Score one for Vienna. This month the town will get gourmet sandwiches, plus a butcher and a coffee shop, from three of its residents: Michael Amouri of Caffe Amouri and the husband and wife team of chef Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez of Tim Ma Restaurant Group (formerly of Maple Ave Restaurant).
Chase the Submarine, with seating for 30 guests, will go into 132 Church St. NW. Here are five things you need to know:
1. The subs span the globe
The sandwich menu is split into classics submarines and “Chase” submarines, several of which are throwbacks to when Ma and Hernandez operated MAX, a now-retired food truck. While some star Asian ingredients like kimchi, there is also a nod to Amouri’s heritage, as the George + Georgette is named for his Lebanese parents. They’ll be priced around $8 each. The following is a sample menu:
Wagyu Pastrami – House-smoked wagyu brisket, whole grain mustard creme fraiche, carrot sauerkraut, pickled shallots
Virginia Milano – Virginia ham, Olli Berkshire prosciutto, provolone
Steak & Cheese – Thinly sliced rib-eye, peppers and onions, American cheese
Pork + Pickles – Pineapple-braised Polyface pork shoulder, Dijon mustard, rambutan, Gruyere cheese, dill pickled apples
Smoked Free-Range Turkey – Bacon, mash potato, ground cherry relish
Belly Banh Mi – Foie gras pate, pork belly, daikon, cilantro, jalapeno
The Offal – Veal sweetbreads, bread and butter relish, gochujang
Sweet Beef Cheeks – Beer -braised beef cheek, tamarind sauce, baby Asian greens
George + Georgette – Ground lamb, burnt onion, Amouri yogurt
Bulgogi Submarine – Asian pear-marinated rib-eye, kimchi puree, roasted scallion
Vegetarian Curry – Roasted butternut squash, roasted eggplant, fingerling potato, curry
2. What you’re bringing home
Chase the Submarine is at its core a sandwich shop, but there will also be butchery and pantry components. “We have this large butcher counter, and we want to put on display what we’re doing rather than it being done behind closed doors,” Ma says. They’ll sell custom cuts of meat requested by customers, plus some in-house charcuterie. There’s more. Expect to peruse assorted pickles and ferments by the pint, sauces and house-spun ice cream in flavors such as chrysanthemum tea. Sip on Caffe Amouri coffee, soft drinks, beer and wine.
3. What’s with the name?
Ma, very much a family man, named the sandwich shop after his son Chase Ma. “He’s 3 years old right now and has no idea that he has a restaurant named after him, but I’m sure one day he’ll want royalties,” Ma explains.
4. They’re sourcing from Polyface Farms
Ma and Amouri will source as much as possible from Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley near Staunton. Joel Salatin’s sustainable agriculture practices have made his products the gold standard among local farm-to-table chefs and restaurants, especially after Salatin’s role in the documentary “Food, Inc.” “He [Ma] has access to some of the premier suppliers that even other chefs don’t have access to,” Amouri says of his business partner. “It speaks to what’s in the sandwich.” Ma takes his staff to the farm every two years.
5. You’ll help shape the menu
While Ma and Amouri anticipate coming hot out of the gate serving offal-stuffed subs, they’ll ultimately listen to feedback from customers and fine tune the menu from there. “We’re in the suburbs of Virginia in a quaint town that knows what it likes,” Ma says. “We’ll start with my deals, then we’ll let the neighborhood dictate change—you have to be adaptable.” So don’t be afraid to speak up.
Chase the Submarine expects to open mid-October. “I’m pretty tapped into the community, and there’s nothing like it in this town,” Amouri says. “I get people into my shop, literally five people a day, that ask about it. They want to be the first customers to walk through the door—there’s definitely a buzz.”
Laura Hayes hails from Philly (but don’t hold it against her). She’s been covering the local dining scene for three years, and her work has been published in the Washington Post, Food Network, Washington City Paper, Arlington Magazine and more. Having lived in Japan for two years, she finds herself in a constant state of craving sushi. Laura always orders her favorite savory dish again for dessert and keeps her gut in check through lots of CrossFit classes.