Sam’s Corner in Clarendon to Close?

by ARLnow.com April 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm 8,673 171 Comments

The mysterious Sam’s Corner deli at 3201 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon may be getting ready to close, according to a tipster.

The no-nonsense, cash-only deli has fascinated some locals with its irregular hours, its general lack of customers, and its ability to remain in business in a high-rent area. But the business may be closing soon after all.

The daughter of the older couple who own the deli has told friends that her parents will be shutting down the restaurant, perhaps by the end of the month, according to our tipster. The owners have simply decided to retire, we’re told.

An emailed request for comment was not returned.

  • AncientHipster

    If you would simply follow their twitter, you’d know when they were going to be open. They’re basically a stationary surprise food truck.

    • Awesome

      Thank you! People need to not worry about things that don’t impact them and not make accusations just to start fights about a business and people they know nothing about, and good for them if they’re retiring, they’re very nice! Glad to see they are sometimes open for the nay-sayers who just “know” they never are.

    • hoooos

      What’s their twitter handle?

    • Southeast Jerome

      And I am sure that a deli shop that is hardly ever opened has super fresh ingredients.

    • karzai

      All they needed to do was to post a little sign in their window explaining that their hours are irregular, and driving customers to a website or a Twitter feed to find out what their hours will be that day. If they had taken even these tiniest, most modest of steps to communicate with their community, all this negative commentary could have been avoided.

      Because the operators’ strategy was to clam up, not communicate, and basically take a “screw you” attitude toward the neighborhood, this negative view of Sam’s operations was inevitable. All it took was a little communication from them.

      The glee at the news they are closing is palpable. Enjoy your retirement.

      • Jack

        Whoa, pump the brakes, Karzai! Somebody pee in your Chai Tea, today? Sam’s was a great place. Well done, Sam! Enjoy retirement.

        • No, it was not a good place because it was never open for the 25 years everyone says it was. Kinda like you are retiring after a long career, but you never really opened your door.

        • karzai

          Because it was virtually never open, it is hard for us to judge whether it was a great place or not. If they had communicated their hours of operations better, it might have been possible to get to know Sam and maybe I and many others in this space would have formed a different opinion.

  • E

    It’s a good piece of real estate, I hope a creative mind can make something productive and busy of it.

    • Greg

      I’m sure it will be converted to a froyo or gelato shop.

  • novasteve

    Oh great, it’s big enough for another mini gastrpub type place….

    • pedant

      apparently not big enough to hold the “o” in a full gastropub though

  • Chris

    I’ve lived in Clarendon for 8 years. Sam has always been extremely friendly and talkative the 6 or 7 times I’ve been there for lunch (I don’t work in the area, so my visits have been infrequent). More talkative than any other local business owner I’ve encountered, frankly. He and his wife built their business long before the high-priced condos arrived, and I think it’s fine for them to operate it, or not, whatever way suits them. Don’t worry, that corner will be developed soon enough and ALL of those businesses will be kicked out. You’ll get your burgers/pizza/yogurt/$9 beers soon enough.

    • VA is for Lovers

      Agreed, Chris. Sam’s Corner has been around well before Clarendon got pretentious.

    • collegeprof

      More talkative than any other local business owner? Is this a complement or complaint?

      When compared to a corporate zombie who dares not to talk nearly at all because of an overbearing fire-happy boss, any non-corporate mom and pop would be seen as more talkative.

      It sounds like they liked what they were doing at the time they wanted to… too bad that there aren’t any more of this type of business owner.

  • T

    Good for them for being in business for so long–almost 25 years. We should congratulate small business owners like them. This is a good news story, except for the speculation garbage. There are too many haters out there that want to try to dig up dirt on people. Let them retire and leave them be.

    • Southeast Jerome

      what speculation garbage are you talking about?

      sorry that people that live in the area are curious about a “business” that is never open?

  • Pete

    RIP Samburger and Philly Cheesesteak. You will be missed.

  • dive

    I’m wondering why no one has built a bar that has the appearance and prices of a dive bar yet. It’s the perfect idea. They make all the people complaining about the snooty establishments think it’s a little dive bar s-hole and have people flock to it that hate the Mad Rose and Spider Kelly establishments in the area.

