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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Greek Restaurateurs in Birmingham


Sam Graphos

Sam's Super Samwiches

When Sam Graphos was young, his dad bought a lamb every spring. He grazed it a few weeks in the back yard before dispatching it in the basement. All the Greek families in Graphos’s neighborhood would roast whole lambs for Easter. As adults, Sam, his twin brother, Jimmy, and older brother, Pete, revived the tradition. Cooking is second nature to the Graphos brothers.

Their Greek-born dad, Ted, owned restaurants and later helped run Lyric Hot Dogs. Sam founded Sneaky Pete’s Hot Dogs in 1966, which expanded to stores owned by Sam (1969), Jimmy (1973) and twenty-one others before Pete sold the chain in 1986. Sam left in 1978 and rebranded his store Sam’s Super Samwiches. Only at Sam’s is a sandwich a samwich. Sam’s hot dogs haven’t changed in five decades. A Special still includes sauerkraut, seasoned beef, chili and special sauce. Sam still uses his dad’s recipe for special sauce and makes the hot-dog chili and seasoned beef in-house.

Mr. Graphos passed away on October 5, 2021, at the age of 79.

Date of interview:

Eric Velasco

Andrew Thomas Lee

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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