Steamboat Sandwiches on Shallowford Road in Chattanooga, Tennessee is a great place to get excellent sandwiches at amazing prices during the workday!
As I type this, I am already lamenting the fact that my spring break is nearly over. As you read this, I will already be back to work, no longer able to pull off the whole “full-time blogger” charade. I’m not complaining, just stating facts. One of the nice things about breaks, though, is the fact that it gives me the opportunity to eat at restaurants that are usually closed when I’m not at work. I don’t get many opportunities to eat at restaurants during my workdays; I’m lucky to have time to eat lunch at all. Itinerant staff problems.
I asked my Facebook friends for some suggestions of places that are not open on nights and weekends. I got several suggestions, some of which I’d already tried…then the winner. One friend suggested that we try Steamboat. A friend from work had recently had a Steamboat sandwich in the office and was gushing about how good their house-made bread and egg salad were. I made a mental note that I needed to eat there at some point and moved on, unsure of whether Steamboat still had a location on Shallowford Road or if I would have to go downtown and deal with paid parking in order to check it out.
Good news: the Shallowford Road location of Steamboat Sandwiches is indeed still open, hence plenty of free parking. It was around 1:00 when we arrived and, while I wouldn’t say it was crowded, there was still a steady stream of folks coming in to get their sandwich fix. The whole operation is unbelievably efficient. They have a small menu – 13 sandwiches (or build your own), a handful of sides, brownies, and cookies. You step up, tell the man at the counter what you want, he circles it with a dry erase marker on a laminated card, and he sticks it up for the lady who makes the sandwiches to see. Our sandwiches were ready before we finished getting our drinks. That, my friends, is what we call speedy service.
I decided that I needed to try the pimento cheese, as I’ve kind of made it my mission in life to try pimento cheese pretty much anywhere that I can find it homemade. I stayed simple, with just lettuce and tomato (no condiments or additional toppings), since I think that pimento cheese really does stand on its own. Too much more makes for a pretty goopy sandwich. I have to say, I was quite impressed. The pimento cheese was very simple – just shredded cheddar, pimentos, and mayonnaise – but delicious in its simplicity. It worked so well with the amazing bread, which is fresh-baked daily and so gloriously soft. It’s perfect for squishy fillings but not so soft that you feel like you’re eating dough (a common complaint that Philip has about a lot of white breads). The lettuce is shredded, which really does make for an easier sandwich-eating experience, since you don’t have to worry about pulling the entire leaf off of your sandwich. I got the combo, which includes chips and a drink. They had Salt and Vinegar Lay’s, so I was happy. They also have orange-flavored sweet tea, which does not taste like it has orange juice in it but rather orange Kool-aid or Tang or some other orange flavoring agent…and we loved it. I noticed that on Tuesdays and Thursdays you get a free brownie or cookie with your combo, so I was kind of sad that we didn’t wait until Thursday to go!
Philip decided to order the specialty, the Steamboat sandwich. The Steamboat includes smoked ham, Genoa salami, pork roast, Swiss cheese, special sauce, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and pickles. We heard several people ordering the Steamboat as they came in, so it’s obviously pretty popular. I tasted it and it was a great combination of flavors…I mean, how can you really go wrong with three variations of pork on the same sandwich? Philip really liked the special sauce and was trying to figure out what it was as he worked his way through the sandwich, ultimately deciding that he thought it tasted like Buffalo sauce. Like me, he thought the bread was excellent and that it definitely gave the sandwich an edge.
After we left, I decided to put a photo that I had taken on Instagram. I looked up Steamboat Sandwiches and realized that there was a location in Knoxville. As I read the website, I realized that it’s a small chain/franchise operation. Just FYI, that still fits into Chattavore guidelines…as long as it’s a small operation I’m good with it, particularly considering that it’s regional. Because of the hours, it’s unlikely that I’ll be going to Steamboat very often, but at $13 for two sandwich combos, this place has great prices on excellent food and it’s worth a visit when you have time.
Steamboat Sandwiches is located at 5950-C Shallowford Road (at Polymer Drive). They are open 10:30-3:00 Monday-Friday. You can call them at 423-499-6355. There is another location (I am not sure if they are owned by the same franchisee) downtown at 812 Broad Street. They are open 10:30-2:00 Monday-Friday and can be reached at 423-756-8388.