    • novasteve

      Duh, because this area is full of sissies trend followers. I would just love to see your typical arlingtonian go to a real bar bar in philly suburb or NY. You know, a place that doesn’t serve food other than free buffet during happy hour. They would leave within 10 seconds of walking in because they would have to be with working class people, how horrible!

      • Southeast Jerome

        working class people are the worst. they dont even have a 3-series to drive

        • novasteve

          Actually I think the people turned off by working class are the more pretentious types who drive 1 series BMWs, thinking they’ve made it and are all sophisticated. Can you imagine these people hanging out with people who drive pickup trucks?

          The reason why we have no diver bars in Arlington is because there’s not much a of a market for them due to the types of people that live here. This area is incredibly snobby. However I bet many of the hispanic restaurants are pretty divey. i’d go to them if I knew spanish. Unfortunately some of them are advertising happy hours on the exterior so they probably won’t be open for much longer..

          • wimmer201

            Please, tell us more about the typical Arlingtonian. Clearly you are an expert. Isn’t it convenient how everyone fits so perfectly into your stereotypes.
            Get some new material….your same old BS is getting old.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            +10 Wimmer,

            I’m in my mid-50s, an independent conservative, I drive a 2005 Honda Civic, live in a 70 year old 1300 sq. ft. Cape Cod house that isn’t in Clarendon, and I don’t go to bars period. I should live so long to be able to afford a BMW of any kind. I haven’t seen any “sissy trendsetters” in my neighborhood either. Most of the folks in my neighborhood are couples with young to teen age kids. I somehow doubt that fit certain people’s definition/stereotype of a “typical Arlingtonian.” Even worse, I’ve lived in Arlington since I was 6 months old!

          • WantsToKnow?

            Please tell us if you have ever seen Sam’s Corner open.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Wants to Know,

            I don’t live in the Clarendon area of Arlington, so I can’t tell you if I’ve ever seen Sam’s Corner open. All I’ve done is drive by there, but I never specifically looked to see if it was or not.

          • CW

            No, the reason why we have no “diver bars” is because we have no coral reefs…DUHHHHHHH.

          • D

            Forest inn in Westover. Ooops. The secret is out!

          • HamDil

            I am not so sure about that place anymore. Since they pulled up the carpet the place has a different vibe. I used to have a special closet of coats to wear there because of the cigarette smell. That is also gone. Some chick was singing Karaoke last time I was there.

            It is about to lose its Dive Bar Card if you ask me.

          • Ren

            How about Jay’s Saloon? That’s probably no more than 300 yards from Sam’s Corner and actually calls itself ‘One of Arlington’s last true dive bars…’

            That said, ARL itself has run stories on its long expected demise…

          • Brian

            First Down is basically a dive bar. I love it.

          • JamesE

            Absolutely, love it.

          • collegeprof

            Sophisticated? Made it? NOT!

            Just canned, blenderized, blatherized with pretentions jokes of what could barely be called interesting.

      • Michael H.

        Then why do you still live here? Just an honest question. I couldn’t imagine living someplace that I hated so much.

        • Bluemontsince1961


          I sometimes wonder if some people would ever be happy anywhere they lived? I’ve lived in Arlington all but the first six months of my life (I’m in my mid-50s). No place is perfect. Arlington has its good and bad points like anywhere else. I guess some people just plain won’t ever be happy with anything or any place. If I was that unhappy with a particular place, I’d try to find somewhere else more to my liking.

      • pedant

        yeah cause lawyers are so working class

      • xtr657

        Well most Arlington residents are from Philly, NY, or in between, so they must not miss it that much.

      • JR

        1) Jay’s Saloon does a pretty good business, and it’s not all “long-time” Arlingtonians.

        2) So does LA Bar and Grill

        3) There are dive bars to be found. You just have to find them. Putting up a big neon sign kind of defeats the purpose.

        4) Thanks to the nuances of Virginia law, it would be illegal for an establishment to serve alcohol and not food.

        • drax

          I think the point is that dive bars and the like are rapidly disappearing from Arlington. Jay’s is going to shut down soon, for instance.

          • Karzai’s friend

            I think Jay’s should be shut down because of the lack of common courtesy shown to the community in not advertising its status as a dive bar.

          • drax

            Advertising yourself as a dive bar immediately makes you NOT a dive bar.

