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Our Story

Captain Bill’s Submarines Shop started in 1981. But the story of how Captain Bill’s got is name is one of legends…

Bill Whalley was an entrepreneur, musician, and comedian who had worked in construction and the spa businesses before finding his passion in a sandwich shop, The Submarine Factory. Bill had hoped to be part of the franchise but, when it didn’t happen, Bill took over the location he was operating and turned it into his own independent sandwich shop.

One day, Bill was making a deposit at the bank when he noticed a sweet elderly lady taking a large withdrawal. A teenager followed the lady out and Bill kept an eye on them. When the teen stole the lady’s purse, Bill sprang into action. He chased them down making a citizen’s arrest. The girls who worked for him made a cake that said, “Captain Bill, Our Hero!” Bill renamed the shop Captain Bill’s Submarine…and so it was that Captain Bill’s Submarines was born!

As the Captain’s daughter, I started making meat packs at the age of 11 along with cleaning up, ordering inventory and learning all the other aspects of the business. I literally grew up in the sandwich shop and followed my father around his workshop and went with him to antique stores for decorations in the shop. I loved and admired my father! After many years of opening other locations and managing two of them myself, I was called to follow other interests that my father instilled in me.

Captain Bills was a good musician who played guitar and piano nightly. There were very few nights that went by that he didn’t play music and I came to be quite the audiophile. I decided to pursue this interest by obtaining my Masters in recording engineering and heading off to Los Angeles. It was not long after working in enclosed rooms with no windows and limited exposure to people, that I realized how much I missed the community of the sandwich shop. I missed serving people. This was when my son came into my life.

Raymond and motherhood launched me into community and service through parenting, school and eventually I became a School Counselor. After spending his High School years studying Business and Marketing at LAVC, Raymond turned 18. He was desperately seeking a business to start when we moved to SLO and he found a deli exclaiming that we could carry on his grandfather’s legacy!

It took me a few minutes to realize that this was the only thing I truly enjoyed doing in my whole life. I am grateful and honored to share with the SLO community, Captain Bill’s favorite foods, unapologetic humor and sense of community that he was hardly aware he had created. Like Captain Bill, my father, I hope that my family will also leave a legacy of good times, first jobs, and role models.

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Customer Reviews

Grant Grant

A great spot for a quick sandwich! They always get the custom requests right and are super friendly. The staff there are great, and the general vibe of the place is awesome. Go give them a try.

Spencer Grenley

Of course I love this place. Fun, friendly and filling. Just went in for the first time, after seeing a coupon they posted in Cal Poly's recent booklet.. I can now say that I've found my new sandwich place in SLO.

Matt W

Their hot sandwiches are amazing, and they are putting a huge emphasis on making it a cool stop for college students - they do a general 10% discount for Cal Poly students, and are trying to set up their place to be a good studying environment.

Janel Davis

Love this place. The best veggie-egg burrito. The best coffee. Good price. This place is ridiculously good. Their subs are massive and they’re generous with the toppings. They also have a huge patio. Can’t beat it!

Matt Prosio

Awesome sub. Awesome service! Had a pastrami swiss with all the fixins on it was delicious. Rolls are baked fresh daily. Also had the pleasure of meeting the owners of this family shop who were very welcoming took the time to go through the menu with me!

Shelby Lampshire

Tasty sandwich and an awesome menu of sandwiches! Will be going back to try more. Received one of the baked m&m cookies mmm so good!! Sorry no picture we devoured it but will definitely be back! Thanks Bills

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