The Sandwich Spot Phoenix owners, Kirsten Freeman, holding a “Roadrunner” sandwich, and husband John Freeman, holding a “Wiley Coyote,” run their shop by the motto “Love All Feed All” (photo by Darryl Webb, special for North Central News).

Just over a year ago, John and Kirsten Freeman took the plunge. They both had been working in the construction industry, and they decided to act on a long-held dream and go into business on their own. On Jan. 14, 2023, they opened The Sandwich Spot, in the Stratford Plaza at 12th Street and Glendale Avenue.

It may seem a radical turn from construction to culinary, but for John Freeman it was a natural transition. He had left construction to be a full-time caretaker for his grandfather, and 18 months later, after his grandfather passed away, went to culinary school.

“I’ve always been able to cook,” John said. “I wanted to learn the technical side.” He went to the Cordon Bleu in Phoenix, and when it closed, to the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale.

“This is our first business venture together,” Kirsten said. “John became a chef, but we never got to see each other. He was working nights and weekends, and I had a day job — still do — as an accounts receivable manager in the construction industry.”

They knew exactly the kind of place they wanted to open here. Ten years ago, the Freemans were living in California. “We found one Sandwich Spot location and fell in love with it,” Kirsten said. “We wanted to open one then, but for many reasons — fear, money, time — we didn’t do it.”

The Freemans moved to Arizona about eight years ago. “We’d look at places and start the process, and then for those same things — fear, money, time — we’d stop,” Kirsten said. “Finally, we just decided, ‘Let’s jump in. The only way we’re going to do it is to take the risk.’ We knew The Sandwich Spot was tried and true. We loved it, and we really wanted to bring it here to Arizona.”

“We looked at several locations,” John said. “This one came up as an asset sale on BizBuySellTM (an internet marketplace for businesses).” The owner had developed a to-go food shop and was nearly ready to open when medical issues halted her plans. “We knew how we could make it work,” John said.

The Freemans took over the shop, plus the space next door, and took down a wall to double the area and make room for on-site dining.

Kirsten works at the shop weekends, managing the accounts, staffing, scheduling and other back-end duties. John runs the day-to-day operations, developing new items to add to the menu.

Kirsten also is responsible for the décor, including her full-wall painting with a desert sunset theme and the shop’s motto: “Love All Feed All.”

“More and more, people are finding us,” Kirsten said. “We had a couple coming down all the way from Prescott,” John said. “A lot of people from California come in and say, ‘Oh my God, there’s one here now!’”

The Sandwich Spot is a licensed operation, not a franchise, the couple said.

“With a franchise you have a corporate office and everyone has to follow their rules,” Kirsten said. “With a franchise, you pay a portion of your sales to them; with a license, you don’t. Every location is independently owned and operated. Each store can choose its own theme. The first 24 sandwiches in every location are the same as far as ingredients, but the names are different for each store. We’re free to do what we want to after that ‘24 sandwiches,’ and add our own sandwiches.”

Customer favorites include the Grand Canyon with ham, salami, prosciutto, provolone, and Italian dressing. Other favorites include the Tombstone, with hot turkey, bacon, cheddar and avocado; the Vortex, with hot turkey, bacon, avocado, cream cheese and house-made Bomb Sauce (jalapeño ranch); and the Wiley Coyote, with hot pastrami, roast beef, salami and Swiss cheese.

“It’s my personal favorite,” John said. “I like to put that on our Dutch crunch bread with all the veggies and our Psycho Sauce, which is not hot but crazy good.”

The smoky, tangy sauce contains garlic, olive oil, jalapeno ranch, and barbecue and teriyaki sauces.

One thing that sets this Sandwich Spot apart is John’s hands-on approach, Kirsten said. When they started, the sauces were made from scratch, but other ingredients were purchased pre-made.

“Within the first two months, we said we needed to start doing things fresh, and it made such a difference.”

John makes the marinara for the meatball sandwich and cranberry sauce