'A Food Revolution': The Gorgers Subs Story
Barton Diamond, owner of Gorgers Sub Shops in Ithaca and Cortland, first developed his passion for cooking in high school.
"I would cook for friends before sports practices and make basic stuff—grilled chicken, nachos," Diamond says. "When I went to college, money was tight, so I'd find ways to jazz up ramen noodles and spam fried rice. I'd take cheap ingredients and make them gourmet."
A native of Greene, N.Y., Diamond received his associate's degree from Broome County Community College before attending Hawaii Pacific University, where he received his bachelor's degree in business. After cooking at a local café for about a year, Diamond decided to move back to central New York to open a restaurant of his own in Ithaca alongside his brother, Matt Diamond.
"We looked at Ithaca and saw that there wasn't anyone doing hot sandwiches at the time," he recalls. "We found a location that was just off the Commons and got to work there. We had a concept of doing fast-casual cuisine but making everything in-house—sort of like a revolution on food."
The restaurant opened in 2012 and, after a successful five-year run, Diamond decided he wanted to expand to another market. After driving through Cortland one day while on his way to Syracuse, Diamond felt he found his next location.
"I really liked Main Street, and how close the college was to downtown," he says. "I found an amazing space and I really liked the landlord, so I kind of jumped at the opportunity and started building out."
While the food is high quality, the atmosphere is relaxed. Customers are able to chat with employees behind the counter while rock music plays in the background.
"We want everyone that comes in to feel comfortable here," Diamond says.
Starting in March, Gorgers will be offering weekly dinner specials: Mondays will feature variations of Mac N' Cheese; Tuesdays will feature a taco-inspired menu; and Wednesdays will offer different variations of burgers.
Diamond also plans to start offering cold subs.
"We know that everyone kind of feels a void where King's Subs left, so we're going to be offering cold turkey and roast beef sandwiches in the near future.
"We also have plans in the works for a late night menu in April," Diamond added. "Stay tuned."
Popular Menu Items
One of Gorgers' most popular items—and Diamond's personal favorite—is the Shrimp Po' boy, a sandwich that comes with deep-fried shrimp seasoned with Old Bay, toped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and mayo.
Another popular item is the Mushroom and Swiss sub, a steak sandwich topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, mayo, and Swiss cheese.
All of Diamond's soups are homemade, and you can't go wrong with the New England Clam Chowder or the Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Perhaps the most unique menu item is the fried pickles, which are brined in-house and served with a homemade zesty ranch dressing.
About Gorgers Subs
Category: Fast-casual, hot subs
Location: 101 Main St., Cortland, N.Y.
Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Phone Number: (607) 344-3229