New sub shop owners

SANDWICH MAMAS — Kaleena Soto and Mandy Wilson pose for a photo behind the counter at Smoky Mountain Sub Shop in Waynesville, which they recently purchased from the owners of J-Ro’s Burgers in Canton.

A duo of former dental workers has purchased Smoky Mountain Sub Shop, bringing with them a few new ideas for the longstanding Waynesville eatery.

Mandy Wilson and Kaleena Soto said they met as coworkers at a local dental office, and combined efforts to pursue a shared dream of becoming restaurateurs, dubbing themselves The Sandwich Mamas and acquiring Smoky Mountain Sub Shop at 29 Miller St.

“We decided to keep the name of the shop, but our registered legal name is Sandwich Mamas,” Wilson said. “It’s always been a dream for me to own something like a wing bar, but then this came available.”

The sub shop’s former owners, Robert Kuhhirte and Randy O’Quinn, still own J-Ro’s Burgers in Canton, and said they sold their Waynesville restaurant to focus on expanding business in Canton.

With a combined total of more than 30 years in dentistry, plus several years of experience in the food service industry, the Sandwich Mamas said not too much will change for customers at Smoky Mountain Sub Shop, which first opened in 1993.

“It’s still the Smoky Mountain Sub Shop that customers are used to,” Soto said. “We know that they built something good because it’s been here for 20-plus years, so we know what they were doing was working.”

Vegan and vegetarian options have been expanded at the sub shop, along with added gluten-free and dairy-free options for customers with dietary restrictions. For another change, sandwich specials now rotate daily under the new ownership, rather than monthly.

“We probably will venture out and do other stuff,” Wilson said. “Beer, bottled wine and wings in the future.”

Store hours are the same for now, although weekend hours might be extend once wine, beer and chicken wings are added to the menu.

“We just want the customers to know that we are here,” Soto said. “We’re not going anywhere.”

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