Students who have spent the past nine months missing the culinary talents of Mary Duffy, the Sandwich Lady, might still have way to satisfy their cravings.
Duffy, who worked at the Binz Refectory for nine years and retired last May, has started her own business: Mala and Mary’s Kitchen. Duffy and her business partner Mala Vujnovich cater business meetings and parties and put together holiday baskets.
The idea of being able to taste Mary’s famous sandwiches again is almost overwhelming for some students.
Mary Duffy, the Sandwich Lady, branched out after her retirement from St. Thomas and is now creating baskets like this one. (Courtesy of Mary Duffy)
“When she left, I was heartbroken,” sophomore Ben Stuttgen said. “I felt like a part of me died. This is brilliant, and she is going to make a fortune.”
Junior Erin Windschitl said she remembers waiting in long lines to get one of Mary’s sandwiches, but that it was always worth the wait.
“She was great. She always asked how you were. Sometimes she remembered what kind of sandwich was your favorite,” Windschitl said. “I think (the business) will go really well.”
Duffy said she misses the students.
“The one thing I really do miss is all the kids,” Duffy said. “I didn’t anticipate I’d miss them this much.”
Windschitl said Duffy should start advertising her business as soon as possible so the students who remember her from the Binz will be able to order her care packages before they graduate. Duffy, however, is taking it slow.
“We’re not online yet,” Duffy said about Mala and Mary’s Kitchen. “We’re not ready for that, and we don’t want to be too big too fast. We’re still trying to find the right kitchen.”
Duffy said the business is mostly being spread through word of mouth, and is very eclectic. If a customer wants to order something, they have to find a way to get her number and call. The kitchen offers several services, including catering.
The company does catering for corporate offices, as well as making baskets for social gatherings. Duffy said once a month she goes to offices to sell her sandwiches and ends up serving around 300 a day. She also sold quiches for Christmas and baskets for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day.
Duffy said if students want another taste of her famous sandwiches, she caters parties for about $10-$12 per person.
Windschitl said she hopes to be able to order a specialty sandwich, and Stuttgen would like access to anything Duffy prepares.
“Mary can do no wrong,” Stuttgen said.
Grace Pastoor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.