Sammich Food Truck is officially open at Tallman Brewing, 2055 Primrose St. in Lebanon. The famed truck, once featured in Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” in Ashland, serves up Chicago-inspired smoked meat sandwiches, including fan-favorite “Pastrami Zombie.”
“When you go to Simmich, you feel the love for what’s going on,” said Simmich owner Melissa McMillan, aka Chef Mel. “I’m a blue collar guy from Central America, roll up your sleeves and make yourself some kind of girl. This vibe just pours out.
The first Sammich opened in Ashland in May 2013, and a brick-and-mortar location in Portland opened about five years ago.
The Simmich Food Truck was originally scheduled to open in Corvallis, but since the truck was longer than city codes allow, Lebanon was the next stop. A lifelong baseball lover, McMillan said she knew Lebanon was the right place when she spotted Lebanon’s high school baseball team reunited at Tallman Brewing while looking for a new location.
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The truck opened at 11 a.m. Friday and it didn’t take long for people to take notice. During their lunch break, locals made their way to the colorful new truck as McMillan recommended sandwiches and explained Sammich’s story.
“I just hope everyone gives us some time to ride the bull,” McMillan said, placing orders between grocery runs to restock the quickly emptying shelves. “Just give me about two weeks, and we’ll have it all together.”
Mike Evans eats lunch at Tallman Brewing almost every day, and he was one of the first customers to order a “Pastrami Zombie” on opening day. As he took the first bite, the rest of the stuffed sandwich fell onto the plate. But he had enough to know that he would soon become a regular in the truck.
“It’s really good,” Evans said between bites. “Once you bite down, you see there’s a lot of meat in there.”
Rene Camacho, a resident of Lebanon, agreed that the pastrami sandwich was one of the best he’s ever had. He gave it a 9/10 on the sandwich scale, promising to return soon.
Other hot sandwiches on the menu include “Chicago Italian Beef” with giardiniera and seared peppers and “Timbo,” a Chicago cheesesteak served on a toasted baguette with a side of beef jus.
The truck also serves five cold sandwiches: “Tre”, with salami, bologna and prosciutto; “Ashlyn”, with homemade roast turkey and cranberry sauce; “Teagan”, create your own sandwich; “Albacore”, with Oregon Coast tuna salad, pickles and arugula; and “Green Dragon”, a vegetarian option with cheese and vegetables.
McMillan was born in Texas and spent most of her life in Chicago. In Windy City’s absence, she now roasts, smokes, and salts all meat in-house.
“You’re going to get that sports and barbecue vibe,” McMillan said. “We will know your name after twice, your order after four times.”
She’s not giving up on Corvallis, however; Once she’s done coaching baseball for the season, she’ll get back to working to get a truck into Beaver territory.
“I’m just trying to bring back good old America,” she said. “You work hard, you eat well, you get paid.”
Joanna Mann (her) covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be reached at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.