Fairhaven’s Forgotten Fast Food Drive-Thru Is a Blast From the Past
There it sits behind a building on Fairhaven’s Huttleston Avenue – alone, forgotten, a marker of a bygone era few seem to recall.
Once, it shone bright, illuminating the night with its offerings of meats, cheeses, vegetables and other delicious options. Now it is a dim, empty, soulless reminder that despite its clever marketing slogan, Blimpie is not “America’s Sub Shop,” at least not on the SouthCoast.
Yes, this was once the drive-thru menu for the Blimpie location in Fairhaven, in the building that now houses the Fairhaven Smoke Shop, right next to Sweet Ginger.
Remember Blimpie? Of course you don’t. I can’t recall ever seeing more than one car outside of the shop, and even that was probably the person that worked there, parking in the front just to make it look like there was a customer.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, which is approximately when Blimpie occupied that location, Subway was quickly becoming the dominant sandwich shop in America, and there was a bustling Subway just a couple hundred yards away – right next to our WBSM and Fun 107 studios. It’s still odd not to go to work every day and smell the baking bread.
To most, Blimpie seemed like a Subway knockoff, even though Blimpie got a year’s head start on Subway, opening its first location in 1964 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Subway opened its first shop under the name Pete’s Super Submarines in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Yet as Subway began its plan of global domination, Blimpie never quite caught up.
Blimpie used the same green-and-yellow color scheme that Subway used, with a splash of red thrown in just to make it seem different. The menu was rather similar as well, although Blimpie die-hards – and there were some – would tell you that Blimpie had the better bread.
One thing Blimpie had going for it, though, was the drive-thru window. It was a novelty to have a sub shop that offered a drive-thru option in those days; you weren’t getting that kind of service from Subway or D’Angelo, which was also literally across the street from Blimpie, next to Staples (in the spot that is now, ironically, a Subway).
This forgotten relic of Fairhaven’s fast food past stands as a testament to a time when sandwiches were on the verge of becoming the next big thing. Burgers were so 20th century. This was the new millennium, baby.
I’m not sure when Blimpie closed up shop in Fairhaven; I always kind of just assumed it was there. Then one day, it wasn’t. The Bullseye Roast Beef restaurant took over the space at one point. Eventually, a nail salon moved into the location, before it became the smoke shop that it is today.
The closest Blimpie location to the SouthCoast these days is in Windsor, Connecticut, just outside of Hartford. Our Quizno’s Subs locations are gone, too. D’Angelo’s is becoming all but extinct in our area. We’ve been blessed with multiple Jersey Mike’s, but we’re still deprived of both Jimmy John’s and Firehouse Subs.
Yet this former Blimpie menu still stands defiantly, refusing to give up the dream that people will want mediocre sub sandwiches if it means they don’t have to actually get out of their car to get them.