When I was fifteen years old my best friend started to invite me to downtown Fredericksburg for the day. Her dad would pick us up and then drop us off on Caroline Street to wander around for several hours and we would bring a little cash to spend on food and shopping. The day would be spent popping in and out of shops like Corkey’s, the record shop (there was a record shop, I swear), R&R Antiques, Goolricks and many other shops- some still around but many gone.
In high school my best friend was a devoted vegetarian so our lunch options were really limited to the only place that served vegetarian cuisine: Sammy T’s. Even at 15 I still had a sore butt sitting in the benches but we didn’t mind because the place was covered in local art and unique decor and we were treated like adults and not like the children we were. We would sit and talk about the things that young teenagers talk about and fantasize about what our lives would be like when we really grew up. On one visit I remember us talking about the lack of food options in our home town for my friend and I decided that I would one day open a restaurant and make vegetarian foods just for her. (Wow, who knew!) Our visits, at least once a year, to Fredericksburg always ended with a meal at Sammy T’s.
Years later, after having two kids, a failed marriage and moving, I once again found myself back in Fredericksburg. This time it wasn’t for a day visit, but to live. I met my dear husband and we were married. He worked in Fredericksburg so it just made sense to move here. I was in the midst of chronic illness and searching feverishly for anything to help reduce my issues. I had decided earlier that year to remove gluten and casein from my son’s diet which greatly improved not only his health but behavior as well. Through that process I met my good friend Shirley who was running the King George/Fredericksburg Gluten Intolerance Support Group. We decided to meet in town to chat and she suggested Sammy T’s. Having been newly gluten-free, I was scared to death to eat in a restaurant but knew Shirley was the expert in this area. We both ordered crab cakes and enjoyed hours of talk about our lives, being gluten free and the kids. From that day on Sammy T’s once again became a safe place for me to go to eat in town and actually remained one of the only places that I never became ill.
I love Fredericksburg and all that this little city offers. Over the years it has changed so much and transformed into something new and exciting. Though these transformations we hang on to some of the things that have made the city what it has been for decades and Sammy T’s has certainly been one of those places. We are sad to see the restaurant close but are excited and hopeful to see what the new owners have in store for a spot that has held the hearts of many diners; vegetarian, gluten free and of course those who just like good food.
Goodbye Sammy T’s, we hope to see you again soon.