Brownsville’s newest family-owned ‘Sandwich Shop and Deli’ prevails amidst pandemic


The Sandwich Shop and Deli Facebook

Interior of The Sandwich Shop and Deli. Menu items include antipasta salad, the all American hoagie, and hot buffalo chicken bagels.

Kortnie Gould, Contributor

Standing at the corner of Brownsville Avenue is a deli that opened its doors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite debuting during a time when staying at home was required, the deli was successful then and remains so to this day.

The Sandwich Shop and Deli in downtown Brownsville, Pennsylvania had its grand opening on April 15. Sabina Walters, the deli’s owner, said that this was a pushback from her originally planned date of April 1. She wanted to wait out the pandemic but had already bought supplies that would spoil if not sold.

Walters said she was not sure how much business she would bring in while operating under take-out only, but she was “busy from the time she opened until about two in the afternoon.”

Walters, who has worked in the food service industry her entire life, described this initial experience as a lot different than what she was used to seeing in a day’s work at a restaurant. “It was very quiet in the beginning,” she said. “People would just come in for their food and leave.”

Since the no dine-in restrictions have been lifted, Walters said the only problem she has faced is knowing how much of a product she might sell. “One day I’ll sell out of an item, and then it won’t sell again for two days,” she said.

Walters’ culinary background comes from her job history and cooking in her own kitchen. All of the salads, spreads, sides and baked goods on her menu are made from scratch. Walters said she has made changes to her menu to tailor it better to her customer’s tastes, and she has changed her operation hours to suit her customer’s various schedules.

“I originally closed at 3 p.m. because business gets slow after 2p.m., but I had some customers tell me they couldn’t make it here until after 3 p.m., so now I close at 4 p.m.,” she said.

One of Walters’ most loyal customers is her mother, Genowefa Piorkowski, whose friends call her Gene. Piorkowski frequents the deli where she likes to have a front-row seat to her daughter’s success.

Piorkowski’s first language is Polish, but Walters was able to translate her praise.

“I am very happy for her,” Piorkowski said, “but I miss the free time we had together.”

Piorkowski came to the U.S. from Poland when she was 33 and eventually settled in Walters’ native Connecticut. The town where they lived was called “Little Poland.”

Walters has various Polish memorabilia used to decorate her deli, including a sepia picture of her mother, father and brothers when they came to North America.

Some menu items that are inspired by Walters’ Polish heritage include kielbasa and sauerkraut and stuffed cabbage soup.

Walters said that owning her shop has been a lifelong dream, and it is something she wants to do forever.

“I started late enough,” she said. “I never thought I was going to get here.”

Walters’ said her plans to open a business began to take shape after a trip to a casino.

“I was playing for so long that I began to press random icons on the screen, and next thing I knew I won $30,000,” she said.

Walters said having the security of the extra money made her want to work again, but she did not want to wait tables anymore.

She became a business owner instead.

The Sandwich Shop and Deli is open for dine-in and take-out Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They can be reached at 724-785-4089 and at