At 2 a.m. on any given day, you'll find Nelson Rue working away and baking bread for his restaurants.
Nelson Rue is the proud owner of Schmaltz's Sandwich Shoppe, a staple of the Waco community.
The business has called Waco its home since 1976.
Originally located on the Baylor campus,Schmaltz's was where Rue was looking for a job. He stopped at the sandwich shop on his hunt and left owning it in 1978.
“I was looking for a job, went to [the owners] and asked them for a job, and they suggested 'why don’t you buy it?'” Rue recalled. “24-years-old and I owned a sandwich shop.”
The bread is the standout of Schmaltz's, according to Rue. In fact, the restaurant's slogan for the past twenty years has been simple: "Waco born & bread."
The bread, which Rue begins to make and bake at 2 a.m. and finishes around 11 a.m., is the one thing that everyone who goes to Schmaltz's can't get enough of.
"It’s our bread. Because you can’t get our bread anywhere else in the world. It’s only right here at Schmaltz’s," Rue said. “I feel good about coming to work. I think of what I do as art – making the bread.”
The bread, along with the welcoming atmosphere, draws customers in from everywhere, but the locals have attributed to Schmaltz's success.
“It’s nice to be recognized. We’ve been voted by locals as the favorite place for over 20 years," Rue said. "Hearing stories about customers talking about coming here…like a husband, wife, couple of kids and telling me that they had their first date here."
Rue has seen the community embrace the sandwich shop, with two locations - one on Valley Mills Drive and one on 5th Street in downtown Waco. To Rue, the community and the locals have really been the key to Schmaltz's popularity.
From new customers to regulars, becoming a "long-time Waco place" is a goal Rue is proud to have achieved.
"When you sit down, it's a good place to be," Rue said.
Celebrate National Sandwich Day with the Schmaltz, a sandwich that fits ham, salami, lunch meat, lettuce, garlic butter, and more in between two slices of bread.
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