Daneul Summers and his wife, Olivia Mitjavila, have been cooks in the restaurant industry for quite some time. Both Tipton natives, Summers was working at the 3UP Rooftop Lounge above Anthony’s Chophouse in Carmel while Mitjavila was in Fishers at Texas Roadhouse. Last fall, Summers’ mom called to tell him about a vacancy in Tipton.
“The place was wide open and beautiful,” Summers says. “It had been remodeled by the previous owners and it was a cute, cozy, affordable space. We decided we would be fools not to jump on it.”
The couple decided that Tipton could use a soup and sandwich shop. He felt that comfort foods of that sort would do well in the area. Not only are soups and sandwiches his favorite foods, but Summers also knew it would enable him to regularly switch up the menu so he’d never get bored.
“I wanted to do something I enjoy every day,” he says. “Plus, after working for 20 years in the restaurant business, I found that I became less infatuated with the pretentiousness of fine dining, but I still love good, quality food. I don’t think the level of food needs to diminish just because of your surroundings.”
The Sandwich Shoppe opened in early December of 2022. The community was so eager to try it out, they ran out of food on day one.
“We prepared for the first three days and that lasted until 6 p.m. on day one,” Summers says. “We had to close an hour early that day, and we had to close down for lunch the next day so I could prep for that evening. Those first three days were wild, but we’ve been pretty consistent ever since. We feel blessed that the community has been so welcoming. The support we’ve gotten has been out of this world.”
Summers, who is half Korean, and Mitjavila, who is half Spanish, wanted to offer a Korean-Spanish-American fusion concept with a food truck, but in Indiana food can’t be prepared on a food truck – one must have a sanctioned kitchen licensed by the local board of health. Since they knew they would have to open a brick-and-mortar location anyway to do some sort of vending, they adapted.
They opted for a name that was self-explanatory.
“I didn’t want people to drive by and be confused about what we sell,” says Summers, who offers ever-changing soups and salads. For instance, one week they may feature a Veggie Medley soup and Zuppa Toscana, a zesty Italian classic loaded with Italian sausage and russet potatoes. Another week they may feature French Onion soup, and Creamy Sweet Potato with Italian sausage and kale. Sandwich-wise, he loves The Gabagool – capicola, provolone, onion jam and jalapeños on a toasted baguette. The Turkey Spinach Melt includes turkey, spinach, Swiss and American cheese, micro greens, and thousand-island dressing on grilled sourdough. The Spicy Italian includes braised beef au jus and hot giardiniera on a hoagie roll.
“I try to keep it interesting not only for our guests, but for myself, so I’m not making the same thing over and over,” says Summers, who typically offers four soups and six sandwiches daily. Two of those soups rotate on a weekly basis.
Summers and Mitjavila plan to change the menu throughout the year, offering more seasonal sandwiches as the weather warms up. Right now their Spicy Italian and special hot chocolate, with a toasted marshmallow fluffed rim, are popular. In the summertime they hope to offer boba tea and cold wraps.
Social media has been great for helping Summers and Mitjavila get a pulse on what people like. Customers enjoy being able to check Facebook or Instagram to see what’s on the day’s menu.
The Sandwich Shoppe has just five tables and four bar seats, but offers takeout as well.
“The majority of our lunch business comes from surrounding businesses looking for something fresh, made to order,” Summers says, noting that they sell no fried foods. “During the evenings we get an older crowd who likes to eat in.”
Summers cooked all through high school, then shifted away from it. He briefly worked as a journalist, writing about mixed martial arts, which is his other passion. He found that deadlines stressed him out, and he had more control in the kitchen. When he began dating Mitjavila, he got back into cooking.
“Olivia makes me cook for her all the time,” Summers says with a chuckle. “All these recipes I’ve made a million times at home are what end up on the menu.”
Summers is thrilled not only to be making customers’ tummies happy, but also to be working beside his wife on a daily basis.
“She’s my best friend,” he says. “We can come in here and make money together, then have time off together – and since we close at 8 p.m., we’re home by 9 p.m. It’s great.”
The Sandwich Shoppe is located at 125 West Jefferson Street, Suite 5 in Tipton. For more information, call 317-385-4031. Also find them on Facebook, or on Instagram @eattheshoppe.