Papa Sam’s Sandwich Shop
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday-Friday
Location: Inside Nest Feathers boutique, 3621 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood
Prices: $5.50 for a sandwich, chips and drink combo
Tucked away behind the glittering jewelry, rustic home decor and fashionable accessories at Nest Feathers boutique in Oakwood is a small counter with a chalkboard sign reading “Soup of the Day.”
It’s not a trendy kitchen sign for the home or a classic piece of furniture to add to the foyer. It’s Papa Sam’s Sandwich Shop, serving up hot soups and fresh sandwiches in the middle of a popular boutique.
“He always joked about getting a hot dog cart like the guy at (the University of) Georgia has,” said Amanda McGee, “Papa Sam” McGee’s daughter. “He didn’t stay retired for long.”
The shop came about as a side project of the McGee family after it bought the old Shoney’s location off Mundy Mill Road to create Nest Feathers.
“We were mentored by Wesley and Suzanne (Gailey) of the Inn-Between,” Sam McGee said. “A couple years after we opened Nest Feathers, we decided to add on and create the shop.”
Papa Sam’s offers traditional sandwiches on Kaiser rolls, such as turkey and cheese, ham and cheese and roast beef. Sam also created an egg salad and a chicken salad to serve. He also has a pimiento cheese recipe from Amanda’s godmother.
“I used to be a fireman,” Sam McGee said. “I have been making that egg and chicken salad for over 40 years. I think I got the egg salad recipe from my mom. They’re all simple recipes.”
Papa Sam’s is proud of having fresh options every day, which separate the deli from some chain or franchise sandwich shops. The father-and-daughter pair make the soups and salads fresh in the morning, and bread is delivered from a local supplier every day. The location also has a drive-thru for convenient, fast service.
“We started with three sandwiches that were inspired by the Inn-Between,” Sam McGee said. “We added some soups to have more variety, and the girls from Nest Feathers wanted some other sandwiches.”
Lynn Tankersley, Amanda’s godmother, developed a unique pimiento cheese recipe to add to the menu. It has been popular ever since.
“It’s a cheddar base with pecan, jalapeno and some other secret ingredients,” Sam said.
The spot also has a soup of the day, ranging from cheddar potato to creamy wild rice with mushroom. Sam and Amanda created the soup recipes together, and Amanda said she hopes to expand the variety soon.
“I have been thinking about some new soup recipes,” Amanda said. “I want to have some new kinds for summer.”
Her ideas are always popular with regular customers. Some are ready to try the new dishes, and some stick to trusted favorites.
“We are here two times a week,” regular customer Christine Edge said Monday afternoon. “We always get roast beef combos. I’ll switch back and forth between chips and soup. My favorite is the creamy wild rice with mushroom.”
Edge and her husband, Bart, stumbled on the shop when they were shopping in the boutique for gifts more than three years ago.
“We just decided we would try it, and we got hooked on the sandwiches,” Bart said. “I’ve tried a variety of things. I’m partial to roast beef, but the pimiento cheese is amazing.”
Recently, Sam has allowed Amanda to have more control over the shop, leading to some new popular items on the menu.
“We started selling cupcakes about two weeks ago,” she said.
Amanda began baking for her son’s first birthday, but she got more serious about sweet treats two years ago. Now she makes Key lime, strawberry and s’mores cupcakes for the shop.
“I really just find a recipe, try it and fix it,” she said. “I have a feel for the chemistry of baking.”
The Edges were some of the first people to try her cupcakes, which have been selling as fast as she bakes them each day.
“I really like the strawberry because it’s not as rich,” Bart said.
Millie Corder, one of Nest Feathers’ employees, is a frequent customer of Amanda’s and recommends the cupcakes to everyone.
“The Key lime will just drive you crazy,” she said. “And just when you think nothing could be better, you have the strawberry one.”
The shop and boutique work well together since Papa Sam’s is open for lunch, one of the busiest times of day.
“Some people come to shop, and they’ll eat,” he said. “Others come to eat, and they’ll shop.”