Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
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32 Years of Garbage Grinders...that’s Luigi’s!
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer

I sat down with Helen O’Callahan, owner of the original Luigi’s Italian Sandwiches, located at 801 Newmark Avenue in the Empire District of Coos Bay.  Started years ago as a family business (they still employ only family and friends) they have been open for business for 32 years this month!  “I don’t know where the time went!” says Helen.

Luigi’s main restaurant items are sandwiches, and the one called the Garbage Grinder is their best-seller.  It’s a hot sandwich made of salami, ham, pepperoni, and choice of one veggie, along with melted cheese, onions, bell peppers, pickles and tomatoes. It even comes in several different versions.  “We have people that come here from as far away as Seattle just to get our Garbage Grinder,” says Helen.


“I’ve met so many wonderful people here over the years,” says Helen O’Callahan, owner of the original Luigi’s Italian Sandwiches.

So who does all the cooking that makes customers crave their sandwiches?  “I do all the cooking, all the shopping, and have for 32 years,” said Helen. She does offer some alternatives to sandwiches. “We have a spaghetti lunch special with our homemade tomato sauce and garlic bread for $5, which is a really good deal. We also have  French dips, reubens, and our homemade potato salad.” 

 When I asked Helen what message she would like to get across to the public, she replied, “We try to treat everybody like they’re friends and family, and  things are pretty low-key here. I’ve met so many wonderful people here over the years. I look forward to coming to work every day, I look forward to seeing my customers. We have regulars that come in a couple times a week, and have been doing so for years and years,” she said.

    Just look at the walls in Luigi’s and you’ll see hundreds of smiling customers, so many that they’re running out of wall space to display them all!  Helen also puts the photos on the internet. “People love to see their picture on our Facebook page,” she added.

    You can reserve Luigis on either Sunday or Monday, or after 6 p m during the week, for a private event.  “We have baby showers here all the time. We provide the food and the building, and we can accomodate up to 40 people,” says Helen.

    Luigi’s is open from 11 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Friday and 11 am to 4 pm Saturdays. You can call your order in at  541-888-9407, and have a delicious, hot Italian sandwich waiting for you and served with a smile!

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