Robert Hyndiuk sits at the end of the counter waiting for a bowl of bean soap. It’s lunchtime, and it’s his second meal of the day at on North Avenue in Wauwatosa.
Yes, he loves the food, but he has ulterior motives. The small, bustling restaurant is owned by his son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Kris Hyndiuk.
The day is busy. The restaurant is filled with families and regulars feasting on burgers, like Burger Caprese – a 1/3-pound grilled burger topped with basil, sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and served with oregano-olive tapenade, and various wraps and sandwiches like the Cranberried Turkey – roasted turkey with fresh spinach topped with a special homemade cranberry salsa served on honey oat bran toast with a creamy bleu cheese spread on the side.
The Hyndiuks seem at home here. It’s been 20 years since Peter purchased the restaurant from its namesake. Seeing an opportunity to own an established restaurant with a loyal clientele, Peter kept the name as an homage to his brother John, or so he likes to joke.
John’s Sandwich Shop serves breakfast – all day – lunch and dinner, along with carry-out service. Peter describes the menu as eclectic – from salads and sandwiches to quesadillas and omelets.
Peter met Kris three years after purchasing the restaurant. They married after what he described as a “long engagement.” Peter and Kris are there all day every day – cooking, serving and doing whatever needs to be done. Their life is busy with their four children.
“Yes, my wife is amazing,” Peter said. The couple finds time to volunteer for the children's sporting and school activities, he said. “This is a high-stress business and we try to be here as much as possible. But it’s important to have balance. Keeping a focus on our family helps with that.”
The restaurant seats 45. There is additional patio seating during the warm-weather months. The restaurant has its regulars from the and other nearby businesses. “We also have people from the neighborhood and tourists come in,” Peter said.
The menu is always in transition, Kris said, with seasonal options, healthy alternatives like berry-flax French toast and wheat and barley flour waffles, and menu items that reflect cultural influences.
“We roast our own turkey here and use fresh ingredients,” she said. Soups, chili and even tortillas chips are made in-house. The cranberry salsa served on the turkey sandwich is always a favorite with customers. Pumpkin pecan pancakes sound particularly delicious this time of year.
“We have a lot of people who come in for dinner and order breakfast,” she said. “Our avocado omelette and corned beef hash are very popular.”
And of course, the restaurant offers a weekly Friday fish fry.
John’s Sandwich Shop offers catering and there is ample parking just outside its doors.
John’s Sandwich Shop
Address: 8913 W. North Ave.
Payment: Cash or check only.
6:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Friday
7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday