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Old 08-18-2008, 09:58 PM
ralph124c is offline
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Anybody Remember "Stewart Sandwiches"?

When I was a young kid, my uncle owned a bar-he had a line of pre-made sandwiches that were supplied by a company named "Stewart". These sandwiches were made to be heated up, in a special electric oven-I think it was like a toaster oven. The weird thing was, these sandwiches were packed in cellophane wrappers-i never figured out how the wrappers didn't burn.
My uncle recalls that they were not gourmet fare, but people seemed to like them.
I googled and came up with nothing-I'm sure the company is long gone. anyway, they had hamburgers-so somebody had thought of fast food, a long time ago.
Old 08-18-2008, 10:24 PM
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They seem to have appeared in the late 1950's. They were, at that time, the STEWART IN-FRA-RED Co. They registered their trademark, a map of the US with "Coast to Coast/Stewart/Sandwiches" superimposed.


They seem to have vanished about the late 1980's. And, yes, they supplied mainly to taverns, etc., although they brought out a lince of frozen sandwiches in groceries years earlier.
Old 08-19-2008, 01:20 AM
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The pro shop at the country club my parents belonged to in North Carolina carried these. Some of them weren't half-bad
Old 08-19-2008, 12:59 PM
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This sounds like the sandwiches they used to have at a snack bar near me, circa 1974, though I can't say if that was the brand.

1974 in my home town...McDonald's? What's that? Microwave? Never heard of it. The ham and swiss were mighty tasty and you're right: I can't figure out why the wrapper wasn't melted or burned...but when it came out of that little toaster oven it sure was brittle. And HOT!
Old 08-20-2008, 06:47 AM
ralph124c is offline
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EBAY Has Two Ovens

Thanks for the replies; on the off chance, I checked Ebay-there are two of the old Stewart ovens for sale. As I said, you put the (cellophane-wrapeed) sandwich in, and turned on the timer-and the sandwich got heated up-but why the cellophane didn't burn was a mystery. Imagine if they had these things today-the cellophane probably outgassed a ton of chemicals into the sandwich-probably not too good for you!
Old 08-20-2008, 02:51 PM
LiveOnAPlane is offline
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I carried these and their super infrared-element heater-upper in my game room around 1975.

An yep, the sandwiches were actually decent. Not great, but pretty good...better than a lot of the microwaveable stuff you can find in the convenience stores today. They had one that was some kind of steak and ersatz steak with finely diced onions on it that I actually liked a lot.

Thanks for the blast from the past.

Last edited by LiveOnAPlane; 08-20-2008 at 02:52 PM.
Old 02-09-2011, 05:51 PM
mikeb693 is offline
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Stewart in-fra-red

STEWART IN-FRA-RED is now Deli Express!

Oh what I would do to see a picture of a Chuckwagon sandwich
or one of those horrible grilled cheese or hot dogs I consumed
so many of!
Old 02-09-2011, 08:05 PM
Oakminster is offline
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Originally Posted by lawoot View Post
The pro shop at the country club my parents belonged to in North Carolina carried these. Some of them weren't half-bad
I also encountered these sandwiches in a pro shop at a public golf course circa 1975-1980. Seems like they had a fairly generic burger, but the roast beef was decent, and I want to say there was a ham & cheese that was pretty good.
Old 02-09-2011, 09:05 PM
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I had one of those sandwiches in a tiny little airport my dad and I landed at in 1973 or so, in northern Wisconsin. A hot dog. I didn't care for it, but it was nice and warm so I took it on the plane with me. It kept my hands cosy for a while, but finally it got rather cold and congealed, so I pitched it out of the cockpit over a cranberry bog.

Just had to share that.
Old 02-10-2011, 07:08 AM
Student Driver is offline
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Originally Posted by mikeb693 View Post
STEWART IN-FRA-RED is now Deli Express!
The picture of the sandwich factory on that history page reminds me a bit too much of the scene in Freddy Got Fingered.
Old 02-10-2011, 10:30 AM
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Bill McNeil loved 'em.
Old 02-10-2011, 06:04 PM
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I used to like them in the 60's.

