Pat’s Submarines opened in May 1984, during what we fondly remember as our halcyon high school days.
Alas, we didn’t attend Lackawanna schools, which practically sit behind Pat’s on Martin Road around the corner. The nearby schools explained the $1 containers of sour strawberry candy “belts” for sale by Pat's register. (Our big teased bangs would have been all over that action.)
From the red neon sign, 1980s-esque metal chairs and wood menu caddies to the Corelle plates our food was served on, we loved the retro feel.
Sports memorabilia is everywhere, including Lackawanna native Mike Mamula's Philadelphia Eagles jersey. But first, the food.
The appeal of the menu to adolescents (and those who succumb to our teen eating impulses) cannot be understated.
As expected, the sub menu is extensive, with 37 varieties and straight pricing: $6.99 half and $10.99 full, served on whole wheat, white or sesame seed rolls. (An original displayed menu shows 14 varieties, a top price of $3.50 for a whole Pat’s special.) There are regulars like turkey, salami, Italian sausage, chicken finger and royal. The Pat’s special sub features cold cuts with sausage. A chicken cordon bleu has ham and mozzarella. The list goes on.
Free extras include green, jalapeno and banana peppers. Double cheese, fresh mushrooms, blue cheese, etc., are additional (49 cents to $1.99). Extra meats are $2.49 half sub/$4.99 whole.
Deep-seated fried fantasies are fulfilled: mozzarella sticks, pizza logs, mac/cheese bites, boneless wings ($9.99 each) and chicken fingers ($12.99) all come with fries. Wraps and tacos ($6.99), gyros ($7.99) and sandwiches ($6.99) are variations of sub ingredients packaged accordingly. Salads ($8.99 to $12.99) include taco, steak with spinach, tuna and Cajun chicken. A kids meal comes with burger, cheeseburger, chicken fingers or pizza logs with fries and drink ($8.99).
We brought Teen Nephew with us for observation and valuable insight. He inhaled his whole cheeseburger sub (four patties) along with a basket of fried mushrooms and Cajun fries off the all-day manager’s special stinger sub ($12.87 for a half sub, sandwich, taco or wrap, with fries and fountain drink).
The tasty stinger came loaded with nicely chopped steak and medium chicken fingers on a lovely toasted sesame roll. The Cajun spiced fries we tasted before they disappeared were hot, leaving our lips burning in a good way.
Two of us had the Saturday special, a $5.99 gyro (normally $7.99). One chicken and one steak each had delicious fillings of chopped meat, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki and feta on super soft pitas. We indulged in a big basket of loaded fries topped with melted mozzarella, real bacon and sour cream ($9.99). With chicken fingers, the loaded fries are $12.99.
What better to guzzle it all down with than loganberry and orange pop ($2.79)? If only we could eat like teens every day.
Sports memorabilia (high school to pro) includes jerseys, hockey sticks, baseball mitts and tickets, along with pictures from Pat's over the years. So take some kids, share a meal and tell them about the "good old days" of the 1980s. Pat's is living proof.
1741 Abbott Road, Lackawanna (826-0022)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.
History: Once a hot dog/ice cream stand, Pat and John Gentile bought the building, remodeled and originally called it Pat’s Drive-In.
Parking: Large lot.
Gluten-free options: No special gluten-free menu.