INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Behind the crimson door of one of downtown’s most unique and oldest storefronts is Subito. The quaint business located at 44 Virginia Avenue is one of downtown’s favorite lunch spots, specializing in from-scratch soup, sandwiches and more.
The word “subito” is Italian for “rapid” or “right away.” So it’s only fitting that you won’t see any tables inside. However, although lunches here are grab and go, the neighborly hospitality is still just as warm as the soups they serve.
Owner Chuck Brezina ran a similar establishment in Seattle for about 3 years until relocating in the Circle City. He knew he wanted to bring a similar concept to Indianapolis, but it took about a year and a half to find the perfect space to make it happen.
Fortunately, his wife worked across the street and let him known when the perfect space became available.
“I just loved the old door and it’s got one of the most unique store fronts in downtown. It’s one of the oldest buildings… I think it’s just over 100 years old,” said Brezina.
Subito has garnered a steady stream of lunchtime loyalists, many of whom he says return multiple times per week while on their lunch breaks.
“We’re geared toward downtown lunch traffic. People with an office, they can go back to and have lunch at their desk. Or on a nice day like this, a picnic lunch on the circle is pretty wonderful,” he said.
The neighborly vibe inside Subito is reminiscent of what you may find at the local corner deli or bodega in a big city like New York or Chicago. It’s the kind of place where customers become friends and friends become family. Here, customers even play a part in determining the menu.
“We ask usually towards the end of the month when I’m writing the calendar, ‘What soups do you want to see?’” Brezina said. “They say a potato soup or chicken pot pie and maybe it’s going to be 90 degrees, but if this is what people want to have for lunch, then I’ll be happy to serve it to them.”
Four Things You Need to Know
- Subito is open Mon-Fri from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- They offer catering within a one-mile radius of their storefront. You can choose from two options: family style or “brown bag it.”
- They post their monthly menu and specials on their website and Facebook.
- Their food is all made fresh using plenty of locally sourced ingredients. They also offer vegetarian and vegan options.
Their monthly menu is always changing and features three to four soups each day. When we visited, the daily selection included the top-selling lobster bisque, chicken tortilla, and Brazilian chicken stew.
“It’s [got] bacon, shredded chicken thigh and smoked kielbasa in a black bean broth with white rice, kale and tomatoes. It’s not a spicy soup, just a little bit smoky and just an excellent soup,” he explained.
Ensuring that vegans and vegetarians always have options, their hearty vegetable soup is offered daily.
“[It has] about 12 to 15 veggies each week and they vary with the season,” he said. “It tastes like a vegetable soup you might have mom make for you.”
They also offer salads, cookies and around seven sandwiches daily using their freshly baked bread. Favorites include the dar poeta (made with turkey breast, sun died tomato garlic aioli and aged cheddar on ciabatta) and the Cuban, which is made using Smoking Goose Ham.
“We marinate our pork for about 24 hours and roast that here in-house. We make our own pickles [and] use local mustard.”
In addition to supporting local businesses by sourcing from places like mustard from Batch No. 2, beer from Sun King Brewing for their beer cheese soup, beans from Hurst Bean Company and locally grown veggies, they also support local causes.
“Monthly we try to donate soup to Wheeler Mission. Last week we had a fundraiser… and we raised over $600 for the Julian Center in the name of High Alpha’s Blue Angels,” Brezina said.
While downtown, check out these other popular lunch spots: