Webster – Near the Johnson Space Center in the city of Webster located near the entrance to NASA, Mike Antonini has been making his superior sub sandwiches since 1990 at Antonini’s Subs.
“I’ve been all over the United States and I’ll tell you what, this the best sub I’ve ever had,” customer Frank Harrigan said.
Originally from a foreign place called Delaware, Mike moved to Texas in early 70’s to attend school at St. Edward’s in Austin.
“You know the signs they have now that say, keep Austin weird?” Mike said. “Well back then you didn’t need a sign cause it was.”
Mike played Rugby, met a Texas girl, settled down and moved to Houston in the mid 80’s. The only problem was that he couldn’t find a good sandwich. He opened up his first sub shop in 1984 and served up the sort of thing you could only find in the far away land known as the Northeast.
“We have our cheese steaks and meatballs, which we make homemade,” Mike said. “Sausage and peppers. And then cold cuts, subs our own roast beef we make. We make our own tuna and our Italian, which is probably number one. And just go from there.”
Now I must admit, this is nothing new on my bucket list. I’m very familiar with this little sandwich shop because I’ve been coming here since my high school days. So why do we keep coming back here year after year?
“It’s not my personality,” Mike said. “I don’t know why.”
Mike simply is a no-nonsense sort of guy.
“One lady told me she says, years and years ago, she says, ‘you know you’re nothing but an ignorant Yankee,’” Mike said. “I said, ‘well thank you.’”
His pragmatic way of putting things can even be seen on the sign.
“At three hundred dollars a letter, back then subs was about it,” Mike said. “I can’t imagine at putting Antonini’s up there at three hundred a letter. So for forty-five dollars we put Antonini’s in the window. “
Mike let his sandwiches do the talking for him. That tactic has brought in sub seekers and even people who travel to the stars.
“it’s something special that words really can’t describe,” Michael Joseph said.
Michael is Mike’s son. Mike is passing the torch to his only boy. So far, Michael has already opened up locations in Texas City and Kemah, but the original location still has a place in his heart.
“Pretty cool to be able to do these simple thirteen different sandwiches for over 30 years now and people still loving them,” Michael said. “Something to be said for that I think.”
I couldn’t wait another longer to get the lowdown on the large hero that’s been knocking out hunger with some serious flavor.
“We’re gonna make our signature sandwich, our Italian submarine oggi,” Michael said. “Some people call them subs, some people call them hoagies, so you know, we don’t discriminate.”
Michael Joseph begins with the bread.
“Italian roll,” Michael said. “Baked fresh every morning from the Colosseum Bakery. That’s genoa salami. Capocollo. It’s a hot peppered ham. Aged. Some Capocollo has black pepper rings around it. Some has the red pepper around it. Just all dependent on your taste and how much you wanna spend. Next thing you have your lettuce and you go down the line, your tomatoes, onions, pickles. These are the cherry peppers that everybody talks about. Normally just a- Some people heavy, some people say load it up. It just all depends. A little goes a long way, so if there’s a little bit in each bite. That’s the point in the sandwich. We want every bite to be all the ingredients and all those. To have it all. We’re already halfway there. You have to pack it all in so it will stay in place.”
Now I see why I’ve been addicted to this sandwich all these years. For twenty years I’ve been eating these, and I’m so excited to eat it once again.
“Plenty of food and just the quality of it and it’s very authentic to the northeast,” Elizabeth Gonzales said.
When you have astronauts in here to eat a sandwich before they go off into space, you know it’s out of this world.
“It’s unlike any other place I’ve been to, so, you got to come here,” long time customer Subrata Saha said.
If you’re every just visiting NASA or here in the Clear Lake area, Antoninis’ Subs on Highway 3 in Webster, Texas, is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“Life is full of uncertainties, eat dessert first,” Frank said. “Followed by a sub.”