Just hearing the word pizza puts a smile on most any American’s face, but locally, or for anyone who has lived in or visited Maine, it is the famous Sam’s Italian sandwich that people rave about. And most will agree that at Sam’s Italian Shoppe, there’s just something special about their fresh, soft roll, tasty pizza and legendary spaghetti.
No wonder one of Sam’s mottos: “You’ve tried the rest … Now try the best!” still stays true to this day.
How did it all begin?
Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shoppe began in 1939 by Sam Bennett, making salami Italian sandwiches in a small shop located near the intersection of Minot Avenue and Elm Street in Auburn. The cement foundation still exists, almost as a plaque in honor of the founder.
It was a simple concept: serve fresh food and show each customer “Courtesy, Quality & Service” as in the store’s motto. And it paid off as Bennett’s business outgrew his first shop very quickly and he moved the shop to Main Street where it still exists today. Bennett greeted each customer with a warm smile and sent them off with: “Thank you, call again!”
Since take-out food was not really introduced until the early 1970s, Bennett was well ahead of the times as mill workers lined up at the Main Street shop to “carry out” a sandwich.
As the business grew, the aroma of Sam’s signature breads was prominent all along Main Street. Downtown neighborhoods woke up to the aroma of fresh rolls and pizza dough baking and the sounds of deliveries being loaded to assure fresh products in all their locations.
With success in mind, Sam’s business plan has always remained devoted to its roots and because of that has expanded and succeeded in the face of an ever-growing national competition. Today, with the opening of its 13th shop at the Mobil Mart on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, Sam’s is truly a part of Maine culture.
Sam’s staff appreciate, as well as take pride in the loyalty of their customers, be their visit once a day, once a week, once a month, or even the countless out-of-state visitors and Mainers returning home who have to make Sam’s their first stop for its unrivaled Italian sandwich.
Loyalty does not just lie with the customers, as Sam’s team feels rewarded with the longevity of its employee family. Many staff members started their first job at Sam’s in their high school years and continued through college, many returning after school to start a career at Sam’s. And the average manager has over 15 years of dedicated employment with the company.
Over the years, the menu has expanded beyond Italians and pizzas, adding a large variety of pasta meals and sides, calzones, wraps, salads, soups, hot subs and a large variety of sandwiches. Even kid’s combo meals are offered along with a breakfast menu of breakfast pizzas, wraps and Sam-n-Eggms.
There is now a full-function catering experience for those who want authentic Italian food for their wedding, banquet or party. Sam’s also offers pick-up platters, finger rolls and hot dishes. And let’s not forget dessert: cream horns, chocolate chip cookies and the famous whoopie pies!
Through four generations of customers, Sam’s motto of “Courtesy, Quality & Service” has never been forgotten. With that in mind, Sam’s team takes great satisfaction in being a part of, and contributing to so many communities and they would like to thank their customers for their part in making their food a popular choice. It is because of each and every one of them that the company is celebrating 75 years of business!
Great customers, a great community and Team Sam’s — a winning combination since 1939.
“Thank you, call again!”