          • drax

            Ooops, didn’t see that you’re Karzai’s friend. Yeah, how dare they not mail him a certified letter with their exact hours of operation!

          • karzai

            I like your name.

          • John

            Yea because those places suck. Wilson Tavern looks a bar for cops who beat their wives.

      • P. Monroe

        Watch yourself.

    • anonymous

      Have you been to Hunan One??

    • Michael H.

      Or at least move out of Clarendon? If you have to stay here for work or school, there are other neighborhoods, you know.

  • karzai

    Hallelujah. Just days after several of us railed against the mysterious nature of Sam’s Corner, we learn that they are indeed closing.

    Some in this space have misinterpreted the criticism as in some way personal. It is not, nor is it meant to be. It is simply the view of many of us that when a business that is open to thje public is operating in our neighborhood, we feel we have the right to know when it is open, when it is not open, and to be assured that its food is not unsafe as a consequence of what are clearly very limited hours.

    Nor are the critics making up stories. Many of us have lived in Clarendon for several years. Not once – not one single time – have I observed it open. So I and the rest of us are not just “imagining things” or making up stories about its lack of fixed hours.

    If Sam’s intent is to keep irregular hours ,then it should have posted signage to that effect. Its lack of communication with the neighborhood is what is to blame here, not the critics of Sam’s on this blog.

    • Southeast Jerome

      Yes- agree completely. I’ve lived here for years as well and not one time have I seen it open.

      • I’ve lived here over 20 years and have never seen it open either.

        • CW

          I think there’s a big difference between “living” in Clarendon (and leaving during the day to go to your job), and “working” in Clarendon during the daytime hours.

          I work not far from Sam’s, and have eaten there maybe 50 times.

          But I could see how someone that was not there during the lunchtime period may never see it open.

          • CW

            This is a fake CW spreading the legend of Sam’s!!!

          • JamesE

            You have to chop off his head and gain the quickening.

    • 1RLI

      You are right…Sam OWES you a sign saying his hours are irregular. I suppose that since you were concerned about the safety of the food, you contacted the County Department of Health. What was the response to your inquiry?

      • karzai

        It did not contact anyone about the safety of the food. I saw no need to aggravate the situation with such a phone call.

        This said, my view is that this is not the equivalent of “people can do what they want behind closed doors.” Yes, they have the right to do business the way they want, in property they own and operate. however, it is operating as a business that is open to the public, and a modicum of transparency and communication with the community is required, in my opinion.

        • Quirky Business Owners’ Association

          It’s a quirky business. There are other options for food. No business owner is required to be transparent about their hours or communicate with the community. Calm down, President Karzai.

          • karzai

            They are not required to be communicative. I quite agree. I am explaining why some of us are criticizing this particular business. We are not asserting any right (which we do not have) to require Sam’s Corner to do anything.

            We are simply explaining why we are criticizing this particular business and why many of us are glad to hear that it is closing.

        • 1RLI

          “I saw no need to aggravate the situation with such a phone call.”
          I guess the food safety issue wasn’t such a big deal after all.

        • collegeprof

          Open to the public? Actually its public access, private property. They have every right to do with their business as they wish.

          • karzai

            Yes, counselor, as I said before, this is not a discussion about rights and legalities. It is about a local business not showing even the least bit of common courtesy to communicate with the community that it has limited, irregular hours. this has nothing to do with rights, obligations, or duties, as I stated above.

            I am commenting on whether the business operated courteously and gave the community its due respect, not about what legal duties it does or does not have.

        • collegeprof

          Their food is probably safer than the food you eat at home.

          • karzai

            How do you know? Did you test it?

  • TJSLaa

    This is like the “British Goods” place next to Faccia Luna. How does _that_ place stay in business? They have very little products on the shelves (That look like they have been sitting there forever). Are people really keeping this place afloat by buying cigars from the walk-in humidor in the back? Seems really sketchy… they have one of the best central locations in all of Clarendon– how can they afford to stay in business?

    • GoodOmens

      They own the entire building and thus get rents from the other tenants.

      • Southeast Jerome

        thats a great argument.

        I know a guy who doesnt work because he gets unemployment. why would he work when he gets money from other people that work?

        and we wonder why capitalism is failing in America.

        Maybe put that place to its most productive use and help create jobs? what a novel thought.

