The First Schlotzsky's Sandwich Shop Location Opened in Austin, Texas, More Than 50 Years Ago
In 1971, a cozy brick storefront on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas—now the city's most popular shopping and restaurant district—housed a small sandwich shop called Schlotzsky's, owned by couple Don and Delores Dissman. Touting just one menu item—a giant 8-inch muffuletta stuffed with three meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, olives, and dressing served on hot freshly-made sourdough bread—it quickly became a town classic. The Original sandwich cost only $2.95 and was modeled after similar subs the couple had tasted in New Orleans' French Quarter.
By 1981, there were 100 Schlotzsky's locations, and its menu followed suit, moving beyond a one-sandwich wonder into a fast-casual lunch institution. Eventually, Schlotzsky's expanded to over 700 locations, some of which were more recently rebranded to Schotzsky's Austin Eatery to reflect its Lone Star roots. The restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.
While some Southerners might not realize that the sandwich shop began in Texas' capital city, we're certainly no strangers to a good sandwich. Give us a tomato sandwich slathered in mayonnaise, a po'boy piled high with fried shrimp, or a Kentucky Hot Brown melted into cheesy goodness, and we're perfectly content.
In 2004, Schlotzsky's joined Georgia-based Focus Brands, which also owns Cinnabon, and has now been rebranding its menu at the remaining locations to showcase more variety, including calzones (supported by Italian spokesperson and former NSYNC band member Joey Fatone). While the brand is sadly no longer Texas-based and its first location has moved on to other lucky residents, Schlotzsky's still features a special place in the hearts of many Texans who remember the original menu item: its muffuletta (pictured above). It even has a location just a little further down the road—but still on South Congress Avenue!
In the meantime, if you have a hankering for an Italian meat sub, try our recipe for party-ready Mini Muffulettas.