CARMINE’S CLAIMS GROUND ON SUB FRONT

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Sandy Marino, left, co-owner of Carmine’s Sub Shop, with two of her employees. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508Carmine Marino, a hoagie hound who had worked at an insurance agency in Red Bank for the last five years, had himself a lunchtime dilemma.

“I love subs, and within the town, trying to find what I love, I found myself traveling outside,” he said.

Normally that’s a pretty serviceable solution. Not for Marino.

With a vacancy on White Street left by K.C.’s Closet, Marino, of Lincroft, saw an opportunity to fill his victual void. Thus, there’s now Carmine’s Sub Shop, planted between Cigars Plus and Toymasters.

carmines1The shop takes over a space that was home to a women’s clothing boutique and, before that, a diaper store.

It also means that with the new downtown eatery, which opened last month, there’s a little more competition downtown on the sub front.

Just a block away over, on Monmouth, is Elsie’s Subs. Marino said he isn’t trying to wage a war by opening up so close, but just to offer something different.

He points to his menu, filled with 20 of Marino’s own creations — items like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Garden State — as a selling point.

“We wanted to keep it simple,” he said. “If you try to get into 100 different offerings, you start to lose quality.”

A first generation Italian-American, Marino said he places a premium on quality. He’s using Boar’s Head for meat, is buying fresh bread daily and for certain condiments, like roasted peppers and oils, is importing from Italy.

“It’s all top-shelf,” he said.

The results? So far, so good, says Marino’s wife and co-owner, Sandy.

Folks have been coming in and checking out what the shop has to offer, and the reviews are “great,” she said.

“They keep coming back,” she said.

Marino is making it easy for people to come check it out, too. Online ordering is available, and between 11:30a and 2:30p during the week, Carmine’s delivers.

The shop’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 9a to 7p, Monday through Saturday, and 9a to 5p on Sundays.