Three Rivers’ Sierra Subs among the best places to eat in U.S.

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Sierra Subs and Salads in Three Rivers makes Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat for 2018
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
THREE RIVERS – When Dane and Allison Millner bought Sierra Subs and Salads nine years ago it was your basic roadside sandwich shop. But as of last month, the unique picnic-style café with international flavor is one of the best eateries in United States. On Feb. 28, Yelp.com, the most popular way customers read and write reviews on restaurants, informed the Millners that their business was named to Yelp’s 5th annual Top 100 Places to Eat for 2018.
According to Yelp, their researchers “compared businesses from across the country, using a ranking that considered ratings and number of reviews, while also accounting for quality and popularity, to not only reveal what’s top rated but what’s most popular across the country.”
Sierra Subs and Salads has nearly 300 reviews and a five-star rating from locals as well as travels from around the world. Part of the restaurants popularity can be attributed to being in the picturesque town of Three Rivers and the gateway to Sequoia National Park, but much of the appeal of Sierra Subs and Salads is the international flavor and flair stuffed into its sandwiches, rolled into their wraps and topped on its salads. Allison said all of their sauces, dressings and dips are made from scratch, they have an extensive menu of vegetarian options and even offer gluten free bread.
“It’s not physically demanding job and it is very satisfying,” Allison said. “We love making different kinds of food and sharing the deliciousness with everyone.”
But what keeps locals and visitors coming back are the weekly specials. This week’s specials included the Tres Rios Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with pulled pork, home pickled daikon, slaw, fresh jalapeño, cilantro and garlic-sriracha mayo on a toasted specialty french roll. There’s also vegetarian version with seasoned jackfruit.
In order to keep the menu offerings fresh, the Millners take a three-week vacation in December or January to visit a country or part of the world. Allison said after a trip to New Orleans, the couple came up with the idea for one of their most popular creations the Muffuletta sandwich, which includes black forest ham, genoa salami, olive tapenade, provolone cheese, tomato, red onion and lettuce on a toasted bakery roll. It’s one of 16 subs and paninis offered by the café.
Other vacation inspired weekly specials include: The Peking Pin, homemade garlic duck meatballs, peking sauce, pickled carrots, shredded napa cabbage and green onions on a toasted french bakery roll; Le Cochon, applewood smoked ham, papaya-habanero mustard, grilled onions, sliced granny smith apple, gruyere cheese and arugula all grilled on a french baguette; and The Acropolis, grilled chicken, kalamata olive tapenade, feta cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and tatziki sauce on pita bread. All of their past and present specials can be found on their web site sierrasubsandsalads.com.
“Some people come every day, some once a week and a lot of people from the Valley floor come up every weekend,” Allison said. “We love our locals and our new customers.”
But not every special gets a spot in the rotation. While visiting Hong Kong, Allison and Dane encountered a noodle house with a line around the building. When they finally got to order, Allison said they were these incredible home made noodles with bamboo shoots. Upon returning to work, the couple quickly got to work to try and replicate the flavor but once they did, they knew that the recipe took too long to prep to be part of their menu.
Allison said making new specials is a delicate balance of the couple’s creativity and cash register. She said the cost of specialty ingredients, the time it takes to prep for a dish and the amount of wait time on special orders all feed into their decision on which dishes may return to the menu and which may never be made again.
“We are very conscience of budget,” Allison said. “We are counting pennies and making sure that what we are doing is working. But we are willing to try most things at least once.”
The restaurant, located at 41717 Sierra Dr. in Three Rivers, is also known for its location. Just a few minutes from the entrance to Sequoia National Park, Sierra Subs and Salads offers a great outdoor picnic area with the sounds of the Kaweah River and the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. “We enjoy living and working in Three Rivers,” Allison said. “It’s a pretty satisfying place to be.”
For more information, call the shop at 559-561-4810.