Hero's 'Great Sandwiches' true to their word
By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent
I have come to a strong conclusion: There is no need to deny yourself that one food that truly makes your taste buds sing like a hallelujah chorus. I cannot deny my love, my overwhelming desire, for bread. If past features are any indication of this romance, I am not breaking up with the sandwich-hugging food any time soon. So when another insatiable craving for the fluffy yet crispy bread encompassing a sub sandwich arose, I enlisted another foodie adventurer, Erin Carlson, â€” happily, I might add â€” and we ventured to a Gainesville sandwich staple: Hogan's.
I have attempted to dine at the sandwich shop before, but this whole cash-only thing that many local Gainesville spots seem to be enforcing is not my favorite. Without cash in hand, I left with the promise of a return. The vast number of items and, I suppose for the lazier of sandwich-pickers (myself included), already-paired sandwich offerings are what solidified my return. Although not geared toward the vegan consumers, the variety of meats and pre-set menu items of the "Combination Heros" was quite impressive. From cappicola and hot or cold salami to proscuittini and turkey, the possibilities are endless.
Upon entering the small shop on this most recent occasion, I noticed a few consumers were dining in, but the handful of tables available was worrisome as to whether a seat would even be available if more than eight people ordered in. This is definitely not the place for a multi-person lunch outing; I would say three or four people might be pushing it. The cold temperature of the shop, which is connected to a bar-type back room serving beer to accompany your sandwich if you so choose, drove me to order a hot sandwich. The number 12 Combination Hero, image at top, comprised of hot pastrami and corned beef peaked my interest. I came to put some serious sandwich goodness away!
Complete with all the fixings, minus the onion, I was surprised that an 8-inch sandwich was under $7. It doesn't include a side, such as chips or a pickle, though, so there's that. Along with the price, another thing I noticed was that it's not often that a sandwich shop offers 6, 8 and 12-inch options for multiple levels of hunger.
Erin and I managed to grab a table, but despite one customer in line before us, it was about a 10- to 15-minute wait for our sandwiches. This doesn't sound like much, but when you are spoiled by the speedy assembly of a Jimmy John's, Jersey Mike's or even Subway conveyer line sub, it just doesn't compute. Nonetheless, we picked up our subs from the counter with open arms, marveling at the amount of food presented.
Erin opted for the meatball sub, which was much more impressive than I had envisioned. The open-face presentation of the sandwich, the thick slices of white sub bread providing the bedding for a sheet of small meatballs under a blanket of melted cheese and marinara sauce with a sprinkling of oregano, called for a knife and fork. The bite-size meatballs were tender, welcoming the aromatic oregano that complemented the cheese and marinara sauce well, as with pizza. Although I am not much for meatball subs, this was more of a meal than a sandwich, so I had to at least consider it for a future choice.
On to my pastrami-corned beef beauty: I have to say, it was worth the wait. The first thing I noticed, after the size, was the bread used (of course), as it was not akin to a thinner, rounder baguette typical of a sub but more of a thicker, pressed panini-style bread. One very large bite was a flavor explosion, each bite as tasty as the last. The corned beef and pastrami, while not particularly hot as advertised, melded well with the bevy of toppings, from the unexpected sweetness of the crunchy pickles to the crispness of the banana peppers and lettuce and to the melted Swiss cheese, which a staff member recommended with this particular sandwich.
Unlike the meatball sub, I was not as fond of the oregano on my meaty masterpiece, as it was shrouded under the mustard and mayo condiments that coated the insides of the bread. Also, due to the close proximity of the other small tables to each other, I was definitely conscious of my conversation with Erin in comparison to the others around us. This seems like a setting for a nice solo meal experience, honestly, unless you don't mind strangers hearing about your eventful weekend.
Judging by my empty tray, I was extremely satisfied with my Hero's dining experience, despite a few setbacks.
The Pluses and Minuses of Hero's 'Great Sandwiches':
THE PLUS (+) indicators: Large, packed sandwiches at a great price; plenty of parking
THE MINUS (-) indicators: Could be lengthy wait time; very little seating; little expectation of private conversations; "hot" sandwich more on the lukewarm side
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Hero's Great Sandwiches. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 371-5851
- Address: 5156 SW 34th St., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: 34th Street
- Web Site: Hogan's Great Sandwiches
- Latitude: 29.6055476
- Longitude: -82.3726781
Aaron Newbold Thursday, 30 March 2017 15:54 Comment Link
My name is Aaron Newbold and I own Heros "Great Sandwiches" at 5156 Sw 34th St. While Hogan's is a wonderful place and a place where I found out what I wanted to do with my life through 20 years of working there. The owner of Hogans a year ago April 18 sold me 34th location and I renamed Heros and have tried to become my own entity while also showing where I was inspired from by keeping alot of the things that makes Hogan's so great. Walt is a wonderful person and is due every bit of credit as for the last 34 years he has run and maintained a famed location on 13th in Gainesville. Just as he did all those years ago he worked hard to build a reputation as am I. With that said using pictures from 2 years ago and writing a review about Hogan's while clearly on Door in picture taken that day it says Heros. Thanks for coming in and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Just give credit where it's due. You have a wonderful site and I'm sure you enjoy getting credit you deserve for it. I remember you both coming in and making your Sandwiches and also taking pictures. I'm sure Walt and Hogan's appreciates the extra advertisement. Thanks.
Kathleen Tuesday, 22 October 2013 16:24 Comment Link
At the Hogan's NW 13th St. location (next to Brasington's Trail Shop) there is a WWII document signed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt commemorating a serviceman's death at the battle of Bougainville.
R. Hong Tuesday, 22 October 2013 11:35 Comment Link
I've been going to Hogan's ever since the old days when it was Hogan's Heros and the quality of their sandwiches has always been top notch. I don't think you can find a better Reuben in all of Gainesville.
Col. Hogan Tuesday, 22 October 2013 09:49 Comment Link
The other, original location is on NW 13th St, not NE.