Owners: Russ and Sara Holmes, of Signal Mountain
Opened in: 2002, after Russ, previously a computer programmer, had trouble finding a job following the Y2K scare. The mountain didn't have a sub shop then, and the Holmeses considered opening a franchise of a well-known sub chain. But the chain already had a store nearby and wouldn't allow them to open another so close, so they decided to open their own independent restaurant. They took over the lease of the Papa John's next to Pruett's that was going out of business. "It's one of the best places on Signal Mountain," Sara said, adding that the line of customers was out the door their first two days in business.
Family business: Russ and Sara worked behind the line making sandwiches all day those first few years, and still work in the shop regularly. "Russ tells his corny jokes to everyone; the kids love that," said Sara, adding that their children, then home-schooled teenagers, worked at the shop as well. "It could have been a reality show." Current manager Summer Schieffer is like family, having worked at the shop for the past 12 years, Sara said.
Popular picks: While the majority of customers order turkey subs — the restaurant slices all its meats, cheeses and veggie toppings in-house — other best-sellers include the homemade vegetable soup, chili, pimiento cheese and the Reuben, made using homemade rye bread.
Food for the soul: The restaurant regularly rallies the community around worthy causes, including collecting Angel Tree donations for children in need each Christmas, and giving students in the Comprehensive Development program at Signal Mountain High School the opportunity to get work experience at the store. Annually throughout the month of August, 517 collects donations of new shoes and socks for orphans and other vulnerable children worldwide to be distributed through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls.
Location: 1238 Taft Highway, Suite 184
Hours: Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.