        • nom de guerre

          property ownership = rental income = capitalism

          • Southeast Jerome

            right- but they could also rent out their store too for more income… its a wasted asset just sitting there earning nothing. Its besides the point how they have the means to.

          • ThirstyVA


          • CW

            I am going out on a limb here as a non-expert in the subject area but:

            a) Perhaps there are tax benefits for owner-occupiers as opposed to just being a remote owner?

            b) Maybe the owner enjoys staying in the building so as to keep an eye on his/her tenants and/or respond to their needs, and also likes to do a little business on the side?

        • GoodOmens

          So you should punish savvy investors that purchase things and can later reap the fruits of their efforts?

          • Tipster

            SEJ’s argument makes no sense. You can’t argue for capitalism and also argue that capitalists owe anyone anything. Sorry that there aren’t enough cashier, line cook, or maybe server jobs in Clarendon for you, dear sir.

          • Southeast Jerome

            ok ok ok- lets start back from the beginning and ignore my 2:07pm comment. you’re right that made no sense after reading it back to myself now.

          • Tipster

            I will grant you that it’s a befuddling business and I’ve always wondered if it was a ‘going concern’. Not saying you are necessarily in this category, but I do wonder why some people seem so offended by their presence and erratic business behavior. But you have to admit their website is pretty sleek.

        • drax

          You do realize that renting to tenants IS productive use that creates jobs, right Jerome?

      • d33ds

        Do you have proof of this? They used to be at another location down the street (different block). Are you saying that they owned that block too? I smell BS

        • JR

          They don’t own the building, unless they own it under one business name and operate their British Goodies import shop under a different one.

          Pretty easy to look up on the County website.

    • Bandersnatch

      …”how can they afford to stay in business”

      My wife has a mean Wine Gum problem and they are the only supply that she’s found, at $9/box I think that she might single-handedly keep them in business

      • addict

        There’s crack in the twiglets

    • British Cigar Enjoyer

      The British Goods store makes money by siphoning out the real sugar in each British candy bar they import and replacing it with higher margin corn syrup. It’s a common form of arbitrage that is not only immensely profitable, but also very helpful in answering the questions of people who cannot fathom that all markets – even in the highest income neighborhoods – are segmented, full of minor inefficiencies, and little nooks and crannies of odd profitability.

    • Transplant

      I hear they make their money by selling their tea for twice the price they get it in England. Something about a “tea tax” and “bloody colonials”.

  • Drunk_Irish

    Hopefully O’Sullivans can expand!!!!!!!!!!

    • Nooner

      I wish they would too. Unfortunately, Fragrence World is the next occupancy down from O’Sullivans between them and Sam’s.

      • Drunk_Irish

        Get rid of that shop too!! I have never seen anyone in there, but a wierd dude sitting in the corner wearing a hoodie.

        • Nooner


        • nom de guerre

          For a minute there I read your comment as a “wierd dude in the corner wearing a woodie.”

          • Richard Cranium

            This ain’t Macy’s

          • Tabs

            Nor 7-11.

          • nom de guerre

            Nor the W&OD Trail, aka the Wood Trail.

    • novasteve

      I’ve asked Osullivans to take over the former indian restaurant that has been vacant for years, to be their smoking section. They didn’t seem interested in expanding.

      • Nooner

        They opened another one in Herndon last year. I think they are good with their current status for now.

  • U Roy

    Julia’s Empanadas

    • Hattie McDaniel

      They already have Julia’s Empanadas at Boccato. Enough with the duplicative businesses.

      • CW

        Yeah, but how good can empanadas shipped in from Dupont be? Not very, I’m guessing, that’s why I’ve not tried them at Boccato. If Julia’s opened up a real shop and did some cooking there I’d be in every week. Not to mention, good lord, this area has the biggest concentration of bars around and hardly anywhere to eat after they let out…no-brainer.

        • Empanadathetic

          Tried Julia’s at Boccato this weekend; they were average at best.

        • Justin Russo

          How do you know they come from Dupont and not Adams- Morgan?

    • Hank

      Too many onions.

  • dallynd

    Doesn’t really help a small business to report that a “tipster” said they are closing, in my opinion.

  • Jennifer

    I’m not on The Twitter. Where else can I find their hours?

    • Tipster


    • anonymous


      • Tabs


        • Arlwhat


          • Vint Cerf


      • Jipster

        J Date.

