Galloway Sandwich Shop
Galloway's isn't about sandwiches but delicious, Southern soul food
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., Sept. 19, 2008
Galloway Sandwich Shop1914 E. 12th, 482-0757
No credit cards
Just down from the northeast corner of 12th and Chicon, past the White Swan Lounge and the barbershop, and a block from Sam's BBQ to the east sits Galloway Sandwich Shop. There is a parking lot on the east side, and you enter through double doors with big glass windows to find seven tables, a cash-register counter, and a steam-table, cafeteria-style serving line. That's your first hint: It's not about sandwiches, as the name of the restaurant might suggest, but the soul-food treasures lurking under that cloud of steam.
Proprietor Stephen Galloway runs the show with his charming mom, Laverne, close at hand. "We all cook," says Galloway, "and I learned how from mom and my grandmother. Now that woman could cook." Open for 10 years, the restaurant serves breakfast (a handwritten menu is taped to the counter), a few sandwiches, and down-home, Southern-style lunch. You saunter up to the counter, grab your silverware from the tray, and see what's on offer that day. The menu changes daily on a rotating basis (call ahead if you're curious). A more than ample platter of a meat and two sides with a cornbread muffin runs $6.50.
There are always two meat choices (unless it's barbecue day, when there are four: brisket, ribs, sausage, and chicken) and at least three sides. A recent meal had us swooning. Golden-crusted chicken-fried chicken was moist with a nicely spiced coating, topped with rich, brown gravy loaded with sweet onion. Beef enchiladas were plump with spicy beef, cheese-topped, and kissed with a nice chile con carne sauce. Sides were perfectly cooked broccoli in cheese sauce, zesty red beans and rice, and diced turnips with turnip greens. The slightly sweet cornbread muffin was heavenly when soaked in the turnip greens pot liquor.
Another trip had us eating wonderful chicken, served bone-in, with light, thin, hand-rolled dumplings. Accompanying were delicious smothered pork chops in brown gravy (they have a real touch of finesse with the gravy). Sides were black-eyed peas, creamed corn, spinach with bacon, and orange-glazed sweet potatoes. All good. Look for mains like fried chicken, fried catfish, braised beef tips, meat loaf, and a sliced roast beef that reminds friends of mine of Sunday lunches as children. Sides run the gamut from mustard or collard greens, green beans, mashed potatoes, and stewed okra to mac and cheese and more.
As full as you are, always save a bit of room for dessert. They do one each day (unless there are some leftovers from the day before, in which case there might be two). I've had a luscious, chocolate marble cake with fudge frosting and ice cream and a sweet-potato pie that ranks up there in the royalty of local piedom (available Wednesdays). Friends have gushed about the banana pudding (Thursdays) and the granddaddy of Southern desserts, peach cobbler (Fridays). Drinks are the only letdown: water, tea, and punch.
Stephen, Laverne, and staff couldn't be any nicer or friendlier. The picture windows in front afford a captivating view of the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood goings-on: perfect for people-watching. The food is absolutely satisfying, especially if it's the kind of chow that you grew up on. For me, it's very easy to sit behind a huge plate of Galloway's vittles and drift back to the glory days of soul food at the Southern Dinette in the 1970s. It's that good, and I will return, frequently.