Duke Sandwich Company

You’d never guess it if you were just passing through, but few restaurants in Greenville are as closely linked to our city’s history as the Duke Sandwich Company. Established in 1917, the inspiration for this iconic local eatery began when a resident by the name of Eugenia Duke began making and selling sandwiches to soldiers serving in the Great War who were stationed near Greenville. From the very beginning, Duke’s sandwiches were all made with spreads that had been prepared using a Duke family recipe mayonnaise.

If you have spent much time in this region of the country, you probably are well acquainted with the Duke brand mayonnaise that still carries the very same family name from its headquarters in neighboring Mauldin, SC. Eugenia eventually sold her recipes to an entrepreneur who developed a wholesale business carrying Duke brand sandwich spreads, and Duke sandwich’s quickly became a common snack for the workers of the many textile mills that once drove our region’s economy.

By the time that the current Duke’s restaurant was opened during the 1960s, the brand had become a household name, and this local restaurant has been one of the most popular lunch restaurants in Greenville ever since. A lot has changed since the day that Eugenia Duke once sold over 10,000 sandwiches in one day to hungry US soldiers and local residents, including the local restaurant scene. In an era in which there are more high concept and ethnic restaurants in town than BBQ joints and diners, there’s something comforting in the fact that the Duke Sandwich Company is still serving the same sandwiches, spreads and soups that so many of southern parents and grandparents used to fix for their families in days long past.

Most of the items on the Duke Sandwich Company’s menu range between $2 to $5 dollars, and a little over a buck will get you all of the sweat tea that you can drink. This is very much a what-you-see-is-you-get kind of establishment, and you’ll find that the staff is a little too busy during the lunch rush for much hand’s on customer service. Some of the most popular menu items include the Duke pimento cheese, Duke original salad spread and baked ham spread sandwiches.

There’s no doubt that Duke’s isn’t for everyone, but this place should be considered required dining for anyone with an interest in Greenville’s history and a healthy respect for a simple meal.

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