As its name suggests, Plain & Fancy Sandwich Shoppe can take its customers from one extreme to the other with a menu of healthy salads, sandwiches and soups, to their decadent but oh-so-delicious gourmet desserts. “We have something for the sweet tooth or something for the waistline,” said Sandi Wallace, owner/operator of the establishment located at 120 Main St. “I’ve really expanded the salad end of it. We have a variety of very healthy salad choices from fresh avocado to fiesta salad with beans and corn.”
According to Wallace, the salad plate has always been one of her most popular items on the menu.
“The ladies love the salad plate ’cause they can choose different scoops of chicken salad, tuna, pasta, fruit,” she explained, naming just a few of the options.
On the other end of the spectrum, her gourmet desserts have also become downtown favorites.
“People just crave them,” she emphasized. “And they’re made fresh daily.”
Wallace’s Yummy Cake is an old family recipe that she has added some variation to.
“The Chocolate Yummy is an old, old recipe my grandmother used to make,” she explained. “A lot of people know the recipe, but it does take some time to make with its homemade cookie crust and all.”
The Strawberry Yummy Cake was created by Wallace as an alternative to the chocolate, substituting fresh strawberries and a homemade strawberry glaze.
“I’ve kind of tweaked it and put my own spin on it,” she added.
Other desserts include layered cakes such as Italian crème, carrot cake and, of course, chocolate, as well as cheesecake, brownies and homemade cookies.
The downtown café serves a wonderful variety of sandwiches and soups as well.
Fancy sour dough pileups, Reuben’s, French dips, or classic clubs or grilled cheese can be purchased along with a hot bowl of soup.
“Our menu kind of goes with the weather; on cold rainy days we sell lots of Frito pie,” Wallace said.
Tortilla soup is offered daily, along with a special five days a week, such as potato soup on Monday and chicken gumbo on Friday.
“I have customers that only come on Mondays ‘cause they want the potato soup,” she laughed. “They know which days are what, so I don’t dare switch it.”
Cold weather also brings in lots of coffee drinkers, and Plain & Fancy carries both plain and fancy coffees.
“We have high-end coffees like cappuccinos, lattés — all sorts of flavored coffees,” said Wallace. “I try to think of things people can enjoy when they are walking around the square.”
Which, according to Wallace, is becoming more and more popular with the locals, as well as visitors, due to the Main Street renovations.
“You can just feel the excitement of everyone,” Wallace emphasized.
According to Wallace, a member of the Downtown Business Alliance as well as the Tourism Board, she does not consider the new restaurants coming to the downtown area as competition at all.
“It’s just bringing more people downtown. People will have options, and when they have options, that is when you get the traffic,” she said. “It’s exciting to see all the hard work people have done and everyone is benefiting from it.”
Wallace, recipient of the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce’s 2007 Small Business of the Year Award, went on to say that due to the economic downturn the U.S. is experiencing, more and more people are choosing to stay closer to home, taking day trips or overnight stays in neighboring communities to enjoy what they have to offer.
“People are watching their dollars. They’re looking for inexpensive things to do,” she said. “They are coming from Dallas and the Metroplex with their families. We see them walking around town admiring the courthouse and Main Street, and we’re hoping that just continues to grow. It’s critical that our downtown — and not just downtown, but our whole town and businesses — do well.”
Some menu items may seem a tad pricey at the sandwich shop, according to Wallace, but customers can expect the highest quality of deli meats and the freshest ingredients available.
“I serve high quality everything. I will not compromise,” she emphasized. “I’m not doing the customers any favors if I change my quality, or let employees go, and then service becomes slow. That won’t work.
“One thing I have found out is that my sausage biscuit and a large drink are cheaper than Whataburger’s,” she added. “So it evens out.”
Wallace said she does what she can to keep prices fair to the customers while at the same time making sure she can pay her own bills as well as the salaries of her employees.
“It’s tough on everybody right now in these economic times. Being a small sandwich shop, we don’t have all the benefits like if you worked for someone else,” Wallace said. “What we have is the pressure of our employees and their livelihood. That’s on our shoulders.”
Wallace said in the 12 years that she has been in business, many of her employees and customers have become like family.
“We’ve cried, laughed and even prayed together — that’s something you couldn’t do in a big corporation,” she said.
It’s an atmosphere that carries over to the events they cater.
“I’ve seen the progression of families through heartaches and joy doing their weddings, showers, reunions and then funerals,” Wallace said. “They do become like family, and we genuinely care about each other. That’s one of the joys of living in a small town.”
Plain & Fancy is open Monday-Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Deliveries are made daily from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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