Perhaps their cellophane was fairly transparent to thermal infrared. Plastics often are.
Old 02-11-2011, 01:31 PM
ducati is offline
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My BIL drove a Stewart Sandwich route. Supplied convenience stores, vending machines, and such.

My sister worked at the "kitchen" making them. Just a bunch of long tables with a couple of dozen women slapping sammiches together, and boxing them up for delivery.

Sometime between 1981 and 85 or so...
Old 02-11-2011, 01:41 PM
shiftless is offline
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I worked at Stewart sandwiches in about 1975. The food was decent and I freely ate it during breaks. But I have never gotten over the sound of the frozen patties falling from the freezer unit into the cart that I rolled around. Or the smell - that smell that comes out of all freezers only larger and room-filling.
Old 02-11-2011, 08:42 PM
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Back in the early eighties when I was working second shift at the cheese factory, I used to get up at about 11:00 AM, take a shower, smoke a bowl, stop at the gas station for a Stewarts sub and head for work.

Miss those days sometimes.
Old 02-19-2011, 03:55 PM
Memories is offline
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Stewart Infr Red & Stewart Sandwiches

My father moved to Grand Rapids, MI in 1955 to help start a Stewart Infra Red Sandwich. A family friend was starting a franchise there. Later it was sold to Stewart Sandwiches of Norfolk, VA. It was owned by Ted Broeker. The top selling sandwich was called a Chuckwagon. Each franchise had their own commissary for making sandwiches but when Stewart Sandwiches purchased them the sandwiches were mass produced in Norfolk & a semi came about every other week to fill the freezer.
Old 04-18-2011, 10:03 PM
budinboat is offline
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breakfast in the 70s

Well I recall the private school I attended served these back in 73 up to 79. here in Maryland I loved them along with a cherry soda can still taste it today. My favorite was the HERO as the edges of the bun always seemed to get crinkled and hard. But the taste of the ham and cheese was great and still sticks in my mind as one of the best pre fast food meals I ever had. Later on our local boat dock had one of the infra red machines to make the sandwiches hoggies chuckwagons , hot dogs and everything else. I have a picture of the machine that I will try and upload. For those kids of the the 70s like myself do you also remember ice cream bubble gum with the clown on it. that came in several flavors......
Old 04-19-2011, 05:55 AM
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The wedge sandwiches are in a machine at the "Y".
Old 04-19-2011, 07:32 AM
Harmonious Discord is offline
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It's just a matter of using the right plastic for the wrapper and it can handle the heat.
Old 04-19-2011, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
It's just a matter of using the right plastic for the wrapper and it can handle the heat.

The in fur red heating elements would be pretty hot. But the air in the oven would not. The system might even be designed to keep the air in the oven relatively cool.

Most of the heat would pass through the thin plastic, heating up the food underneath it. Since that food would have moisture in it, that would create steam. Which is good for several reasons. One, your food is getting steamed which is an effective way to heat something up without burning it. Its hard to get steam really really hot this way so the steam is also going to limit how hot the thin plastic thats in contact with it can get. The steam might actually be keeping the plastic cooler than it would be without the steam. Also, staleish bread can be reborn to some extent when steamed and eaten warm.

And somebody better get a lawyer now that I know how my uncle was killed in that cranberry bog years ago.
Old 05-06-2011, 11:59 AM
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I remember Joe Batton (Golf Pro), at the Boiling Spring Lakes Golf Course in NC, selling Stewart sandwiches when I worked there as a kid in the early 70's.
Old 05-06-2011, 01:54 PM
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We had one at the lake my parents were part owner of in the 1970s, selling them at the snack bar. I was too young at the time to work the snack bar, mostly running messages from the phone at the bar to the various life guards.
Old 06-14-2011, 01:25 PM
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The Cohen Family, my aunt and uncle, of New Jersy owned a division of the Stewart Sandwich distribution company and my dad was the president. My brother, sister and I worked summers selling those sandwiches. It was a big operation. Loved those sandwiches!
Old 06-14-2011, 02:49 PM
sitchensis is offline
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This has got to be a record for new posters. A lot of people must have loved those sandwiches.
Old 07-11-2011, 09:32 PM
Monique S. is offline
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Stewart Sandwiches of the 70s

It was awesome reading all the posts regarding Stewart Sandwiches.

