When Mike and Linda Martin opened their sub shop Hoageez in Hummelstown in 2012, they weren’t very familiar with the restaurant business.
Mike was working in finance at the time and Linda was a teacher, but they both liked driving to Philadelphia on the weekends to eat at some of their favorite haunts.
“I never thought about the restaurant business,” Mike Martin said. “But after all this time spent in finance, I was looking for a change and my wife wasn’t sure she wanted to go back to teaching after staying home with the kids.”
Thus Hoageez was born, and the sandwich shop has proven to be such a success that the Martins have recently opened a second location at the West Shore Plaza in Lemoyne.
There are no tables at either locations. “The borough of Hummelstown wouldn’t let us have any tables because of the limited parking spaces, and the shop in Lemoyne is so tight there is just a slim counter with six seats,” Martin said. “We do 97 percent take-out business. Most people order online and then come and pick up their orders.”
“The first day we opened in Hummelstown, we didn’t know how to use the slicer,” he said. “Some one from Dietz & Watson helped us out for that opening week.” They now slice their meats fresh to order for each hoagie.
One of the other things that the Martins did was to close the shop when the fresh bread from Philly ran out. The rolls, which do not have any preservatives, are fresh baked every morning and delivered from Philly. “Some people were a little irritated but I refused to sell day-old bread,” he said. “That’s why we’re closed on Sundays. The Philadelphia bakeries that provide the rolls daily are closed on Sundays.”
The rolls hold up very well to the house-made seasoned oli, vinegar, mustard, mayo, onions and other hoagie ingredients. And the ratio of meats and cheeses to bread and condiments is a nice balance.
You can also go “naked”, i.e. without the roll. The salads consist of a bed of lettuce, tomato and onion with the desired toppings of meats, cheese or mouth-watering tuna studded with hard boiled eggs and chopped celery.
Sandwiches vary, but the iconic Rocky, an American Italian, and just about anything with bacon are the most popular subs at both eateries. The bacon lovers turkey (large is $8.99, small is $6.74, wrap is $8.99, naked is $8.99) explodes with crispy flavor. The turkey is wrapped and roasted in bacon, with strips of bacon serving as an additional garnish.
“My youngest daughter Shianne … kept bugging me to add the Philly fanatic,” a sub consisting of ham, peppered ham, capocollo, pepperoni, mild provolone cheese and banana peppers, “but I kept saying we have enough on the menu,” Martin said. “Sure enough, once that sub was added it’s been one of our top sellers.”
The Martins also have a branded root beer made for them by a company in Reading. And about five months ago they added their own private label of raw (but safe to eat) cookie dough called Spoon Me. The cookie dough — flavors include chocolate chip, peanut butter and M&M’s or chocolate brownie (my favorite) — melts in your mouth like chocolate truffles. It’s not the lightest dessert after an overstuffed sub but you’ll regret it if you don’t at least try a bite.
As for future plans, “we’re always looking for another location in a supportive community like Hummelstown and Lemoyne,” Martin said. “But we are not looking to franchise any time soon. We like being a family owned, local business.”
Hoageez: West Shore Plaza, 1200 Market St, Lemoyne, 717-695-7095; 422 Walton Ave., Hummelstown, 717-566-1314. Hours: 10:30 a.m to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.