While doing some hard-hitting reporting on sandwiches, Eater SF stumbled across some bittersweet news. Roxie Food Center, the beloved corner store across from Balboa Park known for its oversized sandwiches, is in the process of changing owners. Its longtime owners, the Tannous brothers, will soon hang up their aprons for a well-deserved retirement. But sandwich fans, don’t freak out yet — they promise the tri-tip, barbecue beef, and turkey-and-pastrami combo will all stay the same.
Rumors started swirling about Roxie last year, when the family placed the mixed-use building up for sale for $995,000. Sandwich fans were alarmed and concerned, but SF Gate set the record straight. At that time, Tony Tannous said that “Roxie will be around for the next 20 years,” and while ownership might change, the corner store and sandwiches would remain.
Now, the building still has not sold, but the business is changing hands. Eater readers spotted the news, first commenting on an Instagram post, then noticing a change of ownership sign in the window. Simon Tannous confirms to Eater SF the family is in the process of finalizing a deal with a pair of new owners, veteran bodega owners based in Sacramento. Once the sale is final, brothers Tony, Simon, and Peter Tannous will retire, but Simon insists that the shop will remain open and unchanged.
“Roxie will still be around,” Simon says. “Please come in and support the new owners. They’re family, they’re cousins, they’re good people. And we’ll train them really well, to make sure it’s done right.”
Annie Tannous Sirhan, who is Peter’s daughter, also posted publicly in the Excelsior neighborhood Facebook group, sharing the news with residents worried by the rumored changes. She describes how the Tannous brothers were raised in Jordan, before moving to San Francisco and opening the shop in 1975. The corner store is now an established 45 years old, and the brothers are all in their 70s and ready to rest. Regardless, Simon has been working behind the counter throughout shelter-in-place.
Posted by Annie Sirhan on Saturday, October 3, 2020
Fans who grew up in the neighborhood, ordering big sandwiches and cracking jokes with the guys behind the counter, are understandably worried. A Roxie manager tells Eater SF that the shop has been getting calls from longtime customers across the country, all the way from New York to Hawaii, expressing worries at the news. Readers who contacted Eater specifically wanted to thank the Tannous brothers for how much they’ve done for the community, wrapping up hundreds of subs a day, looking out for kids after school, employing teenagers from the nearby high school, and fueling everything from football and basketball games to Thanksgiving drives to Easter egg hunts.
“As a person born and raised five minutes from the store, Simon and the crew always took care of us kids,” says Alan Loux, a local photographer. “ … It’s a true neighborhood corner store and a perfect representation of San Francisco city living before the influx of techies.”
The family will still be around for the next couple of weeks, for anyone who wants to pick up a sub and pay respects. And if fans and readers notice any changes going forward, please let us know.