I had the pleasure of experiencing Stewart Sandwiches at the private school I attended from 1977-1985. Since we didn't have a cafeteria at the school, we ate lunches in our classrooms and our teachers took daily Stewart Sandwich and weekly Bircherd (?) milk orders. Typically we had hamburgers on Tuesdays, cheese pizzas on Wednesdays and Thursdays were sometimes hot dogs one year and bean burritos the following year. Unfortunately I was not a lucky regular "hot lunch" kid, as my mom usually packed my lunch. I was sooo jealous of these kids and my mouth watered whenever lunch rolled around and the tray full of hot sandwiches was brought in from an awaiting rolling cart in the class hallway. If I was lucky enough to scrape together allowance money, I treated myself to a sandwich. Those were the best days!!

As mentioned in other posts, I think Stewart Sandwiches is now Deli Express.
Old 07-15-2011, 10:15 AM
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Stewart Sandwiches

Stewart In-fra-red started out as a national franchise in the early 50's. I know that there were franchises in Atlanta, Miami, Norfolk, Birmingham, Louisville, Chicago, Jacksonville, Indianapolis to name a few. In the 60's and early 70's the norfolk franchise started buying up the other franchises and got into legal problems when they violated their franchise agreement.

I worked there as a teenager, doing everything from cleaning the equipment including the ovens and making sandwiches. During my first years of college I drove a truck route and delivered sandwiches, pizzas and school lunches during the summer break.

The celophane was a high temperature product that was originally supplied as bags but in the 60's they started using a machine that made a tube that heat sealed the seam and both ends. In fra red had an advantage over microwve (microwave was not invented yet) but it actually toasted the bread.
Old 07-15-2011, 11:42 AM
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The memories!
Old 07-16-2011, 05:27 AM
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The meat pies you get in every roadhouse in Australia are wrapped in cellophane, too, and that withstands the heat of the ovens.
Old 07-16-2011, 06:26 AM
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Although this topic is a few years old, I'm going to move it to CS for you.
Old 07-16-2011, 08:05 AM
Capitaine Zombie is offline
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Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
This has got to be a record for new posters. A lot of people must have loved those sandwiches.
Christ, it almost looks like a little bit too elaborate viral campaign for Stewart sandwiches.
Old 07-27-2011, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
When I was a young kid, my uncle owned a bar-he had a line of pre-made sandwiches that were supplied by a company named "Stewart"
10-4 - In the late '70s/early 80's I was a kid running around (Driving) .. an older friend of mine ran a mom/pop convenience store and sold a ton of Stewart sandwiches. THey were in cellophane and heated up in a giant "easy-bake" oven -- a pre-cursor to a microwave, it literally had some kind of light bulbs to make the heat. The cellophane would get a little crispy and brown like the sandwich.

A couple of the sandwiches were delicious - there was a soyburger cheeseburger that if you heated it just right you'd get this great toasted bun and bubbly cheese. There was also a "deluxe" that was like a ham/cheese thing - again great toasty bun. Also a packaged pizza slice that was also very good. Probably some others but those were my favorites - I could get them with a coke for around a buck ! THe 'deluxe' was a little more.

Like most everything else good - these were ruined by company management. They moved away from the light bulb oven to the microwave (because it was faster), and came out with a new line-up that pretty much just tasted like rotten meat and soggy microwave bun. The original sandwiches took around 5 minutes to heat up - the microwave ones of course were under a minute.

I can remember the crispy bun and flavor like it was yesterday. I bet if someone would re-invigorate the product line it would go.

Old 07-28-2011, 12:15 PM
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Wow, I had totally forgotten these!
Yes - they were everywhere when I was a kid in Illinois. I can remember those slightly burned cellophane wrappers and the bland food inside that was just perfect if your taste palette considered Spaghetti-O's gourmet pasta.
As a kid, they were perfect junk food pre-McDonald's and other fast food/junk food chains.
If I recall, it was always a hit-or-miss regarding which sandwiches they might have; sometimes it was a choice of ham and American cheese or nothin'.
You often got the feeling that sandwich was prepared 4 months prior to you eating it.
Old 08-08-2011, 09:38 AM
Obbop is offline
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First post!!!

