A Tale of Two Hoagies

Left: profuse polystyrene of a Davanni's veggie hoagie.  Right: nimble wrapper of a veggie banh mi sandwich from My Huong

Left: profuse polystyrene of a Davanni’s veggie hoagie. Right: nimble wrapper of a veggie banh mi sandwich from My Huong

Living just steps away from Davanni’s pizza place in Uptown Minneapolis, my husband and I occasionally pop in for veggie hoagies when we just don’t have it in us to cook.  Correct, I sometimes buy hoagies from Davanni’s, even though I object to their use of polystyrene to go containers–a heartfelt personal stance you can read about at length here.  In a nutshell, polystyrene is arguably the most negligent of all choices for to go containers. It is not recyclable in our area, it is toxic to produce, and biodegrades basically never.

The saving grace for procuring Davanni’s hoagies is the “dine in” option, which results in the sandwich being served unwrapped on a reusable plate,  i.e. no trash.  I like this option, and we bring our own cups for water to avoid their disposable plastic ones.  If I forget cups, I jog home to fetch a pair while the sandwiches are being made.  Then I’m even hungrier when the sandwiches arrives!

Bring your own cups to use again and again.

I intercepted these cups from going into the trash at a party a few years ago, and have re-used them many times.

My motivation for avoiding take out and bringing my own cups is not only that I dislike unnecessary packaging (indubitably true); it is also the knowledge that if I can’t manage to eat pretty close to package-free at a restaurant, that restaurant will sooner or later be crossed off my list.  And I like to keep my list as long as possible.

But one night recently, Brian and I washed up on Davanni’s proverbial shore; plebeians with plastic cups; in search of sustenance.  Brian succinctly ordered “two veggie hoagies on whole wheat for here,” and we took a window seat as “We’re  An American Band,” barreled through the sound system.  I have never been a fan, but after Brian magnanimously defends the song,  I must concede that it does have a sense of humor.  They are probably not dead serious about how they’re going to help us party down.

grand-funk-railroad-were-an-american-band-single-cover

Before long, Brian’s name is called and my heart falls as I glimpse a paper bag on the pick up counter instead of the usual plated sandwiches on a tray.  A voice inside me screams “noooooo!” as we receive confirmation that this is our food.  Two veggie hoagies in two large polystyrene containers; additionally entombed in a large paper bag.  I issue a halfhearted protest that we ordered the food “for here,” but there’s nothing to be done.  The containers have now been used once, and will never be used again.

I don’t want to complain about an employee accidentally getting our order wrong.  The real problem as I see it is that Davanni’s upper management chooses these derelict containers as part of their business model.  To them I say:  check into other packaging options; there are even some cheaper ones.

Likewise, I’ll be exploring other options of places where I can buy a quick meal in my neighborhood, polystyrene-free.  Future hoagie cravings will be diverted a few steps farther down the lane to Pizza Lucé, where the to go hoagies (including a wide array of tasty vegetarian options) are wrapped in recyclable aluminum foil.  Or I can save a few bucks by pedaling over to 27th & Nicollet for a Tofu Banh Mi at my favorite new sandwich joint My Huong.

Delish Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich at My Huong, only $4 and some change

Delish Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich at My Huong, only $4 and some change

Fear not, your sandwich will come wrapped in simple paper wrapper, taste great with or without the special mayo, and if you ask for “no bag,” the agreeable owner Tracy will be happy to oblige.

Tracy and Vanessa transacting Banh Mis

Tracy and Vanessa transacting Banh Mis

Tracy likes to bring out refreshing and exotic beverage samples in dixie cups.  Last time it was a basil seed drink.  I wonder if she’d let me bring my own cup?

Basil seed drink, I think it has health properties?

Basil seed drink, I think it has health properties?

With Pizza Lucé and My Huong at hand, I’m feeling upbeat about my decision to renounce Davanni’s hoagies until they re-think their polystyrene clamshells.  It’s time for a change.

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5 responses to “A Tale of Two Hoagies

  1. I think you should be more concerned about eating GMO flour bread and factory farm vegetables than the containers.

    • 🙂 Certainly a good point, some would expect this blog would be about nutrition but this particular blog is not. In my household, focusing on packaging has been a large part of what has lead me to eat a whole foods vegan diet, because I grocery shop almost exclusively out of bulk bins at my co-op. I stray from that when I’m “at large” to some degree. Davanni’s is not a shining nutritional moment–but to me the two things are equi-important. Putting garbage into the world and putting garbage into my body are pretty much the same thing. This particular blog is about how big a difference people can make by considering how their food is packaged.

  2. I love the L’il Gracie pizza from Pizza Luce! I’m eating a piece right now, as a matter of fact 🙂

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