10 Meatball Subs You Need to Try Now
From Norman to Guthrie, a simple concept yields sensational results
The formula is pretty simple: meat, cheese, sauce, bread. A meatball sandwich is supposed to be a soft, saucy, savory indulgence, not a salad, so no veggies. Eating it with your hands should be out of the question, too; this is strictly a knife and fork gig, unless you want sauce on your clothes. Meatballs belong in a very small set—nature’s perfect food—with tater tots. They’re the only two members of the set, but as with tater tots in their “loaded” form, meatballs can also help more inferior ingredients, like bread and sauce, achieve maximum flavorfulness. Here are 10 around the 405 you need to try.
- Patrono (305 N Walker, OKC). Chef Jonathan Krell is good at everything, so it’s no surprise that his meatball sandwich is delicious. The toasted garlic bread is an excellent touch, as are the two kinds of cheese (provolone, herbed parmesan), but the meatballs are the star—just as they should be.
- Bad Nonna’s (11 NE 6th, OKC). If you visit it in The Parlor, just look to the right (your right) of the register for the secret menu. You’ll find a meatball sandwich on the board. The build is very traditional, with soft bread, melted cheese, red sauce, parmesan, and the house meatballs.
- Hobby’s Hoagies (325 N Walker, OKC). The downtown sandwich shop is the rare non-chain sandwich joint in the city, and it also serves pizza and spaghetti, meaning there’s red sauce on hand for a meatball sub. It’s provolone and parmesan, and Hobby’s adds grilled onions—so it’s basically healthy, because vegetables.
- Tino’s Italian Eats & Sweets (209 W Main, Norman). Mama’s Meatball sandwich comes in three sizes; no idea why you wouldn’t just buy the largest and eat any leftovers later. Meatball sandwiches heat up well as long as you do the meatballs separately. Tino’s uses mozzarella and house red sauce, so it’s a straightforward, delicious sandwich on which the meatballs do most of the work.
- Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza (2 locations). The sandwich here comes on toasted ciabatta, so the texture is slightly different from a traditional sub build, but different in this case is good. The bread is soft and flavorful with crispy edges, the red sauce has a red wine reduction and fresh basil added, and the meatballs are a delicious blend of beef, lamb, pork, and veal.
- Joey’s Pizzeria (700 W Sheridan, OKC). This is a local place that doesn’t get nearly the love it deserves. The pizza is good, and the stuffed collard greens are a must-have, but the meatballs have always stood out as one of the best things on the menu. The beef and pork blend with house red sauce would be perfect even without the parmesan and provolone.
- Hideaway Pizza (8 locations). If you can stop yourself from ordering fried mushrooms and the Big Country, you might have room for its meatball sandwich. Calories are listed online, so eat before you look, and enjoy the house marinara and melty cheese without shame.
- Pizzeria Gusto (2415 N Walker, OKC). Finally, peppers on the sandwich. Gusto’s sandwiches are perennially underrated, and the patio is the best place to have the meatball while the weather is still al fresco friendly. Chef Kathryn Mathis is one of the city’s sandwich geniuses, and it shows on this delicious sub with roasted peppers and onions, house marinara, provolone, and mozzarella.
- The Wedge (2 locations). House-made meatballs with fresh mozzarella is the key here. The sandwich is rustic and hearty, with house marinara. The restaurant distinguished itself by taking vegetarians and vegans seriously, but it still treats the omnivores well, too.
- Roma’s Italian (112 W Noble, Guthrie). This family operation is Guthrie’s favorite nod to Italian cuisine, and the meatball parmiagiano sub is a good introduction to the hearty style here. It’s a simple build with house marinara, mozzarella, and the house meatballs, but it’s delicious and satisfying.