Murray rallies around eatery impacted by COVIDApr 22, 2021 09:38AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
East Coast Subs resorted to car hop service after COVID made in-person dining impractical. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Over time, the little East Coast Subs (6056 S. State St.) sandwich shop in Murray has weathered much during its 30 years. In 2012, it lost its building, forcing it to move, but its devoted band of customers followed it down State Street. In 2020, COVID tried to sink the sub shop, not only by forcing it to close its dining room but by plaguing the owner, Ray, with the virus. Fans rallied to save their beloved sandwiches.
Opened in 1991 by the husband-and-wife team of Ray and Carla Quintana, people doubted their business would last long.
“A lot of people told us it would never succeed, as Murray just would not support a little ma-and-pa sandwich shop and also said the location was not a prime spot,” Carla Quintana said. “At the time, we had one son, Landon, who was 2 years old. We worked hard and spent endless hours building the little business. We devoted all of our time and energy to our shop. In August of 1993, we had our second son, Corbyn. Both of our sons were raised at the shop. Our customers know them by name and watched them grow into the hard-working young men they are today. They are the backbone of the sandwich shop.”
The shop’s first location was across from Murray City Hall. The little shop gained a loyal following of city employees, and it was not uncommon to see the police chief or the mayor holding an impromptu meeting at a table inside the shop.
“We have not changed the menu by much over the years. We have tried wheat bread and lettuce wraps for a bit. Our customers seem to be purists who like traditional East Coast-style hoagies,” Quintana said.
Loyal customer Jack Godwin added, “The pepper steak is the best. Lots of meat. They actually make them however you want. And the onion rings are the best.”
East Coast Subs has been family owned and operated from day one. Ray runs the day-to-day operations, Landon manages the kitchen, Corbyn handles the front end/customer service, and Carla does all of the paperwork, payroll and employee relations.
“The hard things about running a food business have to be the constant attention to details and the long hours. You will never go into our shop and not find at least two of the four of us there. It is the little things that mean the most—knowing our customers and their family. When you work 60 plus hours a week at your business for 30 years, you build relationships with your customers. We enjoy our guests; that is one of the rewards of gaining family through our guests. We have a few families that have four generations that visit us and several with three generations.”
When Intermountain Health Care bought their building in 2012, they were told that they needed to move by 2016. Many city employees, including then-Mayor Ted Eyre, helped find them a new location farther south. Without the need to shut down for even one day, the restaurant moved to their current digs.
COVID managed to do what a move couldn’t, and that was shut them down—temporarily. After six weeks of being shuttered, the restaurant had to get creative as its small dining room could not accommodate much social distancing. They innovated a carhop service to keep the restaurant alive.
“It can be difficult to help 10 to 15 cars all at the same time. Most guests see us running and understand how hard we are working to provide fast service. Our landlord let us number parking spots and use signage marking curbside service,” Quintana said.
COVID would try to give East Coast Subs one more punch, as Ray contracted the virus and spent 21 days in the hospital.
Landon Quintana said, “The shop looks the same, smells the same, and the food tastes the same, but it is just not the same without my Dad here.”
Ray survived his bout with the coronavirus and is now home, still on oxygen, and home health care has released him to his primary care physician for long-term follow-up care. He is getting stronger and, according to Carla, looking much better.
“Our friends Debbie Jakeman and family set up a GoFundMe page to help raise enough money to offset some of our medical expenses and lost revenue from the COVID closures,” Quintana said. “Murray, our guests, family, and friends just blew right past the original goal of $5,000. Ray was still in the hospital during this time, and my sons and I did not dare tell him about the fundraiser. He is a very private, proud man, and we thought he might be upset. When we got him home and showed him the outpouring of support, he was humbled and more than grateful. We are not sure how we can thank everyone involved, but we certainly are going to try.”