Sam’s Super Samwiches – a load off my mind

12 Nov

Brace yourself: I can be a bit stubborn, with a side order of procrastination. And no, I’m not impressed by the people who’ve just jumped up to second that one! Sometimes, that stubbornness manifests itself in me choosing not to do something – like when I went years without getting a mobile phone.*

* Which I can also say that I haven’t gotten yet, in a technical sense, since the  phone was kind of forced on me by a previous boss … But it’s now the only phone I have and I am a bit addicted, not that this has anything to do with this story.

I’ve been putting off a trip to a hamburger stand of high regard, not because I didn’t want to go. I’ve put it off because I know the owners (XX, Sue!). A lot of this blog is just for fun, but I take seriously what I write about; if I don’t like it, you’ll know. See my Purple Onion review.

I’m breathing a sigh of relief now that I’ve actually been to Sam’s Super Samwiches in downtown Homewood. First of all, the place is an icon. There are a lot of nice shops in the revitalized downtown Homewood. Most are a bit high-brow, but there are a few hold-outs, like Sam’s.

Sam’s is really a hot dog stand, in the Birmingham sense of the word. Its look, feel and food, to a degree, are evocative of the Greek-inspired hot dog stands in downtown Birmingham (see my review of Lyric Hot Dogs). It can get busy and frankly, if you want a place to sit and eat, you’ll likely need to be willing to eat on the curb (not the Curb that used to be in Homewood … the actual curb).

That’s not to dismiss it; it’s just not a sit down place. It’s a place to order a great dog and a tasty burger.

First, on the burger; It’s a sloppy, delicious mess. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you decide to eat outside (which you’ll probably want to do, instead of trying the few counter spaces). And let’s say, that it’s freakin’ cold. And you don’t want to move … GET SOME NAPKINS BEFORE you walk out.

The burger is grilled on a griddle, not too firm and not too loose. So, it’s juicy and has a great, not too seasoned taste to it. I got the SuperCheeseBurger … and then saw someone next to me with a SuperCheeseBurger with bacon. Damn. I wish I’d thought of that, cause I would have arm wrestled that little pip-squeak for it. Beautalicios was there; she would have tackled his parents. The fixings on the burger as just about perfect, with chopped lettuce and onions that mingle so nicely. I almost thought I heard them singing Kumbaya.

But Sammy’s is definitely a low-tech establishment where you should check your pretense and desire for pomme frites at the door. It is gloriously a throw back, not in a Johnny Rockets-plastic way, but it a WYSIWYG way. It’s a hot dog and burger stand. No trays. Your food will come wrapped in paper.

Now, if I said this was the best burger in the town, then my quest would be over and you’d not have the pleasure of reading more of my reviews. Sam’s has a tasty burger, but my quest will continue. Plus, Sam’s has something else going for it – reputation and being a local institution. Plus it has a good dog, too.

Points are 1-10 (ten being the best)

Meat – 8.75 … I have no idea about the origin of this burger species, but the meat tastes fresh. It’s also treated in a way that doesn’t dry it out or make it too runny. (According to a source, who is — should I call it “inside the ownership” — the meat actually comes from the Pig down the street, patties made daily.)

Bun and fixins’ 8.75 – This was a nice surprise, with the lettuce and onion mixed and the sauce not too overpowering.

Sides – (unsure) … Well, I don’t think that I can give real points for fries on this one, since you can’t get them there. Chips, you can get. However, the homemade chili and having a hot dog could be kind of a side … okay, I did that, but I’m a glutton. All in the name of my craft.

Service & Presentation – 8 … I like the feeling of being moved through a line a warp speed and not have someone cranky about it (I’m looking at you Niki’s). There’s nothing wrong with no plates and having everything on paper; fits the place.

Ambiance – 9 … You can’t pay for nostalgia.

Rating – A+

Sam's Super Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

7 Responses to “Sam’s Super Samwiches – a load off my mind”

  1. Sue Graphos November 12, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Thanks, Mel! You hit the nail on head-WYSIWYG. Just an FYI – Sammy buys all of his hamburger meat fresh daily from the Piggly Wiggly on Highway 31 in Homewood. He pats out each burger himself. You haven’t eaten bacon until you’ve tried Sam’s bacon – trust me. And you must try his homemade chili – you won’t get it in a bowl but a drink cup and he does have spoon and crackers.

    Sammy would have never made it in the corporate world – he doesn’t do change. I think he was the last business in the world to finally take credit cards. He’s a great man – and is turning 70 on Nov. 15. Doesn’t plan to retire and said we will find him face down on the grill.

    • beautimousburger November 12, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      My daughter had the chili when we went. It was a great add cause it was soooo cold. In fact, Ted was in line ahead of us that day! Also thanks fog the extra info.

  2. Suzanne Schoel November 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I love my chili with a piece of cheese in it along with some crumbled Frito’s instead of crackers!! It pays to have 38 years of experience!!

  3. Virginia November 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I’m still LOL at the A for Ambiance!! I’ve eaten with Sammy for 38 of those 38 years and it’s the best place for a hot dog anywhere, but I’ve not given the ambiance much thought.
    Thanks for giving Sam’s the credit it deserves.
    V

  4. David C. November 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Not only is Sam a great man, but Sue is a great woman, and their son Ted is a great guy as well. I no longer live in Birmingham, but I miss local landmarks like Sam’s. I used to work with both Ted and Sue when I lived in Birmingham.

  5. JT November 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Super-baconcheeseburger, slaw-dog, sweet heat chips and ice water. Same order since the mid-nineties when I was first introduced. Hands down, the best burger Birmingham has to offer, anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t know…

  6. Sara Hanley January 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I visited the store i like your hamburgers a lot. when we visit again for the family we will be stopping in.

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