Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater are big cities, with small communities. Even among all of the large and corporate businesses, the cities are plentiful with “mom and pops” shops. One of these shops in particular is arguably one of the best in Thurston County—possibly even the state.
If you’re from the area, chances are, you’ve had a taste of some of the best in the West.
Inspired by the mom and pops sandwich shops of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Meconi’s Italian Subs has become an icon in Thurston County.
In 1983, Wayne and Nancy Meconi moved their family from Williamsport to Olympia. After they were settled in, disappointment came when they discovered a staple of Williamsport was missing from the Thurston County community: sub sandwich shops.
“We couldn’t find any good sub shops to eat at. Back there, there are sub shops on just about every corner. Little, family-owned ones,” daughter Maria Meconi recalled. “We came out here and were disappointed.”
Wayne had an idea to open up a sub shop of his own in his new hometown. He wanted to bring some of the East Coast flavors to the West Coast. After receiving a “crash course” training lesson from Nancy’s brother who owned a sub shop in Pennsylvania, Wayne learned the ropes and opened the first Meconi’s Italian Subs, located on Lacey Boulevard in Lacey in 1986.
Wayne wanted to stay true to the East Coast style of subs, so finding the right ingredients was key to the success of his shop. After hard work and a great deal of research, the Meconis were able to create the perfect recipe for their bread and found just the toppings they were looking for.
Meconi’s Italian Subs makes all of its bread in house every day. The recipe has remained the same since the early days in 1986. All of the ingredients are fresh and the flavor of the subs is so delicious and unique, there’s no comparison to anything else in the area.
The Meconi’s business has since expanded from the three-car garage-turned sub shop in Lacey. In 1993, the family opened a shop in downtown Olympia near the State Capitol building. By 2008, they opened a third shop in Tumwater in the Old Towne Plaza on Tumwater Boulevard. In 2010, the downtown shop moved across the street to a newer, larger building that could better accommodate their clientele.
Meconi’s Italian Subs has kept the East Coast tradition, as well as the “mom and pops” tradition and family environment. Nancy and Wayne are still very active in their business, working in the Lacey store nearly ever day. Other family members have large roles as well. Maria is the general manager of all three stores, and her brother Doug has worked at the Lacey location for the past two years.
Providing a great product at a great price has always been one of the Meconis’ business models. Another is providing a good work environment and experience—for both their customers and their employees.
“I enjoy coming to work every day. We have a good relationship with our employees because we’re here every day,” Maria said. “We try to keep it a fun environment and laid back. We want our employees to have fun while they’re working too. We get our jobs done, but we enjoy ourselves too.”
Danielle Brodbeck has experienced that fun, family environment firsthand. She began working for the family for 13 years, and is now the manager of the downtown Olympia shop.
“It’s great here,” Danielle said. “Maria is kind of like a big sister to me.”
Danielle said she loves working at Meconi’s Italian Subs and she loves to see the support they receive from the community. That support is what has helped the family business thrive.
“The Thurston County community means everything to us. It’s been the reason for our success—those are our customers and the people supporting us,” Maria said. “Being a locally owned business, as a business owner, we try to support other local businesses. We try to keep local as much as possible.”
Every year, Meconi’s Italian Subs donates to the Hands on Children’s Museum’s Sand in the City event. Meconis donates lunches for all of the workers and volunteers. They have also been involved with UCAN’s Dining Out For Life event. The business also donates to local charities, schools and auctions.
Meconi’s Italian Subs recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and is happy with its success and growth.
“Looking back on where we started and where we are now, we feel proud,” Maria said. “It’s a really nice accomplishment, that we are able to do this for so long and keep it in the family and keep it local.”
If you’re searching for the best sandwich, at the best price, with quick service and a great environment—look no further. Visit one of Meconi’s Italian Subs’ three great locations in Thurston County!
5225A Lacey Boulevard SE #A
1018 Capitol Way South, Suite 101
111 Tumwater Boulevard SE