by Eva Potter

Dan “Kuk” Kukulka and Jason Woodarek happened to meet at a mutual event a few years ago. The two had a lot in common with Woodarek owning AJ’s on West State Street in Olean and Kuk owning Hoagies in Ellicottville. Naturally, the two hit it off and “talked a lot of shop” that night, so when Kuk called a few months ago to tell Woodarek he was retiring, Woodarek knew an interesting opportunity had just come knocking on his door.

A fixture in Ellicottville, Hoagies has been serving pizza and subs from its Monroe Street location over 26 years and Woodarek knew he could continue the tradition while infusing it with his own personal touch. Woodarek, along with his wife Lisa, decided to go for it and bought the restaurant in April 2013.

Woodarek said, “Hoagies’ menu is very similar to AJs with pizza, subs, wings and salads. We use the same style roll for subs and our pizza is also made with fresh dough.”

When you stop in and check out the menu, you’ll notice some delicious additions to the menu like pitas, calzones and gourmet salads like the Strawberry Field and Paradise.

“We are also adding several new steak subs and chicken subs, and we’ve have upgraded the meats with custom-cut steak, which we grill to perfection for each order,” said Woodarek. “At AJs, we’re known for our steak subs and we hope to bring that same great flavor and consistency to Hoagies.”

Customers will be happy to know that the chicken wing subs are still made in Kuk’s style.

“Our turkey subs feature premium Butterball meat,” said Woodarek. To add some heat to your sub, he recommends adding their “new, extra-hot crushed pepper relish that is truly one of a kind.”

Sides include fries and onion rings, as well as fresh nachos. If you have a sweet tooth, round out your meal with a variety of cookies. For chocoholics, Hoagies is hoping to add brownies to the menu soon.

Next time you’re strolling down Monroe Street, step inside and say “hello.” You’ll be greeted by friendly staff and an updated interior including warm, earth-toned walls and a TV in the dining room. Hoagies even has sidewalk seating for al fresco summertime dining.

Woodarek said the restaurant caters to families of all sizes and welcomes customers to the laid-back atmosphere complete with free Wi-Fi.

Can’t make it there but have an insatiable craving for a sub with the “werks,” then you’re in luck. Hoagies offers free delivery during lunch and dinner hours.

To accommodate demand, Woodarek said, “During ski season we will most likely expand the delivery hours.”

Hoagies is still recruiting drivers, cooks and front counter help as they prepare for the summer festivals and upcoming ski season. During peak ski season, Woodarek said he hopes to have around 10 employees.

Currently the day-to-day operations are headed by the mother-son team of Suzette Pietras and Brandon Munson. Pietras handles weekday lunches, while Munson covers nights and weekends.

Woodarek said, “Both have several years’ experience in the food industry and have been very instrumental in getting the new Hoagies up and running. They pride themselves on making the customers happy with great tasting food and awesome customer service.”

Don’t know what to try first? When asked for his menu recommendation, Woodarek enthusiastically responded, “Try the Meat Lovers Calzone with the extra-hot crushed red peppers on it or the steak and sausage sub.” And don’t forget to check out the weekday specials.

Restaurant hours are Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. For phone-in orders, call (716) 699-4696.  Check out the new menu at www.hoagiesubs.com.