We don't usually expect to hear "gourmet" and "sub shop" in the same breath, but when a new eatery starts out their sandwiches by baking their own bread and making their own sweet chili sauce, starts the French onion soup by sauteeing fresh onions, and roasts small batches of imported coffee beans before brewing coffee to order in a French press, we're inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
That's what's going on at Gorgers Gourmet Subs, a new shop on West State Street right across from the State Theatre that offers a wide variety of meaty and vegetarian subs, a daily soup beyond the French onion, and an array of salads, all made to order from fresh ingredients, locally sourced when feasible.
We love the Banh Mi, the Gorgers take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich, featuring pulled pork topped with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and spicy garlic mayo on a fresh sub roll. (All of the subs can also be made on flatbread instead.) The South of the Border includes shredded chicken and queso with Mexican slaw, and the Coconut Shrimp sub sports a hearty helping of plump, breaded shrimp with sweet chili sauce.
Most of the sandwiches can be made vegetarian by substituting sliced eggplant for the meats, and there are vegan sandwiches featuring hummus and even fries in a red wine reduction. That red wine reduction also features in the store-made potato salad, available as a nice side.
As the weather gets chillier, we're more likely to add a bowl of the hearty French onion soup, just $3 or with a half sandwich for $7. (Note that it's not vegetarian.) It's served with melty-cheese-topped slices of bread, and it might just be enough for a lighter appetite on its own.
Before you go, get a cup of French press coffee, roasted right on the premises in small batches. Right now, they're serving a delicious and bright Guatemalan brew, and they're eyeing an Ethiopian bean for their next purchase.
Gorgers seems to be happy to chat with diners about their food, a sure sign that they love what they're doing and want to do it as well as they can. We suggest stopping in for a quick sandwich on your way through downtown, or before a show at the State Theatre.
Plan on spending $7-15 on a meal. Find Gorgers at 116 West State Street, in the former home of the Prize Diner and the Ithaca Diner before that, order online at IthacaToGo.com, or call them at 607-319-5046 and tell them you heard about them here.