m sorry, unfortunately I don’t. 😦 If I hear anything, I’ll let you know.

  4. February 7, 2011 10:07 PM

    Our family has traveled through the DFW Dallas airport three times in the last month and have been able to get Gluten Free sandwiches at Subway on all trips. They are located near B16 and A22. All of our experiences were good. The manager did say to ask for a manager when you arrive and let them know you want a gluten free sandwich because sometimes they have new employees who may not have been trained yet. An employee on the line accidentally touched one of our sandwiches (as a reflex) and they immediately threw it away and started over.

  5. February 9, 2011 9:14 AM

    I’d be interested to know what “measures” they take to keep the meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. bread-crumb-free. I can’t envision it. I’ve seen many a subway sandwich made, and all involve a gloved hand that touched the bread reaching into a common bin for lettuce or a common bin for olives, etc. The meat and cheese I can almost envision bc they’re premeasured between paper, but even then, for a 6″ they just cut that in half and put it back in the bin. Also, I worked at a well-known specialty food-service store in two different states and various locations within those states. While many employees took great pains to follow the training on cleanliness and cross-contamination for allergies, there were just as many, if not more, employees that took shortcuts which nullified the training even for those of us taking great pains to abide by it bc we weren’t always aware of the shortcuts taken until later. Management on every level, including shift supervisor, is KEY to that training being implemented consistently and correctly.
    I’m very glad you didn’t get sick from cross contamination. Perhaps their measures are fool-proof/lazy-employee-proof. I do hope so, bc I miss Subway sandwiches.

  6. tastyeatsathome permalink
    February 16, 2011 3:00 PM

    My brother visited today and called me to tell me about the process and his sandwich. He was impressed. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a store that participated, but from what I’m reading, it’s just about everywhere. My brother visited the Subway downtown off Lamar. I’ll be scoping it out soon!

  7. February 24, 2011 2:50 PM

    Wonder when they’re coming to the rest of the country? I also wonder what ingredients are in their bread; maybe I can’t even eat it!

  8. December 20, 2011 8:22 AM

    Let’s start with a nice wholesome loaf of bread called the staple single family home in a blue-collar neighborhood – probably a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath unit talking up 12,000 to 15,000 square feet. I found that I can get these bread and butter homes for between $80 – $150k, in two counties local to me in South Carolina. I know these areas fairly well and continue to master them through doing more deals and my networking connections. I can wholesale these bread and butter homes to local and national investors, and keep some for positive cash-flow through lease-options and seller financing, with a minimum profit of 5k for wholesale deals and 10k when cashed out of the lease-options.

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