My Friend’s Place Restaurant
My Friend’s Place is a deli-style restaurant that serves only lunch, including sandwiches like this Double Decker Club Deluxe with chips and a drink.
By Rachael Mason
Owner: Steve Schaefer.
Years open: 10 years.
Location: The restaurant is located in the Gwinnett Prado shopping center, which is on Pleasant Hill Road between Satellite Boulevard and Old Norcross Road.
Hours: My Friend’s Place is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Capacity: Seats 55.
Crowd: A lot of professionals have lunch at My Friend’s Place. “It’s people who are at work and want a quick and healthy lunch,” Schaefer said. The busiest hours are from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The restaurant does most of its business during the week. On Saturday, “the crowd really thins out,” Schaefer said.
In addition to serving lunch, the restaurant caters breakfast and lunch and prepares box meals for local businesses.
Atmosphere: Well-lit and casual, the restaurant has windows on two sides and mirrors on a third wall. Small, utilitarian tables have off-white tops, while the chairs have bright red seats. Customers order at a counter packed with racks of chips and cakes and cookies.
Mementos from Schaefer’s hometown hang on the Chicago wall in the back hallway.
Food: The top-selling sandwich is the chicken salad. “Sixty percent of the people who come here come for the chicken salad,” Schaefer said.
The chicken salad is made with large pieces of chicken, apples, a little bit of celery, pecans, salt and pepper. Customers have told Schaefer about trying to replicate this recipe in their own kitchens. They all say their chicken salads just don’t taste the same. The secret is the mayonnaise.
“Our food supplier makes a special mayonnaise just for My Friend’s Place,” Schaefer said.
Another popular sandwich is the Double-Decker Club Deluxe, which is stacked high with imported ham, oven-roasted turkey breast, American and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato and bacon. The egg salad and tuna salad are also popular.
Every day, My Friend’s Place offers three different soups from a list of 15 or 20. Varieties include black bean and rice, vegetable beef, chicken noodle, lobster bisque, cream of broccoli and Brunswick stew. The cream of potato soup with bacon is particularly well-liked by customers.
Desserts: The dessert list includes chocolate chip, peanut butter or oatmeal raisin cookies and carrot, chocolate, sour cream and red velvet cake. Fudge brownies and banana nut bread are also offered.
Beverages: My Friend’s Place serves Coke products, sweet or unsweet iced tea, apple and orange juice, milk and coffee.
Things you might not know: My Friend’s Place is a chain of independently owned franchises. Schaefer purchased the Duluth restaurant from his father, who used to run the business and still helps out. “It’s been kind of a family business,” he said.