Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Fine Dining in a Sandwich at Sierra Subs

Feb 26, 2016 11:47AM ● By Ronda Alvey

Earl of Sandwich

March 2016
By Jordan Venema
Photo by Rosa Mills

In all likelihood, the sandwich, or any variant of a bit of cold meat pressed between bread, predates its 18th century namesake, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. Even if we’re only counting the years since John popularized the handy repast, the mobile meal has had more than two centuries to redefine itself, and yet the sandwich is about the same today as it was then. A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich, right?

Well, married couple Allison and Dane Millner might have some thoughts on the subject, as well might their faithful customers. In 2009, the couple relocated from San Diego to Three Rivers, where Allison grew up, and purchased the existing Sierra Subs and Salads off Sierra Drive. But to call it just a sandwich shop really misses the mark. “Our motto,” clarifies Allison, “is fine dining in a sandwich.” 

One might wonder if a sandwich legitimately can push culinary boundaries, especially when those boundaries are a couple slices of bread. Like most things in life, the devil is in the details. But when considering the type of sandwiches the Millners enjoy dishing out, it might be nearer the truth to say something like “the deviled egg is the detail.” That’s because the Millners specialize in creating unique and surprising sandwiches, like transforming the common egg salad sandwich into a deviled egg salad sandwich (which isn’t yet on their menu, but it should be).

The ol’ Earl of Sandwich may have been an aristocrat, but even he would think Sierra Sub’s specials fit for a king: like the chipotle cream cheese bacon cheddar, or Vietnamese duck, or maybe throw in some wild boar, or watermelon and pork, and of course jerk goat. That’s right. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill choose-your-own meat and cheese sub sandwich.

“We want to push people’s boundaries,” Allison says, though at the end of the day, “we just want people to enjoy food and be happy.”

With prices hovering around $6.99 a sandwich, they’re nailing the happy part, and by circulating intriguing weekly specials, with names like “the mere mortal” and “the vegetarian goddess,” they’re also continually pushing boundaries. By keeping their food fresh and homemade, the taste naturally follows.

Dane guesses about 95 percent of everything they make is homemade. “There isn’t much we purchase,” Allison says, though Dane interjects, laughing, “other than the mayonnaise.” 

They make their own sauces and soups (they serve three out of 85 rotating recipes, though they believe the persimmon chipotle is their most unique), and have more than 18 options for vegetarians. And if subs aren’t your thing, they serve burgers, quesadillas and take-and-bake pizzas. On a summer day, you’ll probably want to eat “in.” The shop has six indoor picnic tables, with six more outside under a large mulberry tree, overlooking the river.

Plus, you can always expect friendly, local service. “One of us is almost always there, and that’s huge, because our customers coming in, they want to be recognized,” says Dane. “That’s important to us.”

Whether it’s a classic ham and cheese or something a little more intriguing that you’re craving, the Millners can put it together. Sierra Subs has something for everybody, and nothing that John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, wouldn’t be proud to attach his name to.

Sierra Subs and Salads 

 41717 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers • (559) 561-4810 •

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30am-6pm; Sunday, 10:30am-5pm; closed Monday

Find them on Facebook