Found you folks seeking information about my beloved longed-for long gone heat-and-eat sandwich from the 1970s and 1980s.

Lengthy research, Web seeking, etc. slowly led to my belief my longed-for incredible edible was a Stewart (possibly other makers since I ate similar sandwiches nation-wide) with the name(s) of the sandwich possibly Wrangler and/or Longhorn with the possibility other names were used, depending upon location

If anybody has information, an opinion...anything I encourage you to follow the link to the exact blog post at WordPress that covers this topic and feel free to add ANY data, opinion, belief.... anything that assists in my chasing info regarding the sandwich that sustained me, made my liver quiver with unadulterated delight.

Thanks in advance for any assistance given!!!!!!!!!!
Old 08-23-2011, 09:49 PM
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All hail the stewart sandwich !

Just ran across this "multi year" thread. When I was in High School in the mid 70's, our school opted out of the nutrition based hot lunch program and brought in the Stewart Sandwich exclusively. It is all we had to eat every day for three years ! I used to love the Chuckwagon and their Cheese (?) burger. We since have joked that they must have contained traces of cocaine because you could never get enough of them !

Today the closest thing I have found to ease my craving is the "Holideli" line of sandwiches at the Holiday Station Stores in the northern part of the US midwest. Mmmmmmmm !

Thanks for the memories everyone !
Old 08-27-2011, 09:30 AM
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We had one of the Stewart Sandwich ovens in the small country store in Bluff City , TN during the 1980's. I remember the Sandwiches were actually pretty good and often wondered if they were still around. We kept them in the cooler and when the customer wanted them they could just put them in the oven and heat them up, a pretty good seller if I remember correctly. Seems like an insiginifiant think at the time but some things just stand out later in life when you remember them.
Old 09-29-2011, 03:54 PM
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stewart sandwiches

I worked for stewart sandwiches as a kid fixing and cleaning there ovens and pizza ovens and later microwaves....I also worked on the doboy wraping machine that packaged the samdwiched back in the late 70,s early 80,s. I thought that the sandwiches were realy good sence I got to go into the production room and make my own. I know the the company that I worked for used only the best products. Sence I worked on the ovens, I found out the best ways to cook the products because if it didn,t work out I could always go back and try again and after experimeting I got preaty good at cooking them.
Old 09-29-2011, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Student Driver View Post
The picture of the sandwich factory on that history page reminds me a bit too much of the scene in Freddy Got Fingered.
LOL. "Look at me! I'm sexy! I'm a sexy boy! DING DONG! DING DONG!"
Old 10-07-2011, 10:59 PM
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Man, I loved 'em. When I was a kid in the mid 60s, our corner drug store sold them. The burgers were 30 cents and my pal John and I would split one. We were about 11yrs old. The old lady at the counter would take a butter knife and cut it in two for us.
Every bar and grocery store sold them in the 60s and 70s. In the early 70s I was in college and working as a parking lot attendant in downtown Mpls. Almost all office buildings had little cigar/gum/newspaper kiosks in the lobby in those days...usually run by blind people, for some reason. And they all had the those tasty Infra-Red sandwiches! Every payday, I'd spring for the Stewart Chuckwagon...a hamburger/steak type thing with onions on it and a pat of butter (or somthing). I can smell it to this day.
Old 10-08-2011, 03:35 PM
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Yea, I used to run across the street to Hay-Lo's store. They had a whole quarter end of a reach down circa 60's , meat cooler, filled with Stewart and later, off-brand, prepared burritos and sandwiches. I was right oi the cusp, I saw the changeover from infrared to microwave in the late seventies, to early eighties. I thought their cheeseburgers were the strangest tasting things I had ever eaten. They were quite unusually flavored from the early plastics high temp steaming, and a MSG, liquid smoke flavor. The cheese was uite substandard. They had some decent things like the BBq pork. The hot Ham and cheese, Nope.
Old 10-08-2011, 03:36 PM
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I think later they had Heroes.
Old 10-08-2011, 03:38 PM
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Competitors came along with large servings, like half pound burritos, and bigger sandwiches.
Old 10-12-2011, 02:23 PM
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I remember these...I was in 3rd or 4th grade when they were introduced to our school as a 'hot lunch program'. To a kid, they were the greatest thing ever....especially compared to lukewarm milk, a bruised apple and a slice of bologna on white bread...blargh! Wednesday was PIZZA DAY!
Old 10-15-2011, 10:29 PM
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Anyone Remember The Torpedo Sandwich?

