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Grilled sub sandwich restaurant tees up at Soldiers Field Golf Course

Townies Grill’d Philly Subs started cooking at 244 Soldier Field Drive SW last week. The soft launch is expected to evolve into a full opening by early February. “Townies makes more of a hybrid hot sandwich. Our subs are like a cousin to cheesesteaks," owner Cody Livingood said.

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ROCHESTER — A new Med City eatery has fired up the grill for delivery and takeout lunches as it preps to open its dining room and full bar in February.

Townies Grill’d Philly Subs started cooking at 244 Soldiers Field Drive SW in the clubhouse of the Soldiers Field Golf Course last week. The soft launch is expected to evolve into a full opening by early next month.

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With the word “Philly" in its name, some might think Townies is making traditional cheesesteak sandwiches. Owner Cody Livingood said his menu offers something different.

“Townies makes more of a hybrid hot sandwich. Our subs are like a cousin to cheesesteaks. We use different bread and we prepare them a little differently,” he said. “It's just a different flavor profile that I know Rochester was missing and people were wanting. So I decided to bring it here.”

Livingood has done extensive remodeling to his space in Soldiers Field Clubhouse, with a new floor, bar area and TVs, as well as a front entrance. Once Townies fully opens to the public in February, the dining room and bar will seat 62 customers, with a view of the city golf course.

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“It's completely different. If you walked in right now, you wouldn't even recognize it. Rochester wants a nice place to go. So that was one thing that we knew we had to do, other than have great food, was a great atmosphere. So that's where we're going to be set apart from anybody that has been here before,” he said.

In addition to grilled subs, the Townies’ menu includes a selection of “Smash’d” burgers, “Chick’n” wings and tenders as well as “Grill'd bowls.” The bowls are basically breadless versions of the sandwiches served over a choice of romaine lettuce, a cilantro lime rice blend or a cauliflower rice blend.

“The idea of the bowl is for the many people who are health conscious. And I think it's important that we keep those people in mind. If you want some nice fatty, greasy comfort food, we’ve got that,” Livingood said. “But if you want to be a little healthier or maybe you don't eat sandwiches, we have the bowls and you can do lettuce or cauliflower rice, which has been a huge hit.”

While he hopes to eventually add direct delivery from Townies, the restaurant is now offering ordering through DoorDash from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once the dining room and bar are open, the restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner and into the evening.

Why take the step to open your own restaurant, particularly during a pandemic?

“I grew up in the restaurant industry, so I'm very familiar with it, and how it works. I spent 10 years in the automotive industry and I got to a point in my life where I didn't want to work for somebody else anymore," Livingood said. “The stars just kind of aligned and, for me, it was the right time."

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. The opinions of my employer do not necessarily reflect my opinions. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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