A few years after Beirut native Robbie Hammana moved to the U.S. to escape the war-torn region, his family opened the midtown favorite Joe’s Pizza & Subs—named after Robbie’s dad—in 1986. Following Joe’s 2013 passing, Robbie planned to open a sandwich shop one day and grow the family business. Now in its fourth year, Robbie’s Sandwiches has become a Capitola staple, serving various Middle Eastern, Greek and Italian food in a comfortable setting that’s fast and friendly.
Popular hot sandwiches include the pastrami and Philly cheesesteak; falafel and gyros highlight the Middle Eastern offerings. The burgers—half-pound patties—are also a hit. Other hits include the Greek salad (with cucumber, tomato, olive and feta) and homemade soups, with lentil and New England clam chowder at the top of the list. Robbie’s is open daily 10am-6pm for dine-in and take-out.
Hammana recently spoke to GT about his family’s success and why his place is Capitola’s best sandwich shop.
How would you describe your family’s history in local food service?
ROBBIE HAMMANA: A lot of people know us as Joe’s Pizza & Subs, but it’s also Robbie’s Sandwiches now too. The local support has always carried us, and our family has always been grateful for such a great community backing. It’s never easy holding a small business, especially these days, but we are carrying our family legacy on, and it’s a pleasure to honor my dad’s memory with my own sandwich shop and using our family’s recipes.
What’s been key to your success?
We are family-owned, and we have been doing this since 1986, so we’re good at what we do, and we have a really good local following. I also like to keep our prices competitive and offer good $10 sandwiches, which aren’t very common anymore. And a lot of the recipes are classic and very traditional, from our Middle Eastern offerings to our Italian food, and people even say our cheesesteak is as good as the ones in Philly.
3555 Clares St., Ste. TT, Capitola, 831-515-7411; robbies-sandwiches.business.site.