‘Watts for Dinner’: Subway versus Subway – an east fresh refresh

Will Watts

We’re doing something a little different this week. Marco Island has only a handful of “fast food” type restaurants. And they don’t get much love from me, in this column. Well that’s about to change.

This week we visited both of the island’s subway stores. We ordered the same thing at each one, to see if there was a clearly superior Subway.

The national chain, usually with local ownership, recently launched a new advertising campaign featuring Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Megan Rapinoe and Serena Williams as the new faces of the brand, which also has a new celebrity voice, Charles Barkley.

With nearly 40,000 restaurants in 100 countries, Subway is in the process of overhauling its store, and recently updated the app. You can now order and pay online, and have your sandwich waiting when you arrive.

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Locally, the Subway on Barfield Drive has been refreshed inside and out. The outside of the Bald Eagle location was refreshed not that long ago, but the inside remains the same.

Along with the refreshes and new ad campaign come new menu items. “The Subway Eat Fresh Refresh campaign brings to life how much new we have on our menu and is a significant moment in the brand’s transformation journey,” said Carrie Walsh, Subway’s chief marketing officer, in a statement to the “Nation’s Restaurant News.”

“As such, one single creative execution or spokesperson wouldn’t have been enough,” she said.

New sandwiches include the “Turkey Cali Fresh,” “Steak Cali Fresh,” rotisserie-style chicken (with a secret rub), and an “All-American Club.” They’ve also upgraded the steak (new seasoning) and cheese, oven roasted turkey, Black Forest ham (sliced thin on both) and a new angus roast beef.

Customers can also top their subs with three new ingredients. A new Belgioioso fresh mozzarella which comes from “award-winning artisan cheesemakers in Wisconsin,” a new smashed avocado topping made only with avocados and salt, hickory smoked bacon and a new tangy MVP parmesan vinaigrette.

We bought the same two items at each store. A footlong tuna sub with the Italian herbs and cheese bread and the veggie patty sub on Italian bread.

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On the tuna, we added mustard, extra mayo, cucumbers, black olives and lettuce. The veggie patty got honey mustard, provolone cheese, onions and banana peppers.

Service at both stores was prompt, professional and courteous. All four sandwiches tasted great. We only noticed one significant difference in preparation. We asked that the veggie patty sub be toasted. At the Barfield store, the patty was added and toasted with the bread. At the Bald Eagle store, the bread and cheese were toasted, while the patties cooked in an oven. Both were great, but at the end of the day, we liked the veggie patty sub best at the Bald Eagle store.    

That being said, the fountain drink selection and presentation was better at the Barfield store, where I had a strawberry guava lemonade. So, we’ll just call it a tie.  

At both stores we picked up some cookies. Oatmeal from both, yum! Raspberry cheesecake cookies from Barfield, amazing! And delicious white chocolate macadamia nut cookies from Bald Eagle.

It’s an eat fresh refresh and we’re all in.

More:Hey Marco Island, looking for a place to eat?

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go


  • 670 Bald Eagle Drive, Island Plaza, Marco Island
  • 239-394-7009
  • subway.com


  • 147 S Barfield Drive Space #20, Marco Island
  • 239-394-7004
  • subway.com