April 8, 2020

Theresa Java/Free Press
Avenue Subs shop owner Nick Cortese offers fresh-cut deli subs, pizza subs, which he's holding, and salads at his mile marker 98.9 location.

Theresa Java/Free Press Avenue Subs shop owner Nick Cortese offers fresh-cut deli subs, pizza subs, which he's holding, and salads at his mile marker 98.9 location.

KEY LARGO — Avenue Subs, a quick grab-and-go sandwich shop, opened the day after the state ordered restaurants to offer food for takeout or delivery only due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That made little difference to owners Nick and Nan Cortese, who had been waiting for three years for the ideal location in place of the original Domino’s Pizza at mile marker 98.9 in the median.

Theresa Java/Free Press 
Avenue Subs recently opened to offer fresh-cut deli subs and salads.

“We opened March 21 as a soft opening. We didn’t want to get ambushed at first since it’s just me and my wife here,” Nick Cortese said. “There are quite a few locals that are helping us get by and as long as the governor allows us to stay open, we’ll stay open. We’re really pleased with the local support we’ve had so far.”

Avenue Subs is predicated on the sub and pizza shop that Cortese’s father opened in upstate New York in 1965.

“We are originally a Buffalo shop. The Avenue has been in Buffalo since 1965,” Cortese said. “My father started the Hertel Avenue location and within the first few years, he had seven locations.”

All deli meats and imported pecorino and Romano cheeses at Cortese’s Avenue Subs are fresh-sliced per order, per sub and the fresh rolls are oven-toasted unless requested otherwise.

“We are currently serving, ham, turkey, tuna, salami, capicola, the Italian combo, meatball and sausage sub. We also have our pizza sub, which comes with sauce and mozzarella, our imported cheeses and pepperoni,” Cortese said.

Pizza pie is coming.

The shop is being retrofitted to accommodate a pizza oven and hood.

“I’m having a whole other kitchen built on the other side of this wall to make the pizzas,” Cortese said.

Avenue Subs’ other offerings are antipasto salad, salad, garlic bread and a soup of the day.

“We got ready and did what we had to do and then this coronavirus thing happened,” Cortese said. “We’re here, we are open. It’s been a long wait and we’re grateful for the support.”

Avenue Subs is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 305-741-7461 or follow them on Facebook under Avenue Subs where a menu is available.

tjava@keysnews.com