Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mario's grinder bread cap is a bit of sandwich genius

Posted by on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Marios in Westport should patent its grinder.
  • Mario's in Westport should patent its grinder.
Today Fat City brings you a great moment in sandwich innovation. This one is directed toward the hero purveyors, sub sellers and the sandwich shops across the metro. Mario's in Westport (204 Westport Road) has created the ultimate sandwich to-go, thanks to a cleverly placed bread cap that covers the opening of its classic meatball grinders. It's a carbohydrate trick that we hope catches on.

The end cap is genius.
  • The end cap is genius.
This is hoagie alchemy: a half-sandwich becomes a whole. The sandwich cap has two key components. It ensures portability of the sandwich and gives you the option of slicing the grinder in half and creating two viable halves (that is, meatballs will not be falling out the back as you attack the front).

A side benefit is that the bread cap helps the sandwich retain its heat if you're driving before eating it. Meatball subs typically don't age well, but Mario's can hold on a little longer than most because the warmth is trapped inside. The traditional crusty bread ensures that things won't get soggy while you're waiting. The grinder shop typically offers a lunch special called "the perfect lunch," a grinder of the day, a side of pasta salad and a can of soda for $7.

Mario's is owned by the Waid family (yup, the Waid Family that founded the Waid's Restaurant chain), and the carryout side is said to be the site of Kansas City's first hot-dog stand. John Waid began selling the grinders out of the small counter space in 2007. Despite its canary-yellow paint job, it's easy to miss the torpedo shop adjacent to the library.

The meatballs and cheese underneath.
  • The meatballs and cheese underneath.
The to-go side of Mario's makes Kitty's Cafe look big. And to those who think they only have time for the drive-through, I'll bet you a meatball sub that you'll have your order faster at the Westport sub shop. In my trip to the counter earlier this week, I received my change and sandwich in less than two minutes.

Here's hoping that more sub shops consider a bread plug - it does wonders for containing the guts of a sandwich that seem hellbent on ruining your dress shirt.

Mario's is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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