Sammy Graphos

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Sammy Graphos (born November 15, 1941; died October 5, 2021 in Homewood) was a co-founder of the Sneaky Pete's hot-dog chain and long-time owner of Sam's Super Samwiches on 18th Street South in downtown Homewood.

Graphos, his older siblings Pete and Pauline, and his twin brother Jimmy were sons of Ted Graphos and the former Helen Derzis. Ted moved to Birmingham from Traverse City, Michigan to be wedded by arrangement of relatives still in Greece. Sammy and his siblings grew up in a Greek community in Norwood and he graduated from Phillips High School. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a cook during the Vietnam War.

He married the former Suzanne Betros, whom he had been dating for five years, in 1967. The couple had two children, Ted and Suzanne, both of whom developed multiple sclerosis. The Graphoses have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for MS research over the years.

Sammy had worked at Hill's Food Stores in Five Points South and at Food Town on Green Springs Highway when he was invited by his brother Pete to join his new hot dog business in 1969. He began by managing the second location on 21st Street North, next door to John's Restaurant. In 1970 he opened a new branch in Homewood. In 1978 he split from Sneaky Pete's and rebranded his store as Sam's Super Samwiches, serving breakfast and lunch.

Over the next 43 years, Graphos established himself as a popular and beloved neighborhood restaurateur, sometimes dubbed the "Mayor of 18th Street". He valued his repeat customers and made a habit of undercharging them for meals. He was interviewed as part of the Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral History project on "Greek Restaurateurs in Birmingham". His shop was included in The Birmingham News food columnist Bob Carlton's inaugural "Birmingham Restaurant Hall of Fame" in 2018 and featured on the Travel Channel program "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations" in 2021.

Graphos experienced heart failure in 2021 and was moved into hospice care in late September. He died at home in early October, and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.