      • nom de guerre


        • ThirstyVA


      • speonjosh

        sewing circle

        • Jennifer

          You’re silly dopes, but thanks. 🙂

  • VA is for Lovers

    I’ve been in quite a few times, and I think all the haters would be pleasantly surprised at how good and FRESH the food is, and how friendly the owners are. I do believe there is a sign that says “open” or “closed,” as well. As for owing the community anything, I wouldn’t feel any need with some of the feedback on here. Doesn’t sound like much of a community.

    • VA is for Drinkers

      Ditch the Hash Shop and the Deli and expand the bar!

      • VA is for Hippies

        Ditch the bar and expand the Hash Shop!!!

    • karzai

      A sign that says “open or closed” is not adequate, in the view of a great many of us in this space.

      If the owners are as friendly as you assert, I would think they would have done more to communicate with the community than they have done.

      If it were not a community, there would not be this much commentary on this particular establishment. the strong reactions show that there is a vibrant community that is concerned with how businesses in its midst are operating.

      • nom de guerre

        A vibrant community that appears to be comprised of many people who have some type of personality disorder. Mainly people who think it is their right to tell others how to run their personal business.

        • speonjosh

          It’s the internet filter operating.

          “Community” really ain’t what it used to be……

        • novasteve

          That’s my views on smoking bans. if you don’t like it, don’t go. But don’t force your views on others. If this store doesn’t want to have many open hours, more power to them.

        • karzai

          We’re not trying to tell them how to run their business. We’re just saying that Sam’s should have the common courtesy and common decency to communicate to the community how it operates. That’s all we’re asking. Stop twisting our intent and our meaning.

          • nom de guerre

            To me it is clear how they run their business-when they are open they are open and when they are closed they are closed.

          • karzai

            Right, and now they’re going from “almost never open” to “closed for good.” And judging from the great majority of the comments today, the community is saying “good riddance” to this particular business.

          • drax

            Good riddance to whiners who can’t just ignore a lame sandwich shop that’s rarely open.

          • Tipster

            “The customer is always right” is not a legal doctrine or a moral ideal akin to human rights, dude.

          • karzai

            No one is asserting that doctrine or moral idea. We are just asking for common courtesy. And we got absolutely none of that from Sam’s Corner.

    • collegeprof

      Well said! +1

  • Dum Dum Guy at the Gates of Dawn

    They need to send a message to my cell phone each time they are open so that I know. It is the least they could do.

    • 1RLI

      Me too. They OWE it to me. Such notification should be required. In fact, I believe all establishments licensed to do business in Arlington should be required to notify all individuals who reside or work in Arlington when they open and close. They can use the county’s Arlington Alert system.

      • British Cigar Enjoyer

        Perhaps Sam’s and the British Goodies Store should utilize the pole mounted klaxon horns outside Whole Foods to play a unique bugle announcement when they open and close, or when the cashier is away in the washroom.

        • 1RLI

          Now you’re thinking!

      • Southeast Jerome

        I’d argue in fact 99% of businesses in Arlington do notify people of their operating hours via signage or on their website or both. Why is that so strange?

        I feel like this place is some sort of invite only club with a few people that are on their secret list serv that vow to defend them to the death on the internet.

        mission: prevent yuppies or non-chosen ones from ever seeing our deli open

        • 1RLI

          Geez…go to Sam’s or don’t go. If a business closes because it fails to advertise their hours, or because it fails to fulfill the expectations of consumers…oh well. If they stay open…good for them.
          “I feel like this place is some sort of invite only club…” Are you jealous that you’re not on the invite list? Maybe Sam is a Freemason!!

        • karzai

          Isn’t it amazing that almost all of us are saying the same thing – that it’s never open, that we’ve never seen anyone in there, etc.

          Yet a few select people assert that it’s delicious, that its food is fresh, that the owners are friendly… Interesting debate we have here.

          My personal view is that the operators of Sam’s Corner have expressed a certain hostility to the community by failing to keep consistent hours, nor even having the decency to post a small sign saying their hours are irregular and directing us to a website or alternative means to know when they are open or not.

          Most of us have set the bar pretty low for common courtesy, and Sam’s Corner can’t even get over that very low bar.

          Good riddance, Sam.

