Spartanburg-based Monster Subs planning location in downtown Greenville


Monster Subs, a New York, New Jersey-style sub shop in Spartanburg, will expand to downtown Greenville in early 2017.

Pete Gambino, the restaurateur who brought his family-owned Monster Subs concept down when he moved from New Jersey a few years ago, said he has signed a lease on 1,350 square feet at 206 Coffee St., a space once occupied by Downtown Dogs.

Gambino said he hopes to open the eatery in March. It will operate Tuesday through Saturday and feature a range of hot and cold subs, sandwiches and paninis piled high with fresh, quality ingredients at an affordable price.

“We’re very excited about it,” Gambino said. “When we started this I said I’d give it three years to see if we’d be at the point where we could open a second one. And here we are. It takes some time to build it up. This is really a testament to how great our customers are. When they come in, most of the time my sons can remember what they usually order. We’re Italian. It’s all about making them feel like a part of the family.”

Gambino opened the Spartanburg location in June 2013 in the 2,500-square-foot former Sub Station II space at 115 E. Blackstock Road near Dorman Centre.

His wife, Robbin, and their sons, Peter “PeeJay” and Jordan “Grizzly” Gambino, and daughter-in-law, Amanda Gambino, are all a part of the business.



Monster Subs’ menu includes several signature subs, such as the Godfather, the Good Fella and the Knuckle Sandwich.

One of the restaurant’s best-sellers, the Kraken, named after a former player for the NFL Carolina Panthers, includes a hefty portion of freshly sliced turkey, roast beef and pepperoni with jalapeño bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, hot peppers and spices priced a $7.45 for the regular 6-inch size and $12.45 for the “Monster” version.

Gambino said he will keep most of the signature subs on the menu for the Greenville store, but could adapt other parts of it to give the restaurant a more Greenville feel.

Monster Subs has several salads and sides and tasty desserts, including cheesecake, cannolis, tiramisu and authentic Italian ice.

The Spartanburg store sells several domestic and import beers. The owners said the Greenville store most likely will sell beer in the future.

“The key for us is freshness; everything is made to order,” Gambino said. “For the Greenville store we’ll probably take a few things off the menu and add a couple of new things. But you know what they say. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Gambino said the Greenville store will be about half of the size of his flagship location, which means a little less space for customers dining in. But he believes the store’s proximity to downtown will provide more opportunities for pick-up and delivery orders, as well as catering.

Jordan Gambino said the family had been looking at spaces in downtown Spartanburg and Boiling Springs, but the opportunity in Greenville was too good to pass up.

The Gambinos had another Monster Subs location in Ocean County, N.J., and a deli. They also had a profitable home disaster restoration business.

But the family started looking at moving South in 2012 when Jordan graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Pete Gambino comes from a line of Italian cooks. Years ago, his grandmother, Lena Ciccola, plied her craft at Rocky Lee’s restaurant in Brooklyn. She cooked for The Beatles, Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra.

“The thing about us is that we’re a small, family-run business,” Gambino said. “We care about our customers.”

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