Located in downtown historic Winter Garden, Florida, Pammie’s Sammies is a charming neighborhood eatery featuring sandwiches, pizzas, and more. Their goal is to offer unexpected flavor from a familiar, friendly shop, creating a customer experience where everyone feels like family. They are also always on the hunt for new twists on old favorites like their Spicy Pesto Chicken Quesadilla and the Reubenesque Sammie, made with hickory house-smoked corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and whole grain mustard on rye bread.
We spoke recently with owner Pam Thomas about her inspiration behind Pammie’s Sammies and all the things coming up –
Interview with Pam Thomas of Pammie’s Sammies in Winter Garden, Florida
Tasty Chomps: Tell us about your background – how did your career in food begin?
Pam Thomas: Probably when I was about 4 or 5. One summer (I can remember like it was last week) all in the world I wanted was an Easy Bake Oven. One day, after a chicken dinner, my mom asked me if I wanted to pull the wishbone with her. I told her no – I wanted to pull it myself.
We had a screened-in porch out back with a view of the picnic table just beyond. I was convinced that if I believed enough, when I broke that wishbone in half, an Easy Bake Oven would appear on that picnic table. I couldn’t lose! Well of course I was very disappointed when I opened my eyes but learned a hard lesson about selfishness and the power of wishbones.
I did get an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas that year and it sort of started it all. The ovens I own now are anything but “easy bake” but the miracle of a light bulb and cake batter probably started it all. That…and my love of searching for what feeds people’s souls.
What are your favorite memories growing up around food? How did this influence you and the menu at Pammie’s Sammies?
Lou’s (our grandmother) Christmas pickles and fish fries and marshmallow roasts on the banks of the Mississippi River. So very much revolved around mealtimes. Greens, beans and cornbread. Coming home from school to a freezer full of fresh beef mom had picked up at our grandfather’s farm. Dad’s charcoal-grilled hamburgers and tomatoes from his plants behind the storage shed. Growing up in the South where sharing food is a true form of crafting with love.
What are the top 5 most popular dishes at Pammie’s right now?
The best thing on the menu is hospitality! But…
Burgers – my favorite food of all time, our chicken salad, The Three Little Pigs (bacon, ham and pulled pork…the Big, Bad Wolf’s favorite), The Flower Child Salad with edible blooms and of course anything with “-esque” in the name…like Cubanesque…hickory smoked pulled pork instead of the oven-roasted variety.
What were some challenges you faced opening in the middle of a pandemic in 2020 and how did you overcome them?
Mercy! We opened the day they shut down the state with a little take-out window. It was terrifying but that is what kept me going. Everyone was losing their income and quite honestly their minds and I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone on my team feeling like I did. We were a tiny dot of sanity where people could grab something prepared safely, “normalish” and comforting – without ANY social agenda.
We just kept swimming and inventing.
What are some of your passions outside of food?
I am a “maker”. I love crafting, repurposing and inventing things. I don’t limit myself and I have a crazy good imagination. I love music and spending time with my husband, daughter, family and friends.
I’m very passionate about doing what makes my heart sing and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
What are some things you are involved in in the community? Why is that important to you?
Our mom was an elected county official until she retired and continues to serve and love her community. I suppose I am somewhat following in her footsteps by always looking for ways to get more plugged into our community without electrocuting myself. I’m a Believer and Truth Seeker with the fire to serve from the heart. I get the biggest kick out of helping people help themselves and watching them discover their own jam.
What are some upcoming plans as we approach the holidays and new year for Pammie’s?
With this being the (almost) first holiday season after the pandemic, we are sort of just letting it happen. We’ve been catering some parties and events and enjoying the season’s bustle and blessings. We have a lot of CRAZY ideas and plans for 2022 starting in January and will do our very best to get the word out but ADORE spontaneously combusting fun!
What do you love most about being in Winter Garden?
I love the community support and comradery. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas so I know this beautiful beast intimately. In many ways, Winter Garden feels like home.
121 S. Boyd St.
Winter Garden, FL 34787