New Sub Shop Surfaces In The Square

It was deja vu all over again. That's the feeling that hit us as soon as we walked through the doors of DiBella's Old Fashioned Submarines shop. Even though Market Square's newest eatery will open for business to the public tomorrow — that's Thursday, by the way — this super sandwich joint feels like it's been around for ever. Tucked into a corner of what was once the old "New Diamond Market," DiBella's has a vintage Pittsburgh look with its tin ceilings, tile floors and dark wood paneling that makes it look like it's been on the Square since the days when the city spelled its name without the "h" on the end. Which was way before people could Google, text, tweet or even LOL.

Anyway, it was all smiles as a VIP crowd of hungry lunchtime diners lined up at one of the city's longest counters in town to taste test a fleet of subs piled high with salami, capicola, corned beef, ham, turkey and other choice cuts of meats — stacked on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, spicy and sweet peppers, onions and others add-ons. Now, our theory is that the secret of a great sandwich isn't always what you put between two slices of bread — it's the bread. And thanks to DiBella's on-site bakery, the oven-fresh sesame, multigrain, plain and everything rolls have the right stuff.

Because we believe that the voice of the people is the best word of mouth, we conducted a little survey. Of course, our results are more gastronomic than scientific. But the early polling shows that DiBella's got plenty of thumbs up from the preview party. In fact, we heard more than a few people say that they would be back for more on opening day this Thursday, March 3. Now we're going to let you in on a little secret that might get you to show up a little earlier than your usual lunch time. We're sharing the inside scoop that the first ten paying customers on Thursday will receive 52 coupons for a free sub. We'll do that math for you on this one. That works out to one free sandwich each week for a year — or about 8 a day for one week if you're really hungry.

We do have to issue a "heads up" hunger alert here. These subs are hefty, even for the "small" size, which measures in at seven inches long. By itself, this mighty mite is a pretty big bite. Our bellies were happy way past dinner time. But the large number is whopping 14 inches, enough for two people to share for maybe a couple of days. Fortunately, DiBella's is open for business seven days a week from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. That's enough time to finish any size sub in one sitting. If the sandwiches don't quite top off your appetite, the menu includes signature salads, macaroni, deli pickles, and other sides. For the super serious eaters, Grandma DiBella's chocolate chip cookies are the perfect ending.

Like we said, DiBella's really seems like a longtime fixture on the Square. The nostalgic touches are so authentic that you can almost hear the town crier and clip-clop of horseshoes echoing off the Belgian block streets outside. Yet, the shop in the Square is the company's first urban store. Up till now, you'd most likely find DiBella's in a suburban location. After doing a lot of homework, they decided to test the waters right here in Downtown. From the smiling faces we saw there, we think it's going to be a square deal all around.


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