By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
A family tradition of serving food continues in Meridian and is expanding with the latest Subway restaurant due to open this week.
Nick Lisi will open up the new restaurant on 22nd Avenue in downtown Meridian on Wednesday at 7 a.m., offering another choice for downtown diners.
"We've been rolling with the idea of opening downtown for several years," Lisi said. "It just seems that these past couple of years we've had a lot more going on down here."
This will be the Lisi family's ninth Subway store. Lisi and his brother Al also own Nick & Al's New York Style Pizzaria on Mississippi 19 in Meridian. Their father, Gus Lisi, opened the first Subway restaurant in the south 37 years ago. That restaurant was on Eighth Street, but later moved to 19. The first Subway restaurant opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
"My dad is the oldest standing franchisee in the world with Subway. He's been with them longer than any franchisee in the world," Lisi said. "This store number is 56,660. Our original store number is 103."
Lisi grew up in the business and although his father cautioned him that there are more profitable ways to make a living, he decided to go into the family business.
"I love the people. I love the food business end of it. I love Subway because it's a simple business," he said. "I love the personal attention that you give to your customers."
He's not so fond of paper work, he said, but he enjoys interacting with customers.
"When it comes time for lunch — to just get up there and serve customers and talk to customers — it's stress relief at that point," Lisi said. "That's the fun part."
There will be six to seven full time employees and about five part time employees in the store. Training has been under way for about three months with employees training at other Subway stores.
"That's another advantage of having a few stores," Lisi said. "You don't have to walk in here when you open the doors the first day and you're the only person who knows how to make a sandwich."
His dad started him in the family business at an early age.
"The first day I ever had a Subway uniform was at six. I used to cheese the bread," Lisi said. "Back in those days you didn't have all the different options you have now. It was just cheese or no cheese. My dad always used to laugh at me and he said he didn't know how it was that I wasn't a real fat kid because he would watch me. He said I would put a piece of cheese on and I'd eat a piece of cheese; I'd put a piece of cheese on and eat a piece."
Lisi laughed, recalling those days. He hopes the restaurant's reasonable prices and healthy choices will draw lunch and weekend crowds in from downtown Meridian.
"Subway is something that you can eat every day," he said.
The restaurant will be open Sundays, 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Fridays from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m.; and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m.