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Sam’s Place deli exists because of a drunken craving

Photo of a sandwich available at Sam's Deli, by Keila MacPherson.
Photo of a sandwich available at Sam’s Place, by Keila MacPherson.

Sam’s Place deli is located at 188 Hunter St., right in the heart of Peterborough’s café district. So what makes this one sandwich shop stand out amongst our saturated restaurant population in Peterborough? Well, the food is locally sourced, the price is just right, and it’s delicious!

Established on September 16, 2010, the inception of this deli came about in a drunken conversation between two friends. Both working at prominent local bars at the time, The Only Café and The Pig’s Ear, Sam Sayer and Dan Fitchko mused over the lack of places to get a good sandwich. “Basically, Sam’s exists because of Dan’s drunk craving for a smoked meat sandwich,” Sayer tells Arthur.

Thus began Sam’s Deli, where what used to be a Simply Sushi, you can now get a smoked meat sandwich in a warm and comfortable atmosphere sure to keep you coming back. Whenever I discover a new favourite eatery downtown, I tend to reflect back on my first year at Trent University, where I had secluded myself to a selection from George and Parkhill.

Not that there is anything wrong with a sub once in a while, but if you ever wondered where your food is coming from – the meat, the bread, the vegetables – there are places in town where you can ensure what you’re eating hasn’t been FedEx-ed overnight in a bag to be reheated later.

Sam’s Deli is one of those places that prides itself in supporting local food providers. The meat is sourced from Otonabee Meat Packers, brought to the shop and smoked. All the meat, even the bacon, which is sliced right from the pork belly, is prepared fresh in house. So are the soups, the salads, and the perogies. That’s right; if you are ever craving homemade perogies, look no further than the little deli that does it all.

The deli currently employs only three people and goes the extra mile to get that local product. “Our bread comes from Kawartha Wholesale Bakery three times a week so it’s always fresh. We like them because they are also preservative free.”

So what is it about their sandwiches that are so good? From smoking the meat to piling it in generous amounts, the balance of flavors and combinations are various and plentiful. The menu ranges from the classics to creative twists on the everyday sandwich, and whether you are a meat eater, vegetarian, or vegan there is a sumptuous sandwich in store for your palate accompanied by the most beautiful pickle you will ever munch on.

Sam’s Deli has a special place in the community for being a supporter of local artists and organizations. During PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and United Way’s annual community- wide fundraisers, the Deli donates 25 percent of their sales. They are also huge supporters of local theatre and the ReFrame Film Festival.

Sometimes they’ll name a sandwich after a local band, such as the I, The Mountain 2.0. They have Mike and Kris Taylor sandwiches named after the owners of Otonabee Meat Packers. Sam’s also doesn’t serve any alcohol, making it a great place for a weekly lunch, kid’s party, or even a catered event! Some families have started a tradition of returning for birthday parties at Sam’s after a couple of mothers have gone into labour at the restaurant.

“We’ve had regulars since day one, and I remember the first thing we sold and who we sold it to,” says Sayer. “Coming from a family where our dinner to look forward to was meat on a bun, I hope that the people I care about will grow up with this food.”

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