On this day in 1966, Sam’s Gourmet Restaurant opened at the Thruway Shopping Center, in a new section in the lower level of the shopping center.
The restaurant was founded by Sam Pappas, and was so popular in its early days, that seating in the restaurant was increased to accommodate more diners within the first year of operation.
Winston-Salem residents probably experienced their first salad bar at Sam’s Gourmet, when it was introduced as a new feature for the restaurant. It might have been an answer to a problem that the restaurant encountered, and that was the long wait lines, particularly for the business patrons at lunchtime.
Sam was a native of Athens, and came to Winston-Salem in 1956. He had worked as a chef in several states before coming to North Carolina. He worked as a chef at Town Steak House No. 2, before opening his own restaurant.
The restaurant closed in 1990. The Fox and Hound later occupied the space in the shopping center, and it has recently closed.
The photo above shows Sam in his restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.