Despite the sign out front, customers who enter the new Subway location on Kalifornsky Beach Road may think they've wondered into the wrong fast food joint.
The new location's menu and the long counter where employees make submarine sandwiches to order will be familiar to Subway regulars. However, the look of the place may come as a shock.
The plastic-banana yellow the chain is famous for is nowhere to be found. Neither are the standard, plain-white tables, chairs and floors. Instead, the interior looks like something plucked from the Italian country side and filtered through the design sensibilities of Martha Stewart.
Subway yellow has been replaced by a trio of muted colors. Earthy reds, tans and greens color the chair cushions and chipped-tile floors, as well the table tops, whose veneer looks like polished slabs of pitted rock.
"The colors are more subdued," said owner Mike Northcutt, "They're moving away from the bright yellow Subway is traditionally known for."
Northcutt likes the new look, which he said is inspired by the rustic look of Tuscany in northern Italy.
"I think it's definitely a step up for the Subway design," he said.
Northcutt owns three other Subway franchises, in Kenai, Soldotna and Homer, but the new location is the only storefront with the Tuscany decor, which is a recent option for franchise owners. Northcutt said he plans to remodel the other locations with the Tuscany design over the next few years, starting with the Homer store early next year.
Customers line up to place orders Friday. The interior is decorated in a "Tuscany design," which uses more subdued color tones than Subway's traditional bright yellow.
Photo by Mark Harrison
Diana Tice was one of the new Subway's first customers when the store opened Friday. She admired the softer look of the new location as she stood in line to order. She especially liked what had been done with the floor.
"I think it's a great look," Tice said. "I think the tile floors are beautiful."
Tice used to work at the tea room that previously occupied the storefront the new Subway took over. She had heard the new store was opening and decided to drive over from her house on the other side of Soldotna with her two daughters to see what her old place of employment looked like.
"We came here just because we knew it was opening," Tice said. "It's sort of full circle out with the old, in with new."
Robin Linson works nearby and was about to drive to lunch, when she noticed the new Subway was open.
"I work just down the road and I (saw) the sign that said open and I turned around and came back," she said.
The new Subway is the first fast-food restaurant on K-Beach Road. Linson, who often drives the half dozen miles to Soldotna for lunch, is looking forward to the time the fast food chain will save her.
"It sure beats heading all the way to town," she said.
Linson was looking forward to saving even more time using the Subway's drive-through window, which was scheduled to open in a day or two.
"It'll be so much more convenient to run to for lunch, since I've only got half an hour," she said.
The new Subway is in the same building as Healthy Changes Fitness Club, which Northcutt thinks is a good location for a chain that markets its menu as a healthy alternative to other fast foods.
"The location next to Healthy Changes fits in well with our low-carb, low-fat message," he said.
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