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Photograph: Andy Parsons
Photograph: Andy Parsons

How Dom's Subs became London's king of sandwiches

The rise and rise of its Instagram-famous semolina buns

Written by
Kate Lloyd

How the hell does a new London sandwich delivery company end up doing a collab with big streetwear brand Carhartt? Top-tier fashion connects? A load of money? No, not really. ‘They were just getting sandwiches here quite a lot,’ says Dom Sherington, co-founder of Dom’s Subs on Hackney Road.

When Dom put Dom’s Subs on Instagram in the first lockdown, he wasn’t expecting how quickly things would blow up. Sure, Lanark – the café he ran on Hackney Road with co-founders Matt Scott and Greg Boyce – had a neighbourhood fanbase. Sure, their sarnie pop-ups at Visions in Dalston and Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch had been pretty popular. But nearly 1,000 followers overnight? ‘Bizarre,’ he says. ‘I think we’re very lucky to have opened when no one had anything to do. We had a crazy captive market.’

Dom’s output speedily gained a rep for being some of the best in London: Italian-American-style rolls packed so full of fillings they could put you in a food coma for a solid weekend. Soon, anytime you walked down Hackney Road you’d find people waiting for subs. Meanwhile, Instagram filled up with pictures of cross-sections of the sandwiches, like the Cold Cuts: bresaola, gabagool, salami and mortadella in a semolina roll. Now the team make up to around 300 subs a day.

‘We started it on a whim,’ says Dom. ‘Our way of doing it is just thinking of a sandwich, putting it on the menu and then hoping for the best. We’ve been very lucky.’ It hasn’t all been plain sailing, though. ‘There have been moments when things taper off a bit and you think: Oh no, is this just a flash in the pan?’ says Dom. ‘You just have to come up with new ideas.’

Right now those ideas include launching a bakery to meet the brand’s bread demands. The trio have opened a second café in the City. And, of course, there’s that Carhartt T-shirt drop. ‘

The guy who organised it is called Fabio,’ says Dom. ‘And around the time that he contacted us, we had a special on called The Fabio. I don’t know whether that influenced him, ha!’ Dom’s Subs, 262 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ.

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