New restaurant headed for Five Points

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Sub Station II, a regional chain of sandwich shops which began in Sumter in the 1970s and spread throughout the Southeast, is opening a store in Five Points.

The new restaurant will go into the former Jimmy John’s location at 2015 Devine St. in the urban village near the University of South Carolina.

Owner Mitch Corbett said he hopes to open the store the week after Thanksgiving.

“We still have to do a little painting and whatnot,” he said.

The sub swap is the latest shakeup in the Five Points restaurant scene.

Delaney’s Irish Pub recently announced it is closing, and Charleston’s Home Team BBQ is presently renovating the old Harper’s building.

Jimmy John’s business was primarily “freaky fast” delivery, according to its ads, and the Devine Street location had parking challenges for the drivers. The chain has six other locations in the Columbia area and reportedly will handle its deliveries from other downtown locations such as Gervais Street and Garners Ferry Road.

Sub Station II does not deliver. It depends primarily on third-party delivery services such as Uber Eats, Bite Squad and Grubhub.

The Five Points Sub Station II will be the ninth store in the Columbia area. There are two in Lexington and one each in Cayce, St. Andrews, Irmo, Garners Ferry, Parklane and Hopkins.

The chain was founded in 1975 in Sumter by the late Dominic Ruffalo and spread to Charleston, Columbia and Florence. It now has 46 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, said Ruffalo’s daughter, Sandy Corbett, who is now the company’s CEO.

“It kind of blossomed from there,” she said.

The chain plans to open three more stores next year, she said, in Huntersville, N.C., Chapin and Spartanburg.

Mitch Corbett said the chain is known for slicing its meats and cheeses by hand for every sandwich. Its most popular is the Super Special No. 19, which features six meats.

“We slice everything to order, and we do salads,” he said.

As for the name?

When Ruffalo was branding the chain he wanted to just name it Sub Station, but the name was already taken.

“So he just added the II,” Sandy Corbett said. “I wish we had better story.”