BRISTOL, Va. — Phat Daddy’s serves subs as fat as footballs.
“And you actually have to have a big mouth,” said the restaurant’s co-owner, Geno Devincenzi, 50. “Or you eat it like an ice cream cone. You eat all the way around it.”
On West State Street at the heart of Bristol, Devincenzi calls himself “The Phat Daddy.”
This eatery in Bristol, Virginia, opened on March 1 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered doors to the newly christened restaurant and forced Phat Daddy’s to be a take-out-only restaurant.
Today, the small but colorful dining room is back open in what had once been a longtime floral shop.
And the subs?
Well, they’re just like Devincenzi made them in New Jersey, where he operated a sub shop for years at a beach.
Devincenzi and his wife of three years, Shannon, operate this mom-and-pop shop with hands on the ham, lettuce, tomatoes, roast beef, olives, peppers, turkey and bacon.
Oh, the bacon!
“Watch this!” Geno Devincenzi said as he piled bacon slices higher and higher on a BLT sandwich.
Devincenzi says he opened this shop out of necessity.
“When we moved out here, there was no good food to eat,” he said. “So we had to accommodate everybody with some good ol’ Jersey food.”
Devincenzi also called his Jersey sub shop Phat Daddy’s.
The couple migrated south to Bristol, Virginia, after visiting a buddy in Covington, Virginia — about four hours north.
“My wife fell in love with the mountain views,” Geno Devincenzi said. “She used to run a sub shop. And I owned one before we got married. So now we’re doing this together.”
The mom-and-pop shop concept is part of the appeal of Phat Daddy’s, this couple said.
“And I’ve got the best food in town,” Geno Devincenzi bragged.
Matt Lawson, 37, a regular customer, says he agrees this food is “the best.”
And it has a lot of variety — with 35 kinds of sandwiches, including cold subs, hot subs, wraps and paninis.
Shannon Devincenzi, 50, calls herself “Mrs. Phat Daddy” as she piles veggies onto sub rolls.
Why the success?
“We have good food, for one,” Shannon said. “Two, it’s all homemade. I make it all, pretty much.”
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