News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Eats: Sammy T’s: It’s good for you
BY KURT RABIN
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
A reader recently wrote in, requesting that we review a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly place for a change.
Sammy T’s immediately sprang to mind; that downtown Fredericksburg restaurant offers a bounty of dining options for the carnivore and non-carnivore alike.
However, I can clearly recall a time when some diners might have been hard-pressed to use the term “friendly” to describe the eatery’s approach toward customers, no matter their dietary preference. (But, don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining, as you’ll soon see.)
It had been a while since I’d fallen out of the habit of visiting the place that—with its honest food and sensible prices—had become my home away from home when I first moved to Fredericksburg some 20 years ago.
When I returned there with my wife recently on a quiet weeknight, I noted that the décor was just as I remembered: the same Casablanca fans, stamped tin ceiling and anachronistic phone booth, as well as the chalkboard that lists specials that can sometimes seem a bit of a stretch for its cooks.
And, of course, there was still that great view. Looking out the plate-glass windows onto Caroline Street once again brought to mind an afternoon in the mid-1990s when both customers and staff rose to their feet to witness the gushing of a broken water main outside Sammy’s. It didn’t take long before people were three-deep at the windows, gawking at the geyser as if it were the grand opening of a grocery store.
This time, as our server welcomed us and took our orders—Veggie Lasagna ($13) for my wife and the vegetarian Camper Special ($12) for me—we remarked on the prompt, friendly service.
My wife’s lasagna was made from black-bean cakes, fresh mixed greens, onions and cheddar cheese, all wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla, while the Camper Special featured a grilled bean-and-grain-burger mixture wrapped in a tortilla with sautéed veggies and hummus, covered in mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, with lemon tahini sauce on the side. Both were satisfying and quite filling, well worth the tariff.
Next we split a slice of delectable gluten-free chocolate cake ($5) that our server had accurately described as being more like a torte. Hey, who needs gluten as long as you’ve got chocolate, I always say.
The sweet, rich dessert hearkened back to an old standby of mine—the hearty buckwheat pancakes, with bananas inside—from the eatery’s old breakfast menu. Those flapjacks provided sufficient fuel to last till dinner, when often as not I’d be back at Sammy’s for the loaded baked potato and a cup of Brunswick stew, both of which remain on the menu to this day.
My dining partner and I enjoyed our meal at Sammy T’s, a place that remains a personal touchstone, not to mention and a landmark to lovers of good food everywhere.
What: Sammy T’s
Address: 801 Caroline St.
Info: 540/371-2008; Sammyts.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday–Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday–Saturday
Prices: Appetizers: $4–$11; Dinners: $7.50–$14; Children’s menu: $5.50; Desserts: $5; Beer and wine and mixed drinks are available.
The Scoop: Family-friendly, good service, clean, reasonable prices, parking can be a challenge
Payment: Major credit cards are accepted
Kurt Rabin: 540/374-5000