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Meet Marlene Samaniego of Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marlene Samaniego.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marlene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My husband, Sam, began his foray into the world of beer by working at several different beer distributors as a salesman, truck driver, and sometimes warehouse manager… After leaving the beer distributors, Sam started the Stuffed Sandwich in 1976 and shortly thereafter, we were married. In those early days, we carried around 35 brands of beer. Sam’s original goal was to hit 100 different beers. Obviously, that quite some time ago. Today we offer over 700 bottled beers from around the world and feature 9 beers on tap that revolve around a monthly theme.

Finding and providing an increasing array of beer to our patrons was Sam’s passion. Although Sam passed away in January 2014, I have carried on the business by continuing Sam’s dedication to featuring a wide variety of the best brews from around the world–current and vintage. Yes, vintage. Sam was an avid collector of finding beers that would age well. This has enabled Stuffed Sandwich to offer a unique variety of contemporary and vintage beer–some of which are quite rare.

From our perch at Stuffed Sandwich, we witnessed, supported, and promoted the rise and explosion of the craft brewing industry. More than 30 years ago, this included the startup of regional breweries like the Sierra Nevada, continued with the advent of Stone Brewing, and marches on today with too many craft breweries to name. We often feature local beers on tap, some from breweries that don’t currently bottle their beers–they just produce kegs. Chances are we have a beer to please the palette of anyone who loves good beer.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My husband, Sam Samaniego, and I founded the Stuffed Sandwich more than 40 years ago. As a promoter of the small brewery movement before the term Craft Beer came into existence, Sam was known for years in the brew world because he had a special way of connecting with our customers. Sam was known for good-natured teasing, a keen eye for providing the right beer to the right patron, and the ability to allocate special brews to those he found to be particularly worthy of his discriminating taste. One of his favorite sayings was, ‘You tell me what you like and I’ll give you what I think you should have.” Although we lost Sam a few years ago, I have carried on the business with the same dedication to providing good food and a great beer selection. If you are not sure what kind of beer you like, I can help find the right beer for you–and several more just like it.

Our original shop was a mile west of our current location. When conditions changed about 15 years ago we moved to our current location. While the move wasn’t easy, it enabled us to continue with our same menu and even expand our beer selection, plus we were able to provide more off-street parking and an outdoor patio. It’s a great place to sit and have a sandwich and a beer indoors or outdoors any time of year.

Please tell us about Stuffed Sandwich.
Our name, ‘Stuffed Sandwich,’ says it all. Our sandwiches are stuffed with all kinds of meats and cheeses and a variety of toppings. Two of our customer favorites are our hot pastrami and our Italian Sub which is made with 5 meats and cheeses. Our sandwiches are made for big appetites. But don’t worry, if your appetite is on the lighter side, we also offer half portions. Our menu features dozens of sandwich choices, plus salads, soups, chili, fries, sodas, and beer.

Beer is where we have made our historical mark. We have more than 700 types of bottled beers from around the world. We also feature a monthly selection of 9 beers on tap, based on a theme. For example, the month of October features fall/harvest beers, in December, we will be pouring holiday beers, and January will arrive with stouts and porters on tap. In addition, we offer a weekly bottled beer special, and generally, hold a monthly beer event featuring a particular brewery or style of beer. To receive news about our monthly beers on tap and special events, just go to our website and enter your email address to sign up for our monthly e-mails.

Please note that the Stuffed Sandwich is not a bar. Our liquor license requires a food purchase in order for us to serve a beer or two. We make that easy to do by offering a menu of items that go great with beer. Customers can also purchase bottled beers to add to their home collections and a variety of beer gift packs and memorabilia, including hats, t-shirts, and beer glasses.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1145 E Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel CA 91776
    Open Tues-Sat 11am-8pm
    ½ mile west of Rosemead Blvd
  • Website: www.stuffedsandwich.com
  • Phone: 626-285-9161

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

6 Comments

  1. Eloy

    November 15, 2017 at 15:13

    Great article and thank you, Marlene, for keeping the shop and Sam’s spirit alive!

  2. Ian Fraser

    November 15, 2017 at 17:28

    One of my favorite beer and food destinations in LA! Show up for lunch and you won’t leave until dinner! It is a one of a kind!

  3. joef

    November 15, 2017 at 18:47

    Impressive!
    You actually got the normally camera shy Miss Marlene to pose!
    Hands down, my favorite place to congregate and really a hidden jewel (which this article might help make a little less hidden).
    Spread the good word!

  4. Lewis M

    November 16, 2017 at 01:43

    Marlene is a peach. Always a pleasure to stop by for a sandwich and a pint. Don’t spill

  5. Kevin Bell

    November 17, 2017 at 19:38

    Cheers Marlene – I’m so glad you were able to carry on after Sam’s passing. The Stuffed Sandwich was, without a doubt, one of the catalysts for the exploding SoCal beer scene. I learned much from both of you, both as an employee and as friends. Thanks for everything, and keep it up.

  6. Margaret C

    November 19, 2017 at 01:42

    A fantastic place to enjoy beer and food! There’s a real community feeling and a relaxed atmosphere.

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