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Slammin’ Sammy’s food truck trades rubber & asphalt for brick & mortar

Mystery Diner • Updated Mar 24, 2017 at 1:06 PM

With food trucks taking over more and more of the fast-food business these days, it is remarkable to find one food trucker not afraid to swim against the tide, exchanging a “go where the customers are” business plan for one where the customers come to you.

I’ve been a fan of Slammin’ Sammy’s Sandwiches for some time now, often visiting their website and Facebook page to tell me where Slammin’ Sammy’s big orange food truck could be found. Since the end of February, Slammin’ Sammy’s has given up rubber and asphalt for a brick and mortar establishment at 803 W. Walnut St. in Johnson City.

The business location that proprietor and entrepreneur Samantha Chapman, (“Sammy” as her friends and customers call her) and partner Logan McMeans have chosen is the former site of the Alley Kat property, about midway between two good customer sources: downtown Johnson City and East Tennessee State University. You could say Slammin’ Sammy’s will get their business coming and going, as my dining partner and I found out when we stopped in for a take-out lunch one afternoon.

Here are some cautions for you first-time Slammin’ Sammy’s diners.

Make sure you park on the right side of the building. The parking on the left side is reserved for their next-door neighbor, a pizza joint armed with an aggressive towing service. Inside, their dining room has seating for about 45 patrons, so it is wise to send someone inside to stake out a table while you are parking your vehicle. Also, be mindful that, though warmer days may signal patio dining out front, you’ll be curbside with West Walnut Street’s noise and traffic exhaust.

Since we were getting our take-out order at lunch time, Slammin’ Sammy’s comfortable dining room was nearly filled with hungry patrons. Not to worry, my dining partner and I got seats at the bar, where we were seen to by Molly and Ashley. My dining partner would be enjoying a Slammin’ Sammy’s Chicken Philly sandwich ($9) along with a side order of three Mac-n-Cheese balls ($6).

I decided that a Momma’s Meatloaf sandwich ($8) was more my speed, and added a trio of loaded fried green tomatoes ($6) as my side order. Our seat locations gave us an unobstructed view of Slammin’ Sammy’s open plan kitchen and the two busy cooks who were running it.

Our orders were ready inside of 15 minutes, and 10 minutes more found the two of us at home sharing and enjoying our purchases.

My partner’s Chicken Philly was a butterflied and marinated chicken breast, grilled and served on a hoagie roll with sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms topped with provolone cheese, and all of it delicious. Her mac-n-cheese balls were breaded ping pong ball-sized spheres of macaroni and cheese, deep fried and served with ranch dressing. Good, but not really remarkable.

My Momma’s Meatloaf sandwich was excellent. Slammin’ Sammy’s homemade meat loaf topped with their sweet heat glaze, and a good quantity of lettuce, onions and tomatoes on grilled sourdough bread. I had to wrap a napkin around each overloaded sandwich half to keep all the goodies in my hand instead of my lap. The loaded fried green tomatoes were hand-breaded, deep-fried, and topped with pimento cheese, crumbled bacon and chopped chives.

While delectable as a whole, the use of pimento cheese needed to be dialed back here. The quantity used completely obscured the acidic tang of the fried green tomato, a signature element of the dish. As a quick fix, I scraped off a good amount of the pimento cheese topping from each and was pleased with the resulting flavor medley. My dining partner liked dipping her mac-n-cheese in the extra pimento cheese, too.

Slammin’ Sammy’s serves burgers, cheese and other deli sandwiches, including a really scrumptious chicken salad sandwich ($8) that includes apples, pears and blueberries in a yogurt sauce with lettuce & tomato on grilled sourdough bread. Fountain drinks ($1.99) are also available.

When I had a moment, I asked Ashley if Samantha Chapman had decided to park the food truck for good.

No, came her reply: Chapman and McMeans wanted to make sure their new sandwich shop venture was off to a profitable start before heading back out on the road. Given the number of patrons who were dining in Slammin’ Sammy’s Sandwiches when we stopped by, the wait shouldn’t be too long at all.

Slammin’ Sammy’s Sandwiches

803 West Walnut Street

Johnson City

262-8244

Mon-Thu 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Closed Sun

Available on Facebook

Credit cards accepted

Eds. note: This review has been changed to correct the address and number of seats at Slammin’ Sammy’s.

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