          • 1RLI

            So you’re merely upset that he didn’t post his hours? Wow…

          • VA is for Lovers

            I love how you just keep the convo going.

            I actually really HOPE you don’t try and see for yourself. If it’s a little club, they would benefit not having you want in.

            Haters gonna hate.

          • karzai

            No one hates anyone. No one (not me, anyway) hates Sam. No one hates Sam’s Corner. Curious how everyone’s words get twisted.

          • drax

            You don’t hate Sam’s Corner. You’re just obsessed with it.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            This is what is upsetting to you? Really?

          • CW

            Please, whatever you do, don’t move to Old Town. Because a bunch of shops/stores are run in a similar manner. They are “hobby” shops, with various hours, and may not be published or adhered to. God help us all if you move to Old Town.

          • drax

            So now that Sam’s is closing for good, will you hate them even more? That’s REALLY hostile to the community after all. I want a sandwich and a coke! I want it from that particular store! Waaaaaah!

          • karzai

            I don’t want anything from Sam’s believe me.

  • GreaterClarendon

    Been in the area 15 years and have never been inside that store – but live close by, work farther away.

  • CW

    The vast majority of people, like myself, are just very, very curious about this business. I have been here 3 years and never seen it open. That makes it a sort of local oddity. The fact that I hear thirdhand accounts of people going there but have never met someone in person (live, not on the internet) who has been just adds to the mystique. It’s just a local legend, like a haunted house or something. No hating here, just curiosity.

    • Tipster

      The caretaker at the Overlee Pool House used to live above Sam’s and he’s got some weird stories.

      • WileE

        Yeah, my favorite story starts with the invisible second floor above Sam’s deli, and how John Cusack lets in you through a secret trap door.

        • Tabs

          I’d enter John Cusack’s secret trap door.


  • Lee-n-Glebe

    I’m having a really, really hard time figuring out what in the world is generating such strong feelings about this place, one way or the other.

    • Rankin

      It’s just that many of us, we are curious — and some of us, we are feeling left out because we can’t taste the sweet sweet nectar that some of us, or many of us, have experienced by buying a steak and cheese from Sam’s.

    • karzai

      From my perspective, what’s generating the strong feelings is that this particular business, as I perceive it, has basically taken an “up yours” approach to the community where it is located.

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        How so?

      • JR

        A deli that apparently (based on commenters who have been there) is open only for lunch is not abnormal, and would explain why most people in the hood haven’t seen him open.

        I’ve lived in Arlington for over 5 years, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been randomly cruising for a lunch spot IN Arlington on a workday.

        a 2 – 3 hour window of open hours lets him serve a large # of customers with limited labor costs (and HIS labor still has an opportunity cost) is pretty common in an area that has a large number of businesses (try finding a deli open later than 3pm in downtown Manhattan).

      • Stu

        No, that’s how you interpret it. If a business decides to open whenever it feels like it, then that’s their choice, it’s not an insult to anyone. If you don’t like it, then don’t go there. A business doesn’t owe you any kind of courtesy. If they managed to stay open for a long time despite these practices, then what do you care? Maybe they didn’t need the money and didn’t want any customers – as long as they pay their mortage, taxes, and bills and aren’t creating a nuisance or doing anything illegal they can run their business any way they want, and be as eccentric as they please.

        • karzai

          True, they do not “owe us” any courtesy. And Sam’s did not provide any. Which is why so few people in this space, and in the neighborhood, are sad to hear that it is closing.

          Had they operated with even a minimum of courtesy – in the form of letting us know their hours are irregular – I would be among those out there lamenting the disappearance of an individual-owned, unique business. Which I quite favor over the chains and other pricey stuff we’re getting.

  • Glebe Roader

    Drive past it every day. Never been there. Never will. Don’t care if it’s open or closed. It’s their business.

    • Jeep Guy

      Exactly. I haven’t consciously avoided the place, and I haven’t been denied entry when trying to get in. Not that I’ve tried to go in, or even paid attention to whether or when they are or not open. I haven’t been boycotting them, just never had the occasion to go in.

      I don’t see how whether they keep and/or post regular business hours should affect anyone else in the least little bit, much less cause them some grave offense / insult.

