Western New York has known the joys of a DiBella’s sandwich for almost a century, and now that Ithaca has its very own DiBella’s Submarines, we can enjoy those great sandwiches right here. The family business that started in Rochester is now on Route 13 in Ithaca’s southwest.
Subs are the focus, and they bake fresh bread several times a day to top with your choice of meats, a choice of several cheeses, and lots of fresh veggies. They also offer salads if you’d like to skip the bread, but their sub rolls are the best part.
The company says dough is aged at least 16 hours before baking, and sub rolls are baked at least twice a day, so you’re never getting a roll that’s more than a few hours out of the oven. All ingredients are prepared fresh every day in each shop.
As big fans of the classic Italian cold cut sub, we had to start with the Godfather, which goes well with DiBella’s oil dressing and a little spicy mustard rounding out the Genoa salami, capicola, and spicy ham. We suggest banana peppers and olives for this one.
The Cowboy features grilled chicken and bacon heated up on the grill top, with cheddar and BBQ sauce. And the Italian meatball sub features excellent beef and pork meatballs with a hearty marinara sauce. Go with the mozzarella cheese for this one.
If we have any complaint about DiBella’s so far, it’s that the sandwich makers don’t ask if you’d like any of the veggie toppings added to these specialty subs. These would probably be great with, say, onions and tomato slices and black olives. We could probably make a point of asking, since the veggies are included at no extra charge with any sub, but isn’t that their job?
There aren’t specific vegetarian or vegan subs, but they’ll pile all the veggies on a roll for you, with or without cheese, and the rolls themselves are vegan.
Large subs are north of $10, but the good news is a large is enough food for at least two meals, if not three, unless you’ve got an XL appetite. Even a medium is plenty to split for kids or lighter-appetite adults, and there is indeed a kid’s combo.
You can add a large fountain drink and a side to your sub for under three bucks, and it’s worth it, with choices like a deli pickle, a bag of chips, tangy macaroni salad, or a cookie.
You may have heard that the Wegmans supermarket chain or family owns DiBella’s. You may have heard that Wegmans buys bread from DiBella’s for its supermarket delis. Both are untrue. What is true is that Danny Wegman loved DiBella’s sandwiches so much that he told his Wegmans deli counters to start making subs that good. They upgraded their delis after consulting with DiBella’s.
These subs really are that good, and the bread is a big factor. It’s not just better quality bread than, say, Subway, another chain of sub shops you may be familiar with. It’s more interesting bread than Shortstop Deli, and we like Shortstop’s bread.
Plan on spending $5-10 per person on a meal, and save by sharing. Find DiBella’s Submarines at 222 Elmira Road or dibellas.com, and tell them you heard about them here.