Found: The Chinese Sub Shop

Found: The Chinese Sub Shop

Apparently, the diner near the University of Memphis commonly known as the Chinese Sub Shop is actually called the Super Submarine Sandwich Shop. My mom (who used to eat there while she was a student at the U of M in the 1970s) calls it the Sub Wash Pub. No matter what you call it, the tiny, dimly lit diner is worth a visit.

Chinese Sub Shop, Memphis, Tenn.

When you walk into the Chinese Sub Shop, place your order at the counter. The menu is fairly simple - you can either have a submarine sandwich or Chinese food (though, I've never heard of anyone actually ordering from the Chinese food half of the menu). As you place your sub order, you'll be given the choice of soft or hard bread. Get the soft bread. I can't stress this enough - you want the soft bread. It's made in the store, and it's slices of toasted, buttery heaven.

To fulfill my scavenger hunt obligation, I ordered an eight-inch turkey sub with everything (white cheese, tomato slices, lettuce, spicy mustard) on soft bread. The sandwich came with a bag of chips. The man behind the counter gave me a slip of paper with a number on it, and I grabbed a table in the middle of the room and waited.

Inside the Chinese Sub Shop, Memphis, Tenn.

The decor in the restaurant is a little weird. The lights look like they came from a 1960s hotel bar, and there are fake flowers "potted" by the windows. The seating is utilitarian, and there's a small, unused buffet in the center of the room. It's incredibly dark inside - when you walk out to the parking lot, be prepared to squint a little bit.

When my number was called, I went up to the counter to collect my sandwich.

Turkey Sub from the Chinese Sub Shop, Memphis, Tenn.

Turkey and lettuce were piled high between two pieces of thick, flat soft bread. Every messy bite was completely amazing. I didn't care that there was mustardy lettuce stuck to my fingers, or that a handful of turkey had made a break for it. The sandwich was just so amazingly good. It was also amazingly inexpensive - my 8" sandwich, chips and drink came out to $6.11.

The Chinese Sub Shop is open daily for lunch and dinner. Be sure to stop by an ATM first - they only take cash.

Go There:

Super Submarine Sandwich Shop

614 S. Highland
Memphis, Tn 38111
(901) 324-3728

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I Love Memphis…
[...] - Sandwich from the Chinese sub shop [...]
February 23, 2010 5:23pm
They have the best sub in Memphis. I owe them a visit as it's been years since I've been there.
February 23, 2010 7:47pm
I completely agree with Peter. I ate there almost everyday when I went to Memphis. So good!!!!
February 24, 2010 11:07am
Hey...dont forget the yummy oily mustardy sweety stuff they will pour on for of charge....slurp slurp...... Come see my Memphis Urbanity just getting started but its gonna be great!!!! deb
February 24, 2010 1:44pm
Dan @ Ardent
Shyah. I got fat on the chicken breast sub during college.
February 24, 2010 7:33pm
I love that place! My parents took me there as a kid and now I take my kids there. The weird decor is totally part of the charm.
February 25, 2010 11:53pm
We lways called it the "Chinese Deli". Been eating there for about 25 years. I actually have eaten the Chinese food which is very good. I also like the hard roll -but maybe just so when I order I can say "I'll have an 8" hard one". The owner who takes your order is a little like the sandwich nazi and I don't know if she's still there but the woman that makes the sandwiches has been making them there for at least 25 years.
February 26, 2010 2:26am
Price Edwards
Just don't lose your ticket. You will get a lecture from the sandwich nazi that the above commenter noted. The hard bun is my favorite as well. The hardbun is the same bread but more toasty with grill marks on top. I am salivating.
February 26, 2010 11:29am
Oh the Chinese Sub Shop is superb. Just thinking about it made me poetic! But you gotta love the hard bread, too.
March 2, 2010 11:38am
Dude....the Sub Wash pub....totally. Actually, the Sub Wash Pub was next door to the asian sub shop and we used to shoot pool and drink beer underaged there in the early 90's. It was a punker/hardcore hangout Cam
March 4, 2010 1:29pm
This is just my observation, but... Because that woman (Lets call her Rose) is behind that counter in "THAT" kitchen....She looks Super Hot I like the way her arms looks all smokey plastic! SO FINE! I know Im not the only man here that feels this way... Any guy who has eaten any sandwich from here has fallen in love with the ladies behind the counter. Kudos to you, Rose : ) If thats your name and stuff or whatever.
March 16, 2010 12:02pm
I had lunch there today! Oh, yum. They have the Turkey sub as the combo special on Fridays! What IS that sweet taste on the sandwich? It is so good.
May 7, 2010 2:10pm
The question of the century just might be, "Haa bun, soff bun". The soft bun is a mistake. Hard bun FTW!!! Also some of the best General Chicken in town. BTW: nickmaned (however inappropriately) 'Cheap Chinese" in college.
June 22, 2010 3:39pm
The founder of this sub shop (it grew into a chain) was a guy named Dave Philo. My Dad was friends with him when they were in the linen and uniform business together (I think the sub shops started as a side business for Dave and grew from there). He had to sell the business as they expanded too rapidly Last time I ate there - summer of 1977! I was just a 12 year old kid. As my Dad put it then "we're going to have a Dave Philo sandwich for dinner!" Next time I'm in Memphis, I'm making a beeline over here. Can't believe it's still open. - RJG
September 22, 2010 3:57pm
Jim G
I ate there very often during the '85 - 91 timeframe. I agree with other posters that the better choice is 'har bun'. My favorite sandwich there was the 'Argentine Grinder'. Dialogue from my old orders: Me: Argentine Grinder Counter: Hard or soft bun? Me: Hard Counter: Everything on it? Me: Yes Counter: Chips? Me: Yes Counter: What to drink? Me: Ice tea. Counter: You want lemon? Me: No It got to where they knew my answers and I would just nod in affirmation.
September 23, 2010 3:57pm
David Sandy - …
I went there before the current owners bought it when I was very little. Great subs. I've been told the fish sandwich on soft bun is the greatest, but fish at anything less than a modern restaurant gives me the heebies.
October 1, 2010 5:42pm
david dominick
i love this sub shop, i use to work here in the 1970's for about two years when david phillo owend it. charlie harris was always in here , i miss him. the food has not changed at all. i miss miss kitty she was the manager when i worked there . thanks david dominick
March 11, 2011 2:45pm
Their Roast Beef Sandwich on soft bread is by far my favorite sandwich in all of Memphis. The same amazing woman has been making the delicacy since I was in college in the 80s! I just moved near there and one of the top selling points was being close to my favorite sandwich! haha.
June 13, 2011 8:45pm
I heard a Rumor the Sub Shop is closing :(   Can I get a confirm ?
September 20, 2012 4:06pm
The Sub Shop will be moving sometime next year, but not closing. I was in there last night and asked the owner. They are not sure yet where their new location will be.
November 9, 2012 9:18am
Amanda Jill Hill
They are still open, just moved over to 3316 Summer Avenue :)
September 10, 2013 12:53pm
Richard L
Great family I owned the Sub Pub and Wash Laundry Mat next store for a couple of years great family food and history !!
August 1, 2015 2:03pm