Sammy’s Snack Shack: A good thing going on for 10 years

Mystery Diner • Jul 26, 2013 at 5:12 PM

I am not normally known for my handyman skills. Jobs involving anything more complicated than changing the roll on the toilet paper dispenser tend to wind up at the bottom of my To-Do list, unless they meet my “Clear and Present Danger” criteria.

This involves “Danger” to me personally, which is forcefully expressed in terms that are not only “Clear” (as in “You will …”) but delivered in the “Present” tense, (as in “NOW.”)

A recent task so-defined found my dining partner joining me on a Saturday supply run to the north Johnson City Lowe’s store. We’d brought along a husky and vigorous grandnephew as the trip’s required muscle. Forty minutes later, as we exited with our purchases, my dining partner remarked upon my longing eye cast toward a sign that read “Cold Lemonade,” a siren song for anyone on a hot day. The sign was posted on Sammy’s Snack Shack, a spotlessly clean white food trailer that has been serving the public outside Lowe’s for the better part of 10 years.

Owner Sammy Osborne sees that his Snack Shack offerings are simple, tasty and easy to handle. This last is most important as Osborne’s clientele are likely to be juggling sacks filled with tile grout, bug spray and cabinet fixtures. In our case, it was plumbing fixtures, sandpaper and mulch (always mulch).

The Snack Shack menu is conveniently posted next to the order window. My grandnephew chose a Sammy’s Chili Dog ($1.75) adding ketchup. I ordered my lemonade (normally $2 for 16 oz.) as part of a Bratwurst Combo: a brat on a bun, bag of chips and a drink, regularly $4.50 but $5.50 with the lemonade upgrade.

My dining partner wanted something really yummy and something else really cold to combat her hunger and the day’s heat and humidity, so she decided on a Barbecue Sandwich combo with chips and drink ($5) and a small-sized grape Hawaiian Ice ($1) to cool off.

Osborne suggested that she try the “Batman” flavor, which had a much darker color and more grape flavor than the standard model. I was about to ask if it had chunks of real Batman in it and were they fresh, but a warning look from my partner slammed my trap shut for me.

My turn came moments later when a slyly smiling Osborne, (who could give mischief lessons to Loki) made my partner hum the “Batman” TV show theme while he assembled the confection for her.

Once prepared, my partner contentedly sampled some cold slurps of her dark creation while waiting for her barbecue sandwich, still idly humming the “Batman” theme.

Our orders appeared in due course. As usual, we all had some of each other’s. The chili dog tasted great, hot dog done to a turn, the chili with just the right amount of chili spice to it and best of all, no beans. My partner’s barbecue sandwich appeared to be constructed of shredded pork rather than pulled, a minor point to be sure. The barbecue sauce was ketchup- and molasses-based with a hint of yellow mustard and onion for body; tasted pretty good, too. My partner added an order of coleslaw ($1) to make it really special.

My brat on a bun was hefty, made up of a rough-ground mixture of beef, veal and spices that gave it a pleasing pinkish-beige appearance. I had mine with brown deli mustard and some fresh-chopped onions, all very nice with the ice-cold lemonade.

Sammy’s has nachos with cheese starting at $3.25 (chili extra) and a Corn Dog combo that will get you two of Sammy’s corn dogs, a bag of chips and a drink for five bucks. All in all, Sammy and his Snack Shack have a good thing going.

Sammy’s Snack Shack

180 Marketplace Blvd.

Open 7 days a week,

11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cash & Checks only

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