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Penn Station East Coast Subs can be quite a (tasty) mouthful

Quality often is more important than speed.

The Shadyside location of Penn Station East Coast Subs is not a fast-food restaurant. At a busy lunchtime, the wait for an order -- which really is only minutes -- can seem long as a diner hangs around, listening for a name to be called.

But in the overall judging of the matter, the wait is justified by the quality of the sandwiches, which, as the name suggests, are all the classic variants of the submarine. They are fresh and packed with ingredients that produce a good taste.

Jon Keidel, a managing owner of the site on the busy Oakland/Shadyside axis, says the philosophy of the national chain is to concentrate on freshness of the ingredients and "enhanced customer service."

His staff, he says, does that by being open to conversing with customers and doing food-oriented matters such as cutting bread and rolls twice a day, so they aren't sitting around open too long.

The Shadyside site has been around five years, he says, and still is the only Penn Station location in the state. There are about 240 around the country, and he says he and his partners currently are close to finding a spot for an additional location, which he would not identify.

The present site is fed nicely by the cluster of businesses in the area as well as the nearby UPMC Shadyside Hospital. It can get busy at lunchtime and Keidel says they serve about 350 people a day,

Penn Station is something of a specialty shop. Many stores boast a title item but then add a variety of pizza, tacos and gyros. But Penn Station is a sub shop with the exception of its cheesebread -- 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch pieces of twisted bread topped with provolone, Parmesan and oregano, and some pizza sauce if it is wanted.

But the subs are the stars. There are classics such as the Philadelphia cheesesteak, club and Reuben; teriyaki Parmesan and cordon bleu chicken subs; Italian, pizza and sausage subs; and lighter options, such as the chicken or tuna salad and the grilled artichoke and grilled vegetarian.

They sell for $4.59 to $8.89.

Every month, one of subs is offered as a special with a beverage and fries for $6.95 to $9.99.

Fries are $1.59, $2.49 and $3.49.

Penn Station also offers sweet items such as a chocolate chunk cookie for $1.49 and a broad run of fountain drinks, lemonade and iced tea.

Additional Information:

Penn Station East Coast Subs

Location: 4815 Centre Ave., Shadyside

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Details: 412-688-7366

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