After three years of serving up quality sub sandwiches and the self-designated “best chili in L.A.,” Stephanie Levy is closing up Studio Sub in Tujunga Village—and Henry’s Tacos is moving into the location 4389 Tujunga Ave.
Levy said food prices have skyrocketed, and she hasn't been able to compete with the fast-food Subway and Quiznos chains that have cropped up around the area. The longtime Studio City resident is going back to booking adventure travel trips.
“I am glad we are helping to save Henry’s, and now I’m going to help save the rhinos and the elephants,” Levy said.
The decision came quickly, and papers need to be signed and finalized, but Studio Sub is closing as of Sunday, and new Henry’s Tacos owner Omar Vega plans to open in the new location in mid-March.
Vega was head chef at Henry’s for 21 years when it was located half a block away at Moorpark and Tujunga Avenue. After owner Janis Hood lost the lease there, she sold the business to Vega.
Meanwhile, Levy is sad about leaving. “I will mostly miss the wonderful people in Studio City and the customers who have loved coming here over the years.”
An active participant in the Tujunga Village Association, Studio Sub has given out free samples during community events and supported fundraisers at nearby Walter Reed Middle School. Levy and her brother Mike Levy started the sandwich shop in July 2010. They were both born in Burbank and moved to Studio City 18 years ago.
Another unintentional feature of Studio Sub is the nesting of the birds above the entrance way, which Studio City Patch covered over the years. Now, the eighth generation of hatchlings has been born just outside the back entrance of the restaurant.
“Omar said he will keep and protect the birds,” Levy said. “At first he said he wondered how they would taste, but I think he was kidding.”
“Yes," Vega confirmed, "I will leave the birds alone and protect them.” He said the birds and the building will remain intact, but he needs to make changes in the kitchen before opening as Henry’s again.
Levy said, “We always kept up the quality of the food we served here, and the prices kept going up, and in these economic times, I knew we couldn’t raise the prices of the subs.”
Her $9 foot-long subs packed with pastrami were competing with $5 foot-longs at Subway. She had no artificial ingredients and kept things gluten free.
“The quality of the sandwiches at those other places are not as good," Levy said. "You have to be very careful where you eat.”
She was also socked with higher taxes, insurance rate increases and business fees, such as industrial waste costs. “We don’t make french fries, but we were charged as if we did and had that kind of waste,” she said.
Her head chef, Dan Yob, is a heavy metal guitarist for the Last Great Nation. He has his long hair pulled back while on the job, but has a popular following with his music. He will miss the job, but the band has its first album hitting YouTube on March 1. (See a sampling here.)
Studio Sub's sandwiches have movie-related names, such as The Godfather, Some Like It Hot, The Blockbuster, and more. (See video above of Levy discussing the history of the Studio Sub building that was once a firehouse and a teriyaki stand, and is as old as the Henry's Tacos buliding.)
Ironically, Studio Sub, with its history of cameo appearances in movies and TV shows, and photos of movie stars and films on the walls, is closing the day of the Academy Awards ceremony.
"Oh, I didn't think about that," Levy said. "Maybe we won't have good business that day because everyone will be watching that, or going to it," she laughed. "I hope people will stop in and say good-bye."
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* Read all about Henry's Tacos.