Submarine Center

Rafik Zadoorian of Submarine Center

If there’s one place at the top of most West Portal expats’ lists when they revisit the neighborhood, it’s the Submarine Center (aka Sub Center) on Ulloa, in the short block between Claremont and the Muni tunnel. Since 1981, the narrow, sports memorabilia-lined shop has been slinging thick deli sandwiches on crunchy toasted bread with their signature sauce, feeding the neighborhood and those who have left it but make the trip back to grab lunch here because there’s no other place like it. In the heady days of social media, you’d see Sub Center sandwich photos tagged at Giants and 49er games (with commenters lamenting the fact they miss the hot pastrami sandwiches), on a Muni bus, and on a United flight out of SFO. Rafik Zadoorian (pictured) has managed the shop for 40 years and says that although business dipped during the lockdown, Sub Center regulars are back, as attested by the lines out the door (there’s always a line). 

Most popular sandwich?

The hot pastrami with slices of pastrami seared on a griddle and layered on a toasted french bread bun with shredded lettuce, mustard, mayo, onions, tomatoes, and “Secret Sauce.” The Atomic Sandwich and Hot Turkey run a close second.

Eating out west? 

Zadoorian likes to slide in next door to The BullsheadRestaurant.

West Portal needs?

Not a thing, of course.

Submarine Center: 820 Ulloa St.