Transnational: Eat fresh

Subway Doorway in La Antigua Guatemala

Another one bites the dust. Yes, a Subway franchise just opened its doors in La Antigua Guatemala. Transnationals, they all want a piece of the cake. The cake is made up from all the tourists who come an go through the rotating doors of the tourist capital of northern Central America: La Antigua Guatemala.

I think this Subway franchise will have to use its second slogan: The Way A Sandwich Should Be because the Eat fresh may not work in a place like Antigua Guatemala, where most places serve REAL fresh food. With all of these transnational fast-food restaurants in La Antigua Guatemala, we still have to make a run for the border or drive to Guatemala City if we’d like to think outside the bun to enjoy a bean and cheese burrito.

By the way, I’ve been told that a lunch for two at Subway can set you back 2.5 times the daily minimum Guatemalan wage which is Q40/US$8. That is 2.5 times more expensive than any freshly Guatemalan cuisine meal [for two] in the many daily menu restaurants in town.

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Claudia

    Ugh . . . what’s next a Walmart in Antigua?

  • This photo draws you in. The gates, the interesting position of the individual. It’s only later that I notice the Subway signs. Alas….

  • Lindsey

    i think the whole part of touring a place (especially Guatemala) is experiancing it first hand, whether it be spending time with the locals or eating traditional food. By putting a Subway in, it never takes the tourist out of their comfort zone, therefore they never get to experiance the true culture of Antigua. But…great picture!!

  • Those Subway signs are awfully small. I can understand some desiring a Subway, but personally there are too many local restaurants I’d much prefer to this “spendy” one. I mean even the somewhat touristy Fridas would be a better alternative. BTW…don’t get me started on Walmart. 🙂

  • th other scott


  • Jerry T

    Subway…there is one or more in every small town in Texas, and I do not understand the appeal. I don’t care to eat there in the US, and certainly would avoid the place in Antigua. If one feels that they can only eat “American” fast food, they are missing out on all of the great food Antigua has to offer.

  • Lucyswd

    I first noticed the Subway a few weeks ago when I was visiting, and although I didn’t go, that little kid inside me was actually excited about it. (Very unlike when I realized there was a Burger King and then a McDonald’s actually.)

    I grew up in Guatemala in the 80’s and early 90’s and would have died of joy if there’d been a Subway in the country. When ever we drove up to the states, as soon as we got across the Texas border I’d be begging for us to go to Subway (instead of the fast food of McDonald’s, etc in Guate and Mexico on these trips). I don’t know why I liked it, but I did.

    Anyway, I wonder if people are thinking of this from the wrong point of view. It seems like everyone thinks Subway is for the tourists and too bad for them b/c they’re missing out. I’d be willing to bet if you sat out there and watched the people going in and out, tourists would be steering clear. It’d be richer Guatemalans, Ladinos, and possibly a handful of missionary kids like myself.

  • Manolo

    Pues I concur with Lucyswd… me being ladino from la capital and all. I did get excited when the first Subway opened in the mall behind Centro Comercial Los Próceres in Guate.City (why don’t we start calling it “La Nueva Guatemala”, or “La Nueva” for short :-)). Then when I moved to Canada, in the first city I lived (Waterloo, Ont.) I used to have lunch/dinner regularly at Subway. Rudy is right with saying that must likely in Antigua pretty much all the food is “fresh”, but in a jungle of fast food joints and hot-dog/Polish sausage vendors such as Waterloo it was a respite of good ol’cold cuts or the occasional meat-ball in marinara sauce.

    What about suggesting an original “panza verde” sub to the franchise to start making its way into the hearts of the Antigueños. I dunno… guacamole? refried black beans? What is typical of Antigua that is not of the rest of the country?

  • Guy


    No lo vi cuando estuve en Antigua este vez. Esta en la 6a Ave Norte?

  • It’s always very sad when something like this opens in a beautiful place such as Antigua Guatemala. I am very anti-multinationals and it makes me sad when I see rich westerners in places like this on their travels. Experience the local food!!

    However, from a photographic point of view, your shot is great, I like the understated ‘Subway’ signs.

  • Pingback: Arch-framed Women in Jocotenango | La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo()

  • Patrick

    Seriously, Subway in Antigua? <> Pollo Campero is equally expensive and arguably much worse for you, however,and that place is lleno de chapines. At least it’s part-owned by Guatemalan’s, I guess. Plus, Campero is a rare reverse-multinational success story. There is even one here in New York City (Queens), presumably for all those inmigrantes. I haven’t been yet.

    Walmart in Antigua? Not likely. Guatemala City? It’s called Hiper Pais. In fact, WalMart now owns most of Guatemala’s larger grocery chains (Dispensa Familiar, Paiz, Hiper Paiz). Pretty disgusting. Multinationals are destroying local food, clothing, textile, and, dare I say it, language the world around. Sigh.

  • I had no clue Subway went that international.

  • Thor

    Are you Serious? Subway in Antigua is a pressing issue for you?
    Who are you to dictate what choices people have in dining? The subway in Antigua pretty much sucks in my opinion, the bread is stale, meat is local and not imported and they do not have spicy mustard and trying to get more than 2 tomatoes or pickles is like pulling teeth. The customer service sucks – but customer service sucks as most of the low end dining places in town. That said I can afford to spend 10-20 dollars on lunch at Bistro, Nicolas, Panza Verde etc, and my maid making Q40 a day eats beans and eggs. It is clear you hate the middle class as they should too have a place to eat thats better than the discount comedor, but something more financially friendly than Nicolas…those would be places like TGI Fridays, Tres Fretelli, and then down the economic ladder Campero’s & Subways of the world. At least with an American owned chain, when there is a service or quality issue you have someone to complain to, and you know that your money is going to investors in those companies who care about service and quality as that drives profits and not some rich local family that owns the entire market (can we say Campero, Pollo Lindo, etc etc).

    We all get to decide where we spend our money, I am happy giving to Bruce (Panza), Robin (Nokiate Bistro) & Billy (Nicolas) as I know if I have a problem with the food or the service, they are a speed dial away and will do what is needed to correct the problem. Get lousy service at Campero – Who cares. Get lousy service at Subway – At least you can call up North and report the franchisee. Spend you money where you want – eat what you want – but do not knock something just because it is successful.

    Perhaps your time would be better spent taking photos of all the trash that is overflowing on the route to and from Antigua and getting someone to correct that problem, or worry about the rapant crime, than a small business owner buying a franchisee and trying to make a living in Antigua?

  • Emma

    Subway is a refreshing break from fast food and an alternative to expensive restaurants in Antigua.
    The signs are small on Subway because large signs are not allowed in Antigua. They are only allowed to have the small sign outside. McDonalds and Burger King are the same. I’ve been to the Subway in Antigua many times and people really enjoy it (locals and tourists).
    If people want traditional Guatemala food they will go and find it. For those who like to eat things familar – they have the options also. The easy answer is: if you don’t like it, don’t go there!