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Fifty years of Poma’s in Ocean Beach

Longstanding family business nails the meatball sub

Fifty years at the same location.
Fifty years at the same location.

I wrote about a tasty meatball sub I ate a few weeks back, and I got the same response from a number of friends: how does it compare to Poma’s?

Place

Poma's

1846 Bacon Street, San Diego

Poma’s Deli in OB has been the standard bearer for meatball subs in San Diego for years. In fact, 2015 makes it a full 50 years it’s been in business — pretty remarkable for a family restaurant that sticks primarily to sandwiches, pizza, and a few pasta dishes. I hadn’t delighted in a Poma’s meal for some time, so I took the opportunity to revisit, mostly to confirm what I’ve known for ten years: that meatball sub is delicious.

There’s nothing special about how it looks, but you know you want it.

Like Strozzi — where I had my latest meatball — Poma’s works off old family recipes. In this case those of Pauline Poma, who started the place with her son Leonard, who later brought on his son Nick, who runs Poma’s today. For 7 dollars you get a brightly colored tomato-rich marinara slathered over moist, finely textured meatballs, served on a pleasantly chewy, freshly baked and toasted roll. And if you order right, a lot of thick, gooey mozzarella all over that for an added 50 cents. They toss in a few pepperoncinis just because they’re nice.

The Strozzi sub puts the emphasis on the meatball, with cheese, bread, and sauce dialed back a bit, and the meatballs themselves are gigantic. Poma’s sub includes all the necessary components in roughly equal measure. It’s simple. I might even call it elegant if it weren’t messy as hell. It definitely lives up to its reputation as an OB classic. Both sandwiches get a hearty thumbs up, different as they are, but I’d say the brightness of the Poma’s sauce gives it the edge. It’s the one I think about first when someone mentions the sandwich within listening distance of my belly.

You can’t fake longevity, and you can’t buy it with trending interior design or savvy social media. Poma’s going a half century proves out its quality better than the satisfied appetite of any food writer. Not bad for a cash only corner joint in a quirky countercultural beach neighborhood.

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Fifty years at the same location.
Fifty years at the same location.

I wrote about a tasty meatball sub I ate a few weeks back, and I got the same response from a number of friends: how does it compare to Poma’s?

Place

Poma's

1846 Bacon Street, San Diego

Poma’s Deli in OB has been the standard bearer for meatball subs in San Diego for years. In fact, 2015 makes it a full 50 years it’s been in business — pretty remarkable for a family restaurant that sticks primarily to sandwiches, pizza, and a few pasta dishes. I hadn’t delighted in a Poma’s meal for some time, so I took the opportunity to revisit, mostly to confirm what I’ve known for ten years: that meatball sub is delicious.

There’s nothing special about how it looks, but you know you want it.

Like Strozzi — where I had my latest meatball — Poma’s works off old family recipes. In this case those of Pauline Poma, who started the place with her son Leonard, who later brought on his son Nick, who runs Poma’s today. For 7 dollars you get a brightly colored tomato-rich marinara slathered over moist, finely textured meatballs, served on a pleasantly chewy, freshly baked and toasted roll. And if you order right, a lot of thick, gooey mozzarella all over that for an added 50 cents. They toss in a few pepperoncinis just because they’re nice.

The Strozzi sub puts the emphasis on the meatball, with cheese, bread, and sauce dialed back a bit, and the meatballs themselves are gigantic. Poma’s sub includes all the necessary components in roughly equal measure. It’s simple. I might even call it elegant if it weren’t messy as hell. It definitely lives up to its reputation as an OB classic. Both sandwiches get a hearty thumbs up, different as they are, but I’d say the brightness of the Poma’s sauce gives it the edge. It’s the one I think about first when someone mentions the sandwich within listening distance of my belly.

You can’t fake longevity, and you can’t buy it with trending interior design or savvy social media. Poma’s going a half century proves out its quality better than the satisfied appetite of any food writer. Not bad for a cash only corner joint in a quirky countercultural beach neighborhood.

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Comments
3

I used to live right up the street from Poma's. Nice people. Good food. Pizza was outstanding. My experience has taught me that family owned Italian bistros are the best in terms of quality. Franchise pizza parlors like Dominos and Pizza Hut don't cut it with me. However, Filippis is the exception. They still in business?

April 20, 2015

Don't think Filippi's is franchised. I'm pretty sure they are still family owned.

April 21, 2015

Yea. Fillippis is still kicking.

April 20, 2015

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