Dagwood's Sandwich Shoppe

Open since: October 2007

Location: Dagwood's is located in the new Suwanee Depot Shopping Center on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, near the I-85 overpass.

Owners: Tony Ratliff, owner; Marc Hunt, general manager

Hours: The sandwich shop is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Atmosphere: With walls slashed in coats of red, yellow and blue, Dagwoods proves lively and vibrant. Equally as colorful as the comic strip for which it was named, the sandwich shop is certainly animated, but not annoyingly so. Enlarged Dagwood comic strips line the walls, and a flat screen TV flashes stills from the decades-old cartoon.

Whether due to the energetic atmosphere, the warm scent of fresh baked bread, or the overly large chef hats worn by sandwich makers, it's hard to be a grouch while eating at Dagwood's. Ultimately, that's the point.

"We want people to be able to come in here and feel good," Hunt said.

The menu: Dagwood's isn't a run-of-the-mill sub shop. Unique ingredients are its signature calling card, and all menu items can be customized. The Chicken Curry Swirl is one of the restaurant's more obscure-and-tasty, varieties. Chicken salad is mixed with halved grapes, celery and a mild curry, then topped with lettuce, red onion and mayo, and squeezed between a raisin swirl bread.

"I don't like curry, but I love this sandwich," Ratliff said. "It's not the kind of thing you see everywhere. We consider ourselves to have an upscale sandwich menu."

Because New Orleans is home to Dagwood cartoon creator Dean Young, the New Orleans Roast Beef Po' Boy had to be something special. The long sandwich on French bread features hot slices of roast beef covered in a New Orleans gravy, and finished with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. Since the shop opened nearly four months ago, this has been the top seller, Hunt said.

For the less adventurous, the Classics section of the menu is a comfort. Here, diners will find tried and true combinations such as ham and cheese, tuna, and The Veggie. For dieting diners, the brimming salad selection - the 1930s Salad, with ham, Swiss cheese and a light vinaigrette is a favorite - as well as soups and wraps are mainstays.

A word to the wise: come hungry. In accordance with the sandwich-loving Dagwood cartoon, these creations are huge, especially menu staple The Dagwood. This skyscraper of a sandwich is made on three slices of deli bread and loaded with everything but the kitchen sink. There is hard salami, pepperoni, turkey, mortadella, ham and cotto salami; plus lettuce, tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers; and then topped with mayo, mustard and a splash of the secret Italian olive salad mix.

"I've only seen a few people actually finish this in one sitting," Hunt said. "Most people eat half here, and then get half to go."

There is relief from the inevitable gorging, though: Most sandwiches can be served as half or whole orders.

Beverages: Soft drinks, tea and water are served, as well as juice boxes for kid's meals.

Dessert: The pickings for sweet endings are slim, but the offered brownies and cookies are large enough to calm that sugar craving.

Things you might not know: This is the first Dagwood's in Georgia, and Ratliff is planning to open more than 100 more locations throughout the state in the next five years. So far, plans are already drawn up for six locations to open in the state by the end of the year.