Americans are a proud people. So even when we are completely broke, as we are now, we still demand that our natural fantasies of class and superiority be indulged. Welcome to the crappy cheap food place cafe, sir.

Hobo Americans—now the majority of Americans—dine primarily on "value menu" items from fast food chains which leaven small amounts of expensive "meat" with hefty portions of stomach-filling grease. For that nice "mouthfeel." Vomit. Anyhow... ah yes. The average American hobo is unsatisfied with any dining experience that reflects a level of class and taste beneath that of a "Starbucks," our nation's finest dining chain. Therefore, every fast food restaurant is remodeling in Starbucks' image. We thought that McDonald's had cornered the market on desperate pseud-upscaling by a fast food chain; but Ad Age today brings news of an even more horrifying example: the Subway Cafe.

Sandwich giant Subway is testing an upscale-cafe concept, known as Subway Cafe. Originally launched in Alexandria, Va., by a franchisee, the test now has about 15 locations, with plans to add about 10 before year's end. The cafes are designed to give off a more comfy feel, complete with brick or wood-paneled walls, and even — no kidding — the occasional fireplace.

A Subway. With a fireplace. Into which you can hurl your "Italian BMT."

[Ad Age. Photo: Like the Grand Canyon/ Flickr]