PLAINFIELD, IL — Smack dab in the middle of downtown Plainfield, on Lockport Street, an Italian eatery quietly opened Monday morning. With no formal announcement or advertisements, Big Sammy’s is hoping to usher in both customers and success.
A young business occupying prime real estate — the restaurant sits between Krema Coffee House and Coldwell Banker — Big Sammy’s is already doing both. Within its first three days of being open, Big Sammy’s averaged about 225 customers a day. Many have been friends of owners Sam Scianna and Mike Majers, while others may have heard about the place on Facebook or noticed it strolling down Lockport.
“It’s unbelievable the response we’re getting,” Majers told Patch, adding the restaurant doesn’t yet have a website or availability on delivery platforms.
“I’m amazed in the three days the amount of business,” added Scianna, who said he worked as a chef out of high school. “We wanted to start out slow.”
Both residents of Plainfield for more than two decades, Majers and Scianna have been talking about opening a classic Italian eatery for years. The concept — selling homemade subs, pasta, pizza by the slice and gelato — is one they said they felt was missing from Plainfield.
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“Everyone says the same thing: ‘Glad a place like this is here,'” Majers said. “There are a lot of restaurants and they’re all good, but fast food compared to what we make is different for the price point. Everything is fresh.”
“We don’t use anything that’s cheap,” Scianna added and continued to say, “I feel like we’re a step above. You would get this food in fine Italian restaurants.”
Big Sammy’s does old-school recipes to serve in an old neighborhood. Before even stepping foot into the restaurant, visitors are made aware of this by a phrase etched into a side window: “Just like the old neighborhood.”
It’s not only Big Sammy’s interior design — with wine red-painted walls, black granite countertops and old black and white photograph displays — that’s reminiscent of traditional Italian eateries. It’s a family affair, too. Owners said their children and family members pitch in, be it with cooking (Scianna’s wife and her sister work to bring recipes to life in the kitchen), serving customers, or fixing the system when it malfunctions.
Unlike some other restaurants lining Lockport Street, hungry guests can venture into Big Sammy’s, place their order and walk out in a quarter of an hour, the owners said.
3 To satisfy a variety of cravings, the menu offers a variety of sandwiches, subs and paninis, pizza by the slice and pasta. In the dessert department, visitors can choose between gelato and Italian ice flavors.
“We’re Italian, so this is what we know,” Majers said.
As far as what will become of Big Sammy’s legacy, Majers said their landlord believes the restaurant has staying power, and the owners are proud of that.
“Sky’s the limit,” Majers said. “It’s going to be a place everyone talks about.”