My father was working for Stewart Sandwiches when he died in 1977. In the mid to late 60's the SS franchise he worked for sent him to work at their plant in Hagerstown Maryland. I was born shortly after the family moved to Hagerstown, a great deal of my earliest childhood memories are from times spent with my dad at the facility there. I'll never forget the delivery truck they had with a huge plastic cheesburger on the cab roof, I used to climb up and sit on it.
We had an In-Fra-Red oven at our house and an ever present supply of Stewart Sandwiches and single serving pizzas in the freezer. The "Torpedo" sandwich and the pizzas were my favorites.
After my father passed away mom moved us back to the Baltimore suburbs where I attended a small Catholic elementary school. The main staple of the cafeteria at the school were Stewart Sandwiches and the In-Fra-Red oven. I thought of my father every time I walked through that lunch line.
I still have a nice little gold tie pin my dad received from SS somewhere along the way. It's in the shape of the company logo "S"(the "S" kid of looks like a burger on a bun) with a couple little diamond chips in it.
I'm happy to see some other folks have some good memories about Stewart Sandwiches as well, thanks for passing them along!!
Old 10-21-2011, 09:11 AM
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I can't believe no one has mentioned my persoanl fave...the Pizzaburger . Also liked an Oboy now and then.
Old 10-21-2011, 04:40 PM
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I usually wash one down with a Colbert Cola.
Old 11-03-2011, 02:28 PM
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Ah the memories...I remember these sandwich's. I used to eat them for lunch at high school nearly everyday in the late 70's early 80's. We were given the option to eat from the school cafetereria menu or choose from a selection of Stewart sandwiches. I loved the Stewart cheese burger and the hoagie and ham and cheese subs. The way the infra red oven cooked them is what really made them. The way the cheese melted and the bun was toasted gave it a comfort food appeal that I crave to this day. I wish I could have one of those cheese burgers now and relive my teen years. Their cheese anad pepperoni pizzas were good also. Usually washed down with a carton of chocolate milk or Coca Cola and an ice cream bar for desert. Lol. I lived on these things through out my high school years.
Old 11-07-2011, 01:47 PM
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Dear RW, I too was a big fan of the Pizzaburger. The grilled cheese was delicious during lent at my school ( St. Charles)
In the mornings at my schoole, the teacher ( usually an overly aggressive nun) would call out the names of each sandwich and you had to pre-order by raising your hand. Sometimes I would raise my hand a few times and extra sandwiches would be made. My older brother Jeff would then go to lunch at a later time and offer to buy those sandwiches at a reduced rate. I also loved the hot dog but on many occassions Mrs. Bellner would not heat it enough and the middle would be cold, this would cost me major stress and worry as I was arather picky eater. Why did I not just ask for it to heated up?
Old 11-07-2011, 02:46 PM
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My Mom was a lunch room helper at a catholic grade school. She tells me stories about Stewart sandwiches and how delicious the "Oh Boy" sandwich was. Pure Americana at its finest. Wake up America!!
Old 11-07-2011, 03:13 PM
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Man..this thread has had more rebirths than a Rock movie!
Amazing how interesting sandwiches can be!
Old 11-11-2011, 12:53 PM
Alanboyer is offline
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pumpkin seeds

I'm looking for the small boxes of heavily salted pumpkin seeds I bought at the candy store as a kid. I believe they came in a small red box and the brand might have been Indian head. They were so salty I lapped water of my dogs dish for days!


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