Situated on Saba Avenue, Karachi in the same line as Gazebo, Hoagies is a new eatery specialising in, as the name suggests, Hoagie sandwiches.
The term Hoagie originated in Philadelphia and refers to a submarine sandwich consisting of a long roll of Italian or French bread, split into two pieces, filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces.
Hoagies offers both delivery and dine-in options, however, it was the dine-in outlet that I decided to experience.
With lots of exposed brick walls and a sitting area consisting of upholstered booths and wooden tables and chairs, the overall vibe is rustic comfort.
There’s a blackboard with the WiFi password clearly mentioned, along with requisite social media buttons, inviting one to use this as a comfortable place to get some work done while munching a sandwich, or relax with friends.
|Hoagies dine-in outlet. – Photo by author.|
We were greeted by a highly energetic staff member who proceeded in explaining to us how to order, and the range of options available.
There are three different versions of submarine sandwiches available categorised by the type of fillings with the prices varying from low to high. There are beef and chicken options available for a total of six submarine sandwiches with separate sides and desserts.
|Hoagies menu. Photo by author.|
|Breakdown of a Hoagie. – Photo by author.|
The first offering, 'Original' is the lightest in terms of fillings and sauces. The beef version titled ‘Homie’ consists of steak strips and is priced at Rs375, and the chicken version titled ‘Hollywood’ consists of shredded chicken breast priced at Rs350.
The second offering is the 'Dirty' range, which is their mid-tier range in both fillings and in prices, and is also their most popular offering. It consists of the same fillings as the Original range, with more sauces and cheese. The ‘Hottie’ is the beef version priced at Rs450 and the ‘Hogalicious’ is the chicken version priced at Rs400.
Their last and most filling range is the ‘HellaFat’ which living up to its name, is stuffed not just with meat and veggies, but also French fries and mozzarella sticks. The chicken version comprises of fried chicken priced at Rs500, with the beef version comprising of steak strips priced at Rs550.
Since we were feeling hungry, we decided to order two 'Hogalicious' and one 'Hogster' along with fries and drinks. We were given an option of bread choices from whole wheat, white and jalapeno cheese.
Our order arrived in about five to seven minutes, and the first thing that we noticed was the care that went into the packaging.
Submarine sandwiches are generally messy, and with the amount of fillings and sauces that this outlet promised, they were bound to be messier. But every sandwich was first wrapped in butter paper, cut into two pieces and then wrapped again in brown paper, with a sticker on top ensuring that everything stayed together.
|Two Hogalicious, one Hogster and curly fries. – Photo by author.|
The 'Hogalicious' consisting of chicken breast, two kinds of sauces (honey mustard and barbecue sauce), veggies and both mozzarella and cheddar cheese was a definite mouthful. The freshly baked bread (Jalapeno Cheese in my case) was flavourful and soft, providing just the right cushion to the filling to ensure it didn’t fall out. What I enjoyed the most in the sandwich was the smokiness from the hickory smoked barbecue sauce and the caramelised onions.
The caramelised onions were a surprise element, as they weren’t mentioned in the product description – should have been for picky eaters. One small flaw that I noticed was that the green chilies were only cut into half, and were too big – diagonal cut or thinly sliced would have been a better option.
|A Hogalicious sub. – Photo by author.|
The 'Hogster' comprising of steak strips had marinara sauce with ranch dressing, along with caramelised onions and peppers, with the additional twist of French fries and mozzarella sticks in the sandwich. Though adding French fries to a sandwich might sound strange, they are a regular feature in a chip butty in England, and in shawarmas in the Middle-East region. In this particular sandwich, both items actually tasted pretty good.
While I doubt I will ever be able to finish one of these sandwiches on my own, my brother loved this sandwich, and the fact that it was filling enough for him is enough to suggest that these are designed for hearty eaters.
|A Hogan sub. – Photo by author.|
While the sandwiches were great, the curly fries that we ordered were just average and better ones can be found at other outlets. We also tried a slice of ‘Holy Velvet’ or Red Velvet cake and it could have been better – the cake was a bit dry, and there just wasn’t enough cream cheese icing.
|Red Velvet cake at Hoagies. – Photo by author.|
Overall, Hoagies is a sandwich specialty outlet and its strengths are exactly that.
The menu is small, but it has been designed with care to cater to the majority of diners – there are sandwiches for light eaters to heavy eaters, and the two most popular proteins are covered. The packaging is such that the sandwiches can be eaten easily without creating a mess, thus making them a good takeaway or lunch option.
They don’t offer a 'make your own' option, but they let you add or delete veggies and sauces from the options available.
In terms of prices, it is more expensive than Subway (which diners will compare it to), however, the sandwich size is larger (six inch at Subway versus eight inches at Hoagies), the sandwiches are well constructed, and most importantly Hoagies is all about excess whereas Subway focuses on light and healthy.
What they do need to improve on are their sides. They can also look into adding more sandwiches, light eaters’ range, with some quirky yet family appropriate names which will add to the appeal of these sandwiches. Additionally, if they want to focus on people wanting to use the premises as a place to work, making use of the WiFi facilities, then tea and coffee would be a welcome addition to the menu.
Rating (4 out of 5):
Food: 4 | Ambiance: 4 | Service: 4.5 | Value for money: 3.75
Kiran Afzal is a researcher by profession, who enjoys food blogging and reading on the side.