John & Mary's gives subs 'Royal' treatment

Oct 19, 2015

BATAVIA — The menus at the various John & Mary’s locations in Western New York vary slightly, but the local chain has always been, first and foremost, a sub shop. It began that way when John and Mary Guida opened their first Buffalo location in 1952 and continues today at the Batavia restaurant, 3711 West Main St., owned by Ted and Mary Ulm. Subs are the cornerstone of the business, the signature dish, and one of them clearly stands out from the rest — the royal. Still prepared the way Mary Guida made it 60 years ago, the royal is a combination of an Italian sausage patty and sliced cappicola. As with all John & Mary’s subs, it also comes with lettuce, tomato and cheese, along with a choice of mayonnaise, oil, or Miracle Whip. All of the sub recipes used in the local John & Mary’s come from Mary Guida. They were passed to Ted Ulm, who had previously owned restaurants in Arcade and Alden. Ted knew the Guidas personally and promised Mary that as long as her name is on the sign, he would do things her way. “And he keeps to that promise,” Mary Ulm said Thursday after the lunch rush. To that extent, Ted and Mary Ulm still buy the sausage for the royal sub from the same deli the Guidas used for decades. The purchase the same cheese, the same rolls, the same condiments. “Everything that goes on our subs is the best quality you can get,” Mary Ulm said. “We don’t skimp on anything. We’re very particular about what goes on your sandwich. We think that is the recipe for success.” That recipe for success has led to the Batavia restaurant selling about 20 royal subs each day, making it their best seller. The royal comes on a toasted Constanzo’s roll (white or wheat) with provolone cheese. The sausage has a good tang to it that doesn’t overpower the sandwich or hide the cappicola. The Ulms met eight years ago and moved to Corfu as a way to split the difference — Mary is from Rochester, Ted is from Buffalo. They saw an opportunity in Genesee County. “We quickly realized that Batavia was a great place for a John and Mary’s,” Mary Ulm said. “We bought Scooters a couple of years ago, but it took a little while to switch over from Scooters to John and Mary’s. “This is the place to go get a sub.” The full royal sub sells for $8.55, a half for $5.25.