As anyone who has ever worked in a faceless, nameless office park knows, the local sandwich stop is worth its weight in smoke breaks.
Buried inside a suite in the back corner of an industrial area, these catchall places with weird weekday hours usually also serve as part 7-11, part donut shop, a testament to the isolation of the operation. But remove the candy bars and diner coffee and the sandwiches are rarely good enough to carry the business on their own.
Not Signal Hill's Sub King, though.
Maybe because it's in an actual strip mall off Signal Hill's main drag or maybe because it strives to live up to its sandwich-touting name, but Sub King is the office-park sandwich shack with appeal that goes beyond the cubicle dwellers toiling nearby.
More than 35 sandwiches await consumption at the small counter-service establishment, ranging from healthy (turkey and cheese) to heavy (the "Super Reuben" adds pastrami), all made through the language barrier by a friendly Korean couple.
Most people find what they love here and stick with it, but thankfully for the variety-seekers trapped in offices nearby, Sub King is also the kind of place where you can switch it up. Get a BLT one day or a French Dip the next and leave full and satisfied every time.
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Feeling adventurous and lured by the daily $6.99 special last time I went in, I ordered the tuna and avocado on squaw, a sliced-bread affront to the local bread nazis who swear by their "homebake" stuff--long rolls of various persuasions made on site every day that sit behind the counter in plastic wrap.
But the squaw just felt right for a 'wich overstuffed with Sub King's house tuna, itself a masterpiece mixture of relish and onions with mayo moderation that won't make you gag. And I'm glad I stuck with the suggested carb offerings--the dark bread created a perfect foundation for the texture adventure of soft tuna with crunchy lettuce and fatty avocado.
With a Subway across the street and a Togos down the block, it's not like the area is lacking in options for a cheap sandwich. As long as you are craving some meat-and-bread during the wonky hours of Sub King, though, it's best to stick with the office workers on this one and do a classic sub at Signal Hill's finest.
Sub King, 2201 E. Willow St., Ste. E, Signal Hill, (562) 427-8818