Mash Hoagies- Palm Bay- 3 Stars
As I left MASH Hoagies in Palm Bay, full but not completely satisfied, I couldn't help but think of the late, great Rodney Dangerfield who once said, "I get no respect, I tell ya. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician, I would be honest." That is exactly how Sonny, the owner of MASH Hoagie's struck me. He is an honest, hard-working fellow, who wants nothing but to make the best product he can for his customers.
Unfortunately, circumstances beyond his control prevent him from doing just that. Wanting to grasp the ever-elusive American Dream, Sonny purchased MASH Hoagies less than two months ago and is giving it the old college try. Sadly, it would appear, he is dying on the vine so to speak. Running a restaurant is a tough enough industry in which to find success, add to that buying a place with "meh" reviews to begin with and you have your work cut out for you. This eatery has everything you want in a casual dining experience: a clean, well lit, spacious dining area (including outdoor seating) and a friendly, helpful, motivated, on point staff. The only thing missing here is quality meats. I am sure that Sonny bought the place with the meat distributor already in place. Being a new owner, I don't blame him for sticking with them while he gets his feet wet in the marketplace. However, that time has long passed and it is time he moves beyond the shredded, pressed, sliced and processed meats (ala Subway and Jersey Mike's) and goes with a real meat distributor like Boar's Head or Deli Master's.
I ordered "The Colonel Blake" as I never really got over Radar's infamous line, "I have a message. Lieutenant Colonel ... Henry Blake's plane ... was shot down ... over the Sea of Japan. It spun in ... there were no survivors." and I felt I needed the closure. I continued small talk with the engaging owner as he handcrafted my sub so that I could, in my own small way, say,"Abyssinia," to Col. Blake.
The first thing that caught my eye was the way Sonny cuts the bread for his sandwiches; akin to how Subway originally cut theirs, he "scoops" out the top and makes a long bread bowl in which to ply his craft. He then expertly lays the ingredients down with care and genuine passion for his food. The green, crisp lettuce is placed on the bottom, followed by garden fresh tomatoes and then the whole kit and caboodle heads south with the introduction of the processed meat food product stacked high -- all topped off with your selection of sliced cheese. Everything was great, except, as noted before, the processed meats. If Sonny gets a new meat distributor I'll be back, meanwhile, The Big Boy says, "It's not bad if you're in a pinch and it has a great owner, but your food dollar would be better spent elsewhere.