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Bar serves up a big sandwich

Warning: This column item will contain a word some of you might find offensive.

OK, now that I've given notice, let me tell you about the Big Ass Sandwich Company & Saloon.

Yes, that is the name and the eatery/bar is at 4378 U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet.

"When people saw our sandwich, 90 percent of them would say 'That's a big-ass sandwich,'" said Michael Casale, owner and a former resident of Pittsburgh. "The sandwich is what it is. I am not saying anything wrong. I'm just saying what people say."

Still, Casale, who opened the joint New Year's Eve, decided to be thoughtful of those who might find his big yellow sign with red lettering offensive. So, he put black stars on parts of the you-know-what.

Served hot or cold, the sandwich is a monstrosity of calories and fat, of this I am certain.

Imagine a sandwich piled high with sweet and sour beer slaw, homemade fries, cheese, a meat of your choice (roasted turkey breast, fried bologna, pulled pork and grouper are among the options) and served on homemade flatbread.

Prices range from $6.25 to $6.95.

The four burger choices (cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, South of the Border chili cheeseburger and Jo Mama Burger) are served with the homemade beer slaw and fresh cut french fries. The mama burger has chili, bacon, fried onions and cheese. The burgers are $5.50 to $6.95.

There are also appetizers and side dishes, like the What's Up Dog - hot dogs wrapped in dough and deep fried. You get four and they come with cheese sauce. The dough looks similar to puff pastry and will set you back $4.95.

I didn't eat any of the offerings because I went to the eatery/bar late at night when plenty of patrons were smoking like chimneys.

Casale told me there is an exhaust system installed and an improved one will soon be added. He said a future expansion would include a nonsmoking section.

I plan to go back for a sandwich to go, because it looked phenomenal.

Just as spectacular was the wall art.

A local artist named Michael "Sheik" Tisdale collaborated with Casale to develop the mural he created that features characters from popular gangster movies and shows including "The Godfather," "Scarface, "Pulp Fiction" and "The Sopranos."

Sheik is gifted, and I tolerated the smoke longer than I intended to just to enjoy his all black and white paintings.

On a side note, Robert Palmer, who is running for a seat on the Myrtle Beach City Council, became Casale's business partner about four weeks ago.

They open at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Call 651-1000.

Status of Quiznos

Four Quiznos locations have closed on the Grand Strand.

The Myrtle Beach locations at Oleander Drive and Coastal Grand mall are closed, as well as the Pawleys Island location at 10517 Ocean Highway and the Murrells Inlet location at 3290 U.S. 17 Business.

Both Myrtle Beach locations, according to the city of Myrtle Beach, were owned by Randy Long. It's not clear if he also owns the Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet locations. I called Long, but I haven't spoken to him yet.

However, I did get an opportunity to chat with other owners who said they are hanging in there and are encouraged by local support.

Sarah Farmay, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Loris Middle School, owns the location at 2126 S.C. 9 E. in Longs. Her husband, Pommy Farmay, is also an owner.

Their store recently was recognized as a gold store by corporate headquarters because of its dedication to quick service, cleanliness and accuracy.

Corporate ranked them No. 131 out of about 5,200 restaurants, a number that surely has changed because of closings.

"We have great local support," Sarah Farmay said. "We have two workers [Amanda Weaver and Connie Sackett] who have been with us since we opened [in 2007]. They are popular with our customers, and I believe that since my husband is here seven days a week has helped us also because an owner is always here to make sure the place is clean and the business is run well."

Bobby Patel owns the Quiznos location at 2776 Church St. in Conway. It is inside a Citgo gas station, which he also owns.

"We are just barely hanging on," Patel said. "People are just not spending enough money, and I think they might not know we are here because we're inside the gas station. Still, I'm hopeful."

The location at 4101 Postal Way in Carolina Forest is inside a Shell gas station, and it too is still open.

Call 399-0505 (Longs), 349-2255 (Conway) and 236-1036 (Carolina Forest).