Tuesday, Sep 13, 2022

Cleveland’s iconic sub sandwich chain Dave’s Cosmic Subs poised for expansion

Please click here for more information on Dave's Cosmic Subs

Cleveland’s iconic sub sandwich chain Dave’s Cosmic Subs poised for expansion

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – The Original Dave’s Cosmic Subs has been a staple of life in Northeast Ohio since 1997 when it first debuted as a tiny sandwich shop in Chagrin Falls.

So, it should come as no surprise that Dave’s was among the top vote-getters in cleveland.com’s recent poll to find the Best Sub Sandwich Shop in Greater Cleveland.

When all the votes were cast, the local chain finished in the runner-up position, just behind the Village Butcher, having captured nearly 20 percent of the 6,000 votes cast.

“Dave’s has been the greatest thing since my rock ‘n roll days,” Dave Lombardy, founder of the sub shop chain, said in a phone interview. “I am very proud of what my wife and I have created. It means everything that people who came into that first shop still love the subs and continue to come back for them on a regular basis.”

Even though customers will see little, to no change in the shops, expansion is on the horizon.

SRC DCS Hospitality Group, which has owned and operated six Dave’s Cosmic Subs franchises for several years, recently formed a partnership with founders Dave and Mary Ann Lombardy, purchasing the franchise end of the business, while the Lombardy’s retain the supply, sauce and soda operation for the shops. The chain will continue to use Dave’s image in its marketing and branding.

“We have been franchisees of Dave’s for the last six years. It seemed like the right fit. We had the background and knew how things needed to run,” explained James Yashnyk, president of SRC DCS Hospitality Group. “We loved the history and loved the direction the company was headed, so it was a comfortable thing to do.”

SRC DCS Hospitality Group is a subsidiary of Cleveland-based real-estate investment firm Sidhu Realty Capital.

Sidhu Realty Capital CEO Paul Sidhu says the company is focused on expanding the Dave’s Cosmic Subs brand regionally and nationally over the next several years. Yashnyk will work alongside Sidhu in these expansion efforts to enhance the overall concept.

“We felt it was a good opportunity to take something that Dave built and try to grow it into an even bigger legacy for the founder,” he explained. “We have a few new locations in the pipeline in Northeast Ohio, which is really what we are focusing on first, then we will start to build the company, regionally, across the state.”

Dave Lombardy grew up working for his father’s company, Seaway Foods. He eventually gave up his role in the family-owned grocery supplier, moving to California to try his luck as an actor and musician.

After 10 years in show business, Dave returned to Cleveland, where he met and married Mary Ann. The two opened their first sub shop in the tiny red house on River Street in Chagrin Falls. Today, the chain has locations in four states.

Lombardy’s subs were a tribute to his father, Chuck, “who would always wait up for me. We would always go into the kitchen at night when I got home and make these wonderful sandwiches out of the best bread and cold cuts and produce and then stand at the kitchen sink and eat and talk about life. Those were special times and that is where the inspiration for my subs came from.

“I created every sub and the sauce was a take on one my mom, Francine, used to make,” Lombardy said.

The rock ‘n roll theme of the shops was a throwback to Lombardy’s days working in the California music scene. His first customer at the Chagrin Falls shop was Mike Belkin. The two remained friends until Belkin’s death.

Yashnyk said fans of Dave’s sandwiches need not fear. Little will change with the new partnership.

“Subs are very popular, and Dave’s are iconic. We are not looking to change anything, the original subs Dave created will remain on the menu,” he said. “As my dad always said, ‘if it isn’t broken, why would we try to fix it?’ We are not looking to take anything away, we would only look to enhance what Dave started.”

According to Yashnyk the most popular subs remain the Crazy Dave’s, the Original, Dave’s Meatball and Dave’s Far Out Chicken.

Yashnyk said customers have been asking for “healthier options,” so menus may soon include additions to the three veggie subs already offered, as well as an expanded salad menu.

In addition to expanding its franchises across the country, SRC DCS Hospitality Group is planning to open corporate-owned shops nationally as well. Yashnyk says that will help assure the quality of the food – as well as Dave’s legacy – is maintained across the brand.

Yashnyk said he spent the last 30 years in retail and restaurant management and being involved with Dave’s over the last few years has “been a real learning experience when it comes to seeing how the original stores and the new ones have melded to continue the look and the vibe that has always been there. Dave’s is a vibrant brand and something that will continue far into the future.”

Add Franchises To Basket
For Free Information

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our cookies information for more details.