Tallmadge -- There's plenty of comfort food on the menu at Sammie's Bar and Grill, which opened at 498 South Ave. Oct. 14.
Longtime Tallmadge residents David and Lynn DeLapa named the new eatery after their daughter, Samantha.
The menu includes burgers, sliders, spaghetti and meatballs and chicken and meatloaf. The DeLapas claim their homemade meatballs are "the best in town." Sammie's sauces are also made from scratch, and their meats are fresh, not frozen.
"We sell bologna sliders with cream cheese on a pretzel bun," said David. "And we have guys who say it's the best sandwich -- like when their mom made it for them and they haven't had one in 50 years."
"We want to attract families," said Lynn, who previously worked as a dental technician. "I don't want it to be like a college bar -- I want people to come in and sit down at the bar and relax."
In addition to the bar, the DeLapas made room for a patio with seating for about 60 people, which Lynn said is a good place for customers to enjoy a drink or have a smoke, and a party room which could hold around 40. The restaurant also features a lounge with a fireplace and a general dining room.
The DeLapas credit the "warm vibes" of their restaurant to their designer and landlord, Bob Atrobius.
Atrobius, who has built many houses in Tallmadge over the past 40 years, is now "Bob the Builder." He gave Sammie's a barn type of feel with warm colors and antique accents. The historic theme is evidenced by David's fascination with collecting newspapers. Some of these newspapers are on display, like one from when the Indians lost the World Series.
"It's a throwback to the past and history," he said. "I like big, bold headlines with big pictures that make you wanna stop and say 'man, that's cool.'"
David, who has been in the restaurant business for 40 years, working at Lil' Joes Pub and more recently at Longhorn Steakhouse, said it's been his dream to open his own place.
"I've wanted my own restaurant since I was a pot-washer back in the '70s. It's just something I've always wanted to do and now that I'm pushing retirement [age], I might as well flip burgers, pour beers and talk to people."
The DeLapas said they hope to start catering in the near future and eventually open a chain of Sammie's restaurants.
"That's my first dream, part of my bucket list," said David. "I want to try to build a chain, but I've got to focus on this for now. It's going to take a couple of years ... I've just got to take it one step at a time."
The DeLapas are working on creating more specials, but currently feature an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner on Wednesday nights for $9.95. Closing hours are not set in stone, but Sammie's opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon on Sunday.