Tag Archives: eatery

The Sandwich Chef Mug Mystery

[UPDATE: Our good friend Kabir Bhatia, he of WKSU fame and a good egg to boot, has solved the mystery! I’m not going to edit this post beyond adding this update, because hey, I still want y’all to chime in with your recollections. But, you’d still be well-advised to check out the links Kabir has helpfully provided in the comments section! There’s a very interesting history behind Sandwich Chef, which lives on to this day as Wall Street Deli.]

Friends, I begin the new year here with a query. I am stumped, I am intrigued, and I humbly implore you to share whatever knowledge you may have on the subject in the comments. I expect no immediate response, but at least this post will be here when the right person stumbles across it.

As you may or may not recall, I’ve gone to the, as I have just deemed it, “mug well” more than once here. It’s true; I *love* collecting vintage mugs, glassware, that sort of thing. What we’ve seen before (here, here, here and here) has all been associated with broadcasting, and as such falls within whatever rough guidelines I have established for my stupid dumb blog. (Guidelines that are easily broken when I feel like it cause it’s my site and I’ll write what I want when I want.) But the fact of the matter is that my interest in promotional drinkin’ and eatin’ implements goes beyond just the TV and/or radio-related ones. Old business establishments, beer and soda, locally-related stuff in general, or sometimes just something that strikes my fancy (there’s a reason I got supremely stoked over a coffee mug featuring a presumably-1980s-era paint splash design scheme), it’s all fair game. The end result of this mindset? I don’t exactly pick up everything I come across, but nevertheless, I frankly have almost too many mugs/glasses/etc.

Aw, who am I kidding, there can never be too many. And luckily for me, they’re plentiful and usually pretty cheap. Evidently no one else in my general vicinity cares as much as I do about this sort of thing! (Or so I hope!)

Anyway, when it comes to this particular hobby of mine, probably the area that gets me just as fired up as something broadcasting-related are those things related to eating establishments. As in, restaurants. Drive-ins, burger joints, steakhouses, pizza places; the older the better. I flip over this sort of thing, especially when the establishment in question is a piece of Americana no longer in existence, or one that’s still alive but only as an endangered species.

And that brings us to today’s subject. In relation to the end of the preceding paragraph, I can only guess that this one’s the former and not the latter, cause man, I can’t find nothin’ on it out there in internet land.

As you can see, it’s a plastic, almost-certainly vintage, mug for a place called Sandwich Chef. I have no recollection nor knowledge of Sandwich Chef, and the choice in name doesn’t exactly make for a narrow set of search results. There appears to be a place in Little Falls, NY with that name, but apparently they opened in 2012; I don’t think they’re the same, because this mug just screams 1970s-to-early/mid-1980s to me.

The overall design is the same as that McDonald’s/WAKR one I linked to before (here, have it again), and the Sandwich Chef logo features the kind of old school aesthetic that you frankly just don’t see anymore. (The 1972-1978 Burger Chef logo seen here features the same vintage charm, though please don’t take that to imply there was any sort of connection between that chef and this chef. Unless there was? I’d think I’d be coming across some info if that were the case though…)

And look, “Home of the 25 Cent Coffee,” when was the last time you could find a cup o’ joe for that bargain price?! (Unless you still can somewhere; with pop being my nearly-all-day choice of caffeinated beverage, I don’t drink coffee very often.)

Both sides of the mug are essentially the same, the only difference being the reverse has, in place of the 25 cent coffee slogan, a declaration of Maryland Club Coffee, which I take to mean was Sandwich Chef’s coffee provider of choice. (Marvel at the power of my deductive reasoning!) It’s really not a big enough difference to make me go upstairs and take a picture of, but it is an additional piece of info – though I’m still not finding anything helpful online.

As evidenced in that McDonald’s/WAKR mug link (here, have it again), this Sandwich Chef thing most likely came with a lid and surface holder originally, though both are currently MIA. I could easily replace them, though ideally I’d like know what color the originals were before doing so.

So, my questions regarding Sandwich Chef are as follows: where was it located, and for how long? 1970s? 1980s? Was it a chain, or a standalone spot? I’ve searched to no avail, and I’ve asked to no avail. Since this was found locally, it’s a reasonably safe assumption that it was a Northeast Ohio establishment…until I remember that I come across out-of-state stuff pretty frequently. Hey, people move and/or go on vacations all the time, after all! And if it was a chain, I’d like to think I could uncover some recollection somewhere. But as far as all these questions go, so far no soap.

Whether these mysteries are eventually solved or not though, this is still a really neat find. Indeed, these are the kind of promotional items that tend to get me really fired up, because it’s stuff you just don’t see very often – if at all. I just wish that, you know, I knew more about it! If you do, hey, hit up the comments! Please!