Wow! Sadlack’s is officially history!
Back in 1975 when Dr. Frank Sadlack took possession of
a quintessential Southern Mom-and-Pop corner cafe equipped
with little round stools in front of a black laminate counter
with snap on metal trim where the Sheriff came for coffee and
sticky buns, a real sandwich shop was quite the innovation
Raleigh was still a pretty sleepy place where the streets rolled
up at sunset and Edwards Grocery Store at the corner of
Oberlin and Hillsborough had enough foot traffic from NC State
students to make a decent income from the sale of canned goods
and fresh fruit and toothpaste.
In those days restaurants were few and far between in Wake county
and health inspectors had enough time to come around to inspect each
individually once a month.
Food scraps were dumped into a 55 gallon trash can and collected
by a local hog farmer to feed his livestock.
Frank Sadlack thought Hillsborough Street was ready for a full
fledged sandwich shop to serve the students and clerical staff
over on campus and by gosh was he ever right! With fresh bread
baked daily at Cameron Village Bakery to his super secret
proprietary specification and cold cut meats sliced super thin
deli style onsite in the back room his Submarine Sandwich was the
talk of the town. Assembled while you waited with fresh lettuce,
tomatos, onions, a squirt of mayonnaise or mustard, and sprinkled
with a pepper can filled with an eclectic mixture of spices his
sandwiches caught the imagination of administrator and undergraduate
Soon there were two separate phone lines at the end of the counter used
to take delivery orders to campus dormitories. State workers
from downtown would pick up lunch orders for their entire office.
Visitors who stayed at the John Yancy Motel had but to cross the street
to get a good hearty sandwich which they could eat in their room or
outside the shop under the stars at one of half a dozen concrete
Then came Frank’s next idea- bagels. Fresh from New Yawk City some guy
in a big vintage Cadillac filled his trunk with bags of bagels when
he made a business trip every week. Bagels and cream cheese, who the
heck had ever eaten anything like that? They weren’t donuts and they
weren’t sandwiches. They were something completely different.
And THEN came cheese cake. $1.25 per thin slice back in 1975! Baked
by a wild cat entrepreneur who rented pizza ovens from a pizza shop
down the street at 4 AM these cheesecakes were the real deal.
Real Philadelphia Cream Cheese, real butter, real graham cracker crust,
there was nothing else like it in the city or probably even the State.
Sure, nowadays a fella can go to Subway or Quisno’s or Which Wich and
get fine fare of the sandwich variety but Frank was the first in Raleigh
and he was a genuine original.
Hasta la vista Sadlack’s Heroes!