Walking into Dave’s Cosmic Subs is like waking up back in Oberlin circa 1969.
Newly opened at 55 East College St., the Cleveland-based sandwich shop is home to a psychedelic shrine of rock ‘n’ roll and overstuffed subs.
Classic rock by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Elvis, and more fills the air with messages of love, hope, and a desire for a better world — a revolutionary spirit that is exactly what franchise owner Paul Sidhu wants to radiate from his Oberlin store.
He said the rock-themed restaurant is the perfect fit with the musical, artistic, and liberal attitude of the city’s community.
“Hippies, rock ‘n’ roll, the tie-dyed shirts — I think it speaks volumes to what we stand for: equality,” Sidhu said. “Everyone is welcome, regardless of creed, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of everything. It doesn’t matter. It’s not about human tolerance, it’s about embracing it. It’s about love. That was the 60s.”
Making every single customer happy is his goal. He said he’s already taken a number of suggestions from customers, including implementing non-gender-specific bathrooms.
Sidhu is no stranger to the progressive scene of Oberlin College. While attending a similar small liberal arts college in Maine, he said it was nice to have a “not-so-typical” sub place right next door where he could grab a sandwich and a beer with friends.
No matter the restaurants he tried, he was devoted to Dave’s Cosmic Subs, and still remembers his first bite in Chagrin Falls in 1990.
“It was a revolutionary experience. I was whetted, committed, and totally into it,” Sidhu said.
To him, “it’s not just a sub.” He said he wants to build a loyal customer base, and that means going out of the way to fully customize the cosmic experience.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.