  • Chris

    Like I said before. Been in there a few times over the last 8 years, and had pretty decent cheesesteaks and fries. Certainly nothing special. Good prices though. Sam is a cool old dude. Went to American University in the 70’s I believe. Has 2 grown kids. His wife and another woman were working there with him every time I was there, which was always during the lunch hour. I imagine he did a very good business for years and years, when it was pretty much him and Hard Times, and the little Vietnamese places that none of you remember, that were driven out by development over the years. I’m happy with what has replaced them, though I do miss them a little. Just like I’ll probably be ok with whatever replaces Sam’s and everything else on that block in a few years. It’s called life. It moves on. It looks like Sam’s moving on, too. Good for him. Was nice to meet him a few times. He was friendly and outgoing. I would have had no idea he owned the whole block until reading it here. Good luck to him.

    • Cherrydaler

      This is one of the few cogent (and non-paranoid) comments in this whoel thread. Arlington has been small business based, with folks who run their businesses and their lives without concern for the KARZAIs of the world. God bless them for not kowtowing to trends or expectations of “transparency”.. Unfortunately, big boxes and cupcake shops will push them aside (viz., the little Vietnamese cafes). Happy retirement, Sam. I hope that you are going to a far kinder place. Oh, and thanks for the sandwiches – I loved them.

  • Tenders

    Won’t be missed

  • Clarendon

    Italian Store – Clarendon?

    One of the most visible corners anywhere. And, with all the improvements coming to Clarendon circle to make it easier to walk around there, this site will be a good location – as long as the owner doesn’t over charge on the rent.

  • Best Idea Ever

    Put in a Ben’s Chili Bowl!!!!

    • Cherrydaler

      Worst idea ever! At least in my opinion – yours may differ. Ben’s is a holy cultural mecca in DC, not Arlington. There already is a long-standing chili place in Arlington, just a few blocks from Sam’s. Why mess up both Ben’s and Hard Times’ long-earned places in their communities (and, please, don’t point to Ben’s appearance at Nationals’ Park as an example of cultural missionary work). The very last thing that Clarendon needs is another “new” bar/food place. Many of the ones there now can barely hold on (business may be booming, but so are rents/food&labor costs/taxes)..

      • CW

        Agreed, but how about a food place that’s open at or around bar closing time? All there really is is goody’s.

  • Clare

    Happy Retirement!

    LeoNora’s should expand! What a perfect place for this new delight in Clarendon!

  • JB

    I wish I would have won the MegaMillions jackpot a couple of weeks ago. I would buy this place, re-name it Karzai’s, and only sell baloney sandwiches and chocolate milk from 2 PM to 3PM on Wednesdays and Fridays just because I could.

    • nom de guerre

      If you would also sell pickled sausage that comes in a large jar I would patronize Karzai’s twice a week and would constantly complain that it that it wasn’t open more often at the risk of me blowing a gasket.

    • karzai

      Since there is not an Afghan restaurant in Clarendon, it would be appropriate for you to sell Afghan food in a restaurant named Karzai’s. There are two Persian restaurants, Kabob Bazaar and Moby Dick, which is very close to Afghan food, but they are not Afghan.

      • JB

        That’s the beauty of it – it would be my money, so I can name it whatever I want, and sell whatever kind of food I want, and be open whenever I want – it doesn’t have to make sense.

        • karzai

          I’ll certainly patronize it, no worries. I’ve tried to patronize Sam’s, too, but it is never open so I was unable to.

      • drax

        When exactly are they open, karzai? You must know, since you care so very deeply about it.

        • karzai

          It’s JB’s restaurant, so he will know when it is open.

          • JB

            It’ll be open any time to people that are approved as secret members. But you’ll have to pass the initation of stuffing 5 pickled sausages in your mouth and spinning around 8 times while balancing a baloney sandwich on your head.

          • JB

            Careful though – if you laugh while doing it you’ll be banned for life.

          • drax

            Already did that in college.

            Next challenge?

      • CW

        Really can’t walk all the way to Afghan Kabob House?

  • SArlington

    I used to live and work in Clarendon and ate at Sam’s often and it was fine, carry out, not open all the time, but that was Sam’s.

    I wish ARLnow had kept its promise from September 27, 2011 and just left Sam’s Corner alone.

    September 27th, 2011 10:29 am
    Seeing as how we don’t have the power or desire to “investigate” a private business, that episode and this comment will be the first and last time we devote any sort of time to Sam’s Corner…


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