BY ASA HERRON | PHOTOS BY KIERA FRANKS
Cleveland’s trippiest sub shop has made its way to High St. Dave’s Cosmic Subs is now open right next to Bullwinkles. Any Clevelander like me will tell you–these subs are far out, man.
The company’s founder is Cleveland native “Cosmic” Dave. Both the 1960s and Cleveland’s status as the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world had a huge influence on Dave growing up, so much so that he spent a decade in California acting and singing in his own rock band, Foreplay. Once he was all rocked out, Dave returned home and opened his first sub shop in Chagrin Falls, OH in 1997. He certainly did not leave behind the fun of ‘60s rock counterculture. Every Dave’s Cosmic Subs shop is a time capsule paying homage to free love, psychedelia, and my favorite decade in American history.
Upon walking into the new Dave’s on High Street for the first time, I was hit with a wave of cosmic energy as I always am at every Dave’s. I’m not sure if it’s the Cleveland Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame posters on the walls or The Rolling Stones playing over the speakers, but Dave’s always feels like home.
Brother-in-laws, Derek Meduri and Chris May, told us they find their rock posters from “the depths of historical archives.”
There’s something old-fashioned about eating a stacked sandwich (served with Dave’s famous Cosmic Sauce, of course) while looking up at grainy, sepia-toned pictures of rockers throughout the decades. Like visiting an old family deli that the “cool uncle” in the family owns. The only way to top eating at Dave’s would be to eat your sandwich in the Rock ‘n’ Hall of Fame itself in downtown Cleveland.
“The music is part of the atmosphere that Dave’s is known for,” they explained. “We’re fans ourselves and have some personal preferences and favorites that we like to throw in.”
My go-to sub is Dave’s Famous Reuben. No one knows their corned beef like a Clevelander, and Dave represents his city well. Now that I think about it, the Rock Hall posters and The Rolling Stones feel like home only because I’ve associated them with the taste of Cleveland corned beef. Trust me, the sh*t is scrumptious. Dave has had to compete with some of the best sandwiches in the country in Cleveland, so he blows away any corned beef competition around here.
Catering to their Cleveland-based student consumers, they shared with me, “We’re bringing something new to a city that we love and call home, and we’re bringing a piece of home to a lot of Clevelanders who may have had a Dave’s sized hole in their hearts until now.”
If you aren’t certifiably addicted to reubens like me, Dave’s has plenty more subs to choose from–30 to be exact. Some of my other favorites are The Grateful Dave (turkey, tomatoes, red onion, mayo, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, and hot pepper juice) and Dave’s Best Meatball Ever. The menu is divided into sections: italian, turkey, chicken, roast beef, corn beef, ham, tuna, and veggie. All subs can be served either hot or cold and come on vegan, italian, whole wheat, or gluten-free bread.
On the side, I always get cajun fries from Dave’s, and I have never regretted it. These things are too fucking delicious to ever pass up. They’re essentially fair fries with a killer cajun seasoning for some heat. They also have a solid selection of kettle cooked chips in flavors such as Mesquite BBQ, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt, Salt & Vinegar, Funky Fusion, and Maui Onion.
Overall, the food is far and away higher quality than any other sub shop on campus. The only drawback is that they close earlier than your campus Jimmy Johns and Subways. However, once you’ve had Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, their perfectly crisp, fresh bread, and a homemade pickle on the side, you won’t even consider anything without them a sub. A great Sunday tradition I’ve had for years is watching the Browns lose while eating a dangerously delectable Dave’s sub. This Sunday, I invite you to join me in the cosmos, turn on the Jimi Hendrix Experience, light up (if that’s your thing), and dig in.
Dave’s Cosmic Subs is located at 1766 N High St. and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays.