Our good friend Helen complains that she is overweight, and that, instead of a T-shirt that reads “Body By Jake,” she needs one that reads “Body By Stanlieo’s.” She protests that when she went to college, she and her friends were regulars at this iconic sandwich shop, and that too many of their Kitchen Sink sandwiches are what did her in. Naturally, I had to try one of these.
After our first two stops in Decatur, we returned to Huntsville and spent a few hours at Early Works, the local children’s museum. It reminded me a little bit of the one in Oak Ridge TN, in that it was geared toward slightly older elementary school-age kids with a focus on local history more than “power of play” simple science, but our four year-old found lots to do all the same. We had fun for a couple of hours, but it’s the sort of thing he might enjoy more when he’s seven or eight years old. The great thing about traveling with our kid on an eating tour is that finding someplace like this for him to focus his energies on gives us the chance to let our food settle.
A few hours later, we told him that we needed to leave, because it was time to go meet Helen at Stanlieo’s, which has been serving up these awesome sandwiches for forty-five years. By chance, we happened to arrive in time to meet Stanlieo’s original owner, Glenn Watson, who was waiting outside the restaurant that he founded with Howard Stanley in 1971 to meet a friend. He told us that, after all these years of local success, they were finally franchising. The first out-of-town Stanlieo’s, slightly renamed for ease of spelling, Stanleo’s, opened last month on Walton Way in Augusta GA. Helen admonished Glenn for making her fat – her words, dear readers – and then we went inside to survey the beast that destroyed her figure.
In the photo above, we made a Frankenstein’s monster from the beast. The Kitchen Sink, made with a pound of meats and vegetables – including cubed tomatoes, pickles, and onions – can be served hot or cold. Marie and I split a hot sub, half of which is on the left, and Helen had a cold one, half of which is on the right. She took the other half of hers home; nobody needs to eat a full-sized Kitchen Sink in one sitting unless they plan to complain about it thirty years later.
This sandwich is fantastic, and I loved the diced vegetables. I would totally have eaten such a beast all the time when I was in school; Stanlieo’s reminded me. in all the best ways, of Steverino’s in Athens, or the original Locos, before they started franchising. It’s a dive, pure and simple, which radiates old charm and no-frills basics. It’s why I love going to the Baldinos in Marietta. It’s a great place to meet up with pals or take a book and enjoy a great big, tasty sandwich for not much money, although honesty compels me to say that as much as I love the Sicilian at Baldinos, the Kitchen Sink is really the superior sandwich.
Above, the restaurant as it appears today, and, below it, its original home in the building next door. Glenn, who has passed ownership of the restaurant down to his daughter Connie Ward, couldn’t remember what the building had originally been constructed for beyond it being an ice cream shop. He didn’t think it had been a Tastee-Freez. I’m not half the expert I’d like to be; do any of you recognize that shape of sign, or the rooftop spire?
Anyway, this is the store on Jordan. There’s a second location on Governor’s Drive, and now the first franchise, out in Augusta. I hope that the new team in Georgia gets the Kitchen Sink perfectly right. If they do, our friends and readers in Richmond County have a real treat in store for them.
Other blog posts about Stanlieo’s Sub Villa:
Do you enjoy classic adventure TV? I’m reliving some great shows from my own childhood with my four year-old son. Come join the fun at Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time!