Sam’s Moroccan Sandwich Shop — opened up at 23rd Ave and Union a month ago — is named after Hisham Habchi. Hisham Habchi, of course, goes by Sam. The shop sells all kinds of sandwiches. The most popular seems to be the tuna sandwich which they call, in a simplified spelling of its Spanish inspiration, “Pocadio Tuna”.
“Morocco was a Spanish colony in the past and a lot of our dishes have a Spanish influence in them also,” the Moroccan Habchi tells CHS.
The shop is owned by Habchi and his business partner Mostafa Said. While Habchi is from Morocco and makes different kind of sandwiches from his homeland, his business partner Said hails from Eritrea and has lived in the States for over twenty years. Said said that war with Ethiopia made him flee to Sudan and from there he migrated to the United States.
On a Friday afternoon, you could hear holy music playing in the background as they quietly went about working in the kitchen. The friends met at a local mosque and decided to go into business together.
Besides owning a restaurant, Said also works part-time at Uber. “I hardly get to see my kids,” Said told CHS. He has quite the passion for food himself. “I can make shawarma. Basically I make everything. Most of the Moroccan ones I have learned,” Said said.
Habchi moved to the United States eleven years ago and came to Seattle three years ago. Prior to that, he lived in San Francisco where he says he worked in many restaurants.
Doing business in the area has included a few challenges. “I made a sign and put it outside and by the next morning it was gone,” Habchi said. Someone has also broken their window. But the nuisances haven’t stopped them from promoting their shop. They’re also looking for ways to expand their business.
“I recently took my sandwiches to Katy’s Corner Cafe and I am also working on opening up a website,” Habchi said.
The sandwich shop sells a variety of items from pastas to traditional Moroccan sandwiches to soups. Most everything is made from scratch, the partners said. “Even the pasta sauce is my pasta sauce,” Habchi said.
His passion comes from being “Mumma’s boy,” he says. Helping out his mother in the kitchen helped him learn about the food and the spices that he offers to the public ever so proudly now. His favorite is the Moroccan Chicken Wrap with roasted garlic, hummus and roasted red peppers.
Sandwiches are $5.99 each. Sam’s also has homemade hummus, kalamata olives, and other offerings like fries to accompany your sandwich.
The partners said they plan to do something special for the upcoming holidays and, even after the recent unpleasant incidents, they hope that business will pick up.
“Right now, business is good but it could do better,” Habchi said.
Sam’s Moroccan Sandwich Shop is located at 1110 23rd Ave. Hours are 11 AM to 9 PM and the shop is closed on Tuesdays.
There is no website yet. Check them out on Facebook.