I love a good small business success story, especially if it’s a family business. The Antique Sandwich Company on Tacoma’s North Pearl Street is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. The business, started in 1973 by sisters-in-law Tamie Herridge and Shirley Herridge and their mother Arlene, was later joined by Dick Meyer, owner of Traditions Cafe in Olympia. The community is invited to a celebration of their 40 years of business this Saturday, August 24, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Forty years is a long time for any business to continue on, but especially a restaurant, which faces stiff competition, rising food costs and a whole host of other factors that make keeping the doors open a difficult task. Antique Sandwich Company has not only survived, but flourished, maintaining a customer base that keeps coming back for their homemade pies, giant milkshakes, freshly made cinnamon rolls and sandwiches.
“When we first started, we were finding our way,” said co-owner Tamie Herridge. “We just thought it would be really fun to have a coffeehouse where people could get together over a good cup of coffee. We were the first business to have an espresso machine in Tacoma, and a cup of coffee in 1973 was 19 cents.”
From coffee to patron favorites like the whole wheat waffles, steamed scrambled eggs (yes, steamed — and delicious!), to sardine sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly with homemade jam, it’s the simple, yet thoughtful food that keeps people coming back. Their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus (below, click to enlarge) tell of straightforward food, done right. Compare their current menus to an old menu, and you’ll still see many of the items still available.
“Over time we realized that we could cook food for the restaurant like we did at home, healthy, homey, and with good ingredients,” Tamie said. “We cut out sugar and white flour and still cook everything with honey and whole wheat flour to this day.”
According to Tamie, the key to their success is their inviting atmosphere, which has been a haven for the community to meet, perform or enjoy a meal.
“We see people daily who have been coming in here for 30 to 40 years” she said. “We still have kids playing on the stage with the toys, some of those kids and the kids of kids who played on that same stage. We still have people eating out in the garden with their pups. We still serve giant milkshakes and delicious food. And we still host community events like the Open Mic every Tuesday evenings, like we have been for the last 35 years, as well as other community events.”
The interior of the cafe is homey and relaxed, with roomy tables and tapestries hanging on the walls. Their outdoor “Garden of Eatin'”, surrounded by honeysuckle, isn’t a bad place to sit back and relax either.
Join the Antique Sandwich Company in celebrating their 40 years this weekend. If you haven’t been by in a while, stop by for a milkshake, slice of pie or a sandwich. You won’t regret it.
After all, Tamie says it best — “In a way, the Antique belongs to the people who come here. They keep it alive. We keep them fed.”
Antique Sandwich Company | 5102 N Pearl Street, Tacoma | 253-752-4069
Open Monday-Saturday: 7:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Sunday: 8:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Open Mic: Tuesday 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
*All photos courtesy Antique Sandwich Company