Sammich, not sandwich

A snowbird food truck has come to roost in Hanna for the summer


August 7, 2019

Mike Armstrong

Rial Baxter has a lavender lemonade tea in hand as his wife Tina gets a hot sandwich ready for waiting customers in their food truck in Hanna.

Hanna has a new place to get lunch and dinner. It has been open for less than two weeks and proprietors Rial and Tina Baxter have been pleasantly surprised at their brisk business. Especially since the location of the mobile "Sammich Shop" is not easy to find. But once discovered, customers repeatedly come back.

"It has really surprised me," Tina said. "We are both from this town and, having been raised here, we know Hanna is a small community, so we just hoped to break even. But our lunches and dinners have been so busy, we are selling out."

She attributes the large amount of sales to having so many construction workers in northern Carbon County that were not anticipated.

"Any person who thought there would be no impact only has to come here for lunch and see how busy we are," Tina said.

Rial agreed with his wife.

The Baxters both grew up in Hanna, but moved away when the town had most of its mines closed. Rial and Tina did come back to Hanna in the late 90s, but didn't stay long because the local economy didn't provide jobs.

They went to Arizona.

Tina worked for the Sheriff's department and Rial worked at a nearby mine.

The idea of a running a food truck business occurred when the Baxters realized how little variety of food places there were near the mine.

"My parents used to own the hot dog shop in Saratoga and that had always inspired us to own our own business," Tina said. "But having five kids to raise, it was tough to make the leap."

In 2016, they opened the doors to their food truck in Arizona.

"Boy, when we opened the doors, we were overwhelmed, it was crazy," Tina said. "There just wasn't much around and we were just slammed."

The Baxters started off with a bang, but Tina said the Sheriff's department asked her to come help them out again. The Sammich Shop shut down while she worked because she could not do both.

Once Tina was done working for law enforcement, the Sammich Shop was opened back up for business.

Although the business in Arizona was excellent, the Baxters wanted to come up north to Hanna where they still own homes and spend their summer. They brought their food truck with them with the idea of making a little money.

After getting it inspected and open, they have not stopped being busy.

"We deliver within a 20 mile radius and that has helped," Tina said. "There are a lot of projects going on up here."

Besides the half foot and foot long sandwiches, the Baxters are specialized in teas, homemade lemonades and milkshakes.

They said many people mix their flavored teas with the lemonade. The lavender tea lemonade is extremely popular. The root beer cream and bacon maple pancake are examples of how diverse their milkshake menu is.

The two sandwiches that the Baxters said were their biggest sellers were the Morenci Grinder and the Smokin' Chubby Hubby. The Grinder's main ingredients are ham, Genoa salami, Provolone cheese and their own homemade sauce.

"Our sauces are why people come," Tina said. "They are unique to our shop. The Smokin' Chubby Hubby sauce is a real favorite."

During the Carbon County Fair, the Baxters will have the Sammich Shop at the fairgrounds for all of Carbon County residents to try.

Although Hanna is homebase for their business, they will head to Arizona during winter. Then they will be back.

The Sammich Shop is a true mobile snowbird.

"We have to go back, because our customers in Arizona are sending us messages on Facebook to get back down," Tina said. "We have delivery there, too, and it is funny, other restaurant's employees call us up for food to eat. If you think about it, it is a great compliment."

Some Hanna residents are enjoying Sammich Shop's food while they can.

"I ordered on Wednesday and then Friday," Rose Vaughn, manager of Hanna's branch of RNB State Bank said. "The sandwiches are awesome and the drinks just so good. The prices very reasonable and this week I am actually plotting out which sandwiches I am going to try because I am going to enjoy them while they are here."

Mike Armstrong

The Sammich Shop is a food truck based in Hanna that has been discovered by workers from nearby projects.


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