Tara Bone, contributing writer
Last summer, Cache Valley Family Magazine (CVFM) featured Hamid Salehi and his well known – and loved – sandwich shop, Logan’s Heroes in downtown Logan. Hamid talked about giving his customers (who he referred to as friends) great conversation and the best sandwich they’ve ever had. He also talked about hopes to retire so he could fish, serve the community, and visit family. Logan’s Heroes was purchased in November 2018, and CVFM wanted to see what’s happening at Logan’s Heroes since Hamid retired.
It’s Wednesday around noon and Ryan Olson and his daughter just ordered a sandwich at Logan’s Heroes before heading out to cheer on the Utah State University Aggie men’s basketball team at the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas. Ryan has been ordering sandwiches at Logan’s Heroes since 1989 when he was a Logan High student, but on this day there’s something different – the original owner, Hamid Salehi isn’t here to make his sandwich and the question for Ryan is: “Is it still the same?”
For Ryan, the answer is yes. The sandwiches are still the best around, a friendly staff is ready to help, and the familiar wood paneling and brown vinyl booths have been the same for 30 years.
“Things are the same; so far so good,” Ryan said. “I’m here once a week. If I had one food for the rest of my life it would be the [Logan’s Heroes] Smokey sandwich.”
Although Ryan said he misses Hamid, whom he calls a “special guy,” Ryan is happy Hamid is enjoying retirement. In fact, Ryan said Hamid promised that he’d go fishing with him on the Salmon River and he intends to hold him to that promise. If Hamid’s retired, who’s running Logan’s Heroes?
About a year ago, Preston Parker was having a business lunch at Logan’s Heroes. He said he went to pay for his lunch with a card, but because Logan’s Heroes was cash only, Hamid told him to just come back to pay when he could. Hamid added, “I need to retire – you want to buy my place?”
Little did Hamid know that Preston is one of the owners of Morty’s Cafe, another local restaurant. Preston thought about Hamid’s comment and started investigating its feasibility with other investors. In the end, a group of five people came together to purchase Logan’s Heroes on November 14, 2018.
Preston said they had a three-fold goal for Logan’s Heroes: help get Hamid retired, carry on his vision for Logan’s Heroes, and bring that vision to more people.
Critical to carrying on Hamid’s one-of-a-kind food and atmosphere, was making Charlie Wyatt Logan’s Heroes general manger. Charlie starting working with Hamid eight years ago behind the counter and learned the ins and outs of running Logan’s Heroes from him. She calls Hamid “my dad” and feels strongly about continuing what Hamid started.
“That’s my job, to keep our customers happy and the food the same,” Charlie said. “It’s ultimately to keep Hamid’s legacy continuing.”
That legacy included getting to know each customer on a personal basis and making everybody feel welcome. When it comes to the food, keeping it exactly the same is important because Charlie recalls that Hamid always said, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
However, there have been some changes since the ownership change last fall to expand services. Logan’s Heroes now accepts debit and credit cards, has a social media presence and web site, does deliveries, and takes online orders. This has created a lot of growth, so a second kitchen in the rear of the restaurant is under construction. This summer an outdoor and indoor pick up window will be available.
Preston and his partners held a retirement party for Hamid on December 4. Charlie handed out “golden ticket invitations” to as many Logan’s Heroes regulars as possible. When the evening came, about 60 community members came to honor Hamid. Preston said it was incredible to have the regular customers together all at the same time for the first time ever.
“Some of them were in their 80s, some brought their children, and in some cases three generations of a family were there to support Hamid,” Preston said. “It was Hamid’s ‘this is your life moment’.”
At the retirement party, Preston and his associates unveiled the “Logan’s Hero Program.” Each quarter community members are encouraged to nominate, online or in the restaurant on cards, someone who helps make the Logan-area special. According to the nomination card: “Someone who quietly serves the community and may not even realize they are making a difference.”
Hamid was the Fall 2018 Logan’s Hero, and Preston revealed that the winter 2019 recipient has been selected out of a pool of nominees and will be announced shortly. They’ll be announced at the restaurant where their hero plaque will be displayed on the wall in the restaurant, and he or she will have their very own sandwich added to the menu bearing their name. During “their” quarter, a percentage of the sales from their sandwich will go to the charity of their choice.
“We wanted to do something special to tie the community together in honor of Hamid,” Preston said.
Though Hamid isn’t there every day like he has been for 30 years, his picture greets guests and he often visits during lunch. In fact, specific terms of the purchase agreement included that Hamid gets a free sandwich at least once a week for the rest of his life. Currently, Hamid’s happy to be visiting his 83-year-old mother in Iran – something he couldn’t do before retirement.
Photo credit: Andy Jordan