Little King brings royalty to subs & Giveaway

Sign post
Little King is a major competitor in the Omaha sub sandwich wars.

Founded in Omaha in 1969, Little King offers some great flavors for diners. For us, Tim and I like the #11 on the menu board, which happens to be the most popular sandwich. The Royal Treat sandwich consists of ham, hard salami, Mortadella, pepperoni and provolone cheese.

no 11 and krispy treat

This was one of my family’s favorite places to eat when we visited Omaha, before moving here.

Little King is proud of its more than four decades of business, according to Bob Werthheim, the chief operating officer (COO).  He also just happens to be the son of the founder. Bob at Little King

The first location was at 80th and Dodge streets. At that time, Dodge Street was the main street in Omaha, and, thus, the busiest.

From that first store, the Werthheims actually grew the franchise into a national brand. About 100 stores were scattered throughout 17 states. At the height of its success, the Werththeims sold the brand to another company.

It was not a good move for the Little King brand. About half the stores were no longer part of the chain within a few years, said Bob. They apparently didn’t maintain the quality that the Werthheims prided themselves on.

The Werthheims bought the company back nearly 18 years ago.

It’s been a challenge to get the franchise back to its earlier success. Currently, Little King has nine locations in Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs (Iowa).

Bob ran the company nearly by himself for about 15 years.  Little King has again been sold, but the Werthheim touch remains. Bob stayed with the new company as the COO.

Little King logoAfter 44 years, everything needs a makeover. One of the things that Bob knew had to happen is that Little King needed a fresh look.  A local advertising agency is responsible for the new look and design of the Little King franchise.  Don’t worry, the food and Little King difference has not changed.  There are a handful of locations that have been completely converted over to this new design.  Bob believes that this will really help to reinvigorate the brand.

Little King plans to continue its growth, but slowly.  They plan to add two locations by the end of the year, and then 5-10 in Nebraska during 2014.  The goal is to get back to some of the original smaller community locations that they were originally located in.

Just as I have my memories of eating at Little King as a kid,  Bob mentioned that one time – due to a shortage of sweet red peppers – customers left without their sandwich.  They are that popular on sandwiches. It goes to show how one ingredient can change the whole taste of the item.

Bob told another story of a someone who wanted to have Little King sandwiches sent to her in California in time to watch the Husker game being played that Saturday.  They delivered.  It’s not necessarily a common request, as there are additional shipping costs than just that sandwich alone.

Little King may be changing its look, but its mission has not. Bob said the things that continue to separate them is the quality of food and customer service. They realize that it’s the experience that brings the customer back.  They still use real meats and cheeses. The slicing is done right there when you order.

Little King employee

Bob reminded me that they are more than just sandwiches and chips.   They have deli salads, cookies and rice krispie treats.  I can vouch for the rice krispie treats being made fresh in the store as they were mixing a batch up when I arrived.

You can tell that Bob is also reenergized by the changes and is ready to take Little King into the future.

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Comments

  1. I usually have to visit a locally owned one that ranks high on Yelp or is recommended on Chow Hound (or recommended by friends!).

  2. Usually Jack in the Box

  3. We always try to hit up our favorites in the areas we are going (In and Out if we are on the coast, Pei Wei if we are in Colorado etc.)

  4. No favorite to hit up other then we always stop into a sub shop while away on vacay. Our way of trying not to eat too much heavy food

  5. Karen Beck says:

    When we go down to Lincoln sometimes, we like to eat at Buzzard Billy’s in their old market area – really good!

  6. When we visit my sister in TX, we have to eat at Whataburger. Delicious burgers with the perfect amount of burger to bun ratio.

  7. I’ve never heard of Little King but I’d love to win this for my sis in law or nephew in law that live in Omaha. I always take food with us, ha, but always enjoy finding pizza on the road.

  8. Used to visit the franchise on North 30th Street as a kid. Was sad to see it leave that area. Now downtown venue is my new go-to for Royal Treats!

  9. I love small town restaurants ! AK Corral in Ute Iowa is one of my favs!

  10. It used to be Chick Fil A, but now we have them!

  11. Ashley Vazquez says:

    Nothing in particular, just the unique diners or restaurants that we can’t pass up. 🙂

  12. Haven’t been to one in a long time. Looking forward to trying them out again if I win!

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