So, I doubt there’s anyone in Rio Linda or Elverta over the age of twelve who hasn’t heard of Tummy’s Sub Shop, and hasn’t lamented their closure over the past months. When you talk old school Rio Linda, a town fixture, something integral to the fabric of the community, you’re talking about Tummy’s and Papa’s/Romano’s/Graziano’s Pizza.
For a few months, both of those joints were shuttered, and they were dark days indeed.
Well, rejoice friends and neighbors because Tummy’s is back… and it’s GOOD.
Mark and Diana Tibbles, both Rio Linda locals, have purchased Tummy’s, refurbished the interior, rehabbed the menu, and I sat down there for lunch today.
The interior has been completely refreshed, with chrome diamond plate on the walls of the kitchen, and a fresh coat of paint on everything else. The old picnic tables are gone… kinda. They’ve been replaced by newer chrome and black bar-height bistro tables. You’ll find a couple of the old picnic table tops doing duty as a window counter and artwork. Add some sports memorabilia and a couple of flat screen televisions and you get the idea.
I went with the classic hot roast beef sandwich. I mean, I pretty much existed on Tummy’s hot roast beef, Romano’s bread sticks, 7-11 nachos and Knight Dogs when I was in high school. How can you go wrong with a classic, right? It looked like about an eight inch roll, the size of the former medium, and the rolls continue to be sourced from the I&C Bakery at Mar Val Plaza. #ShopLocal folks.
It was stuffed with layers of moist, flavorful and hot roast beef. Lovingly dressed with mayo and mustard, with lettuce, onions, pickles and pepperoncini rings. Diana mentioned that they would have olives and bacon in stock shortly.
Did I mention moist? The thing you learn about a hot roast beef is that you have to eat it quick. Firstly, it has to be hot, and if you don’t get to it in time, the roast beef juice will run down your arm. Not that it’s a bad thing. The juice mixes with the moisture from the lettuce, the mayo and the mustard, and forms this elixir of the lunch gods that soaks the sandwich in a nostalgic essence that feeds your soul. It’s a good sandwich. This ain’t Subway.
I mean it. They are… Right. There. It’s that good.
It’s close enough to the original that I had memories of playing Atari 2600 video games on the 14 inch color tv with rabbit ears while struggling not to get the juice all over the black plastic joystick with the one orange button… Yeah, I’m that old. But you get it. It’s the same food we all had for lunch, for dinner, during little league sign-ups, after Saturday afternoon home football games (we didn’t have lights, kids. We played in the heat of the September sun) before heading next door to the Donut Hole or Rio Java.
It should be noted that the menu has been trimmed substantially. You no longer have the option of small, medium or large. It’s all one size fits all. They have a nice little beer selection on tap, including a frosty and delicious Shock Top which I also enjoyed. They also have a few bottled beers standing by. I’d be negligent not to mention the side order basket of tater rounds that came with a choice of ranch or barbecue dipping sauce. Lightly salted and garlicky, they were hot and crunchy on the outside, fluffy in the middle.
I talked with Diana a bit, and we talked about the differences between this iteration of sandwich and the classic. She mentioned that while you get a healthy amount of meat, they just couldn’t make a jawbreaker like Tummy’s used to without driving the price up to $12 per order. Times have changed, costs have gone up on everything, and they are giving the best value they can while staying true to the classic recipe. I mentioned maybe they should offer a “1987” sandwich, jammed full of meat, at a twelve dollar price point. I bet it would be a hit.
My sandwich was $8.95, pint of Shock Top draught was $4.50, and tots were $5.
So, while there’s no news of a Papa’s Pizza renaissance, we happily welcome back Tummy’s Subs and wonder how we ever made it through those dark days of summer 2016 without them.
Hits: Beer was cold, sandwich was good, and service was quick. What more can you ask for.
Misses: Would like to see a few outdoor chairs for the sidewalk tables, and while I don’t expect a return to the mocha and ice cream days, I think the menu should be expanded.
Rating: 4/5 stars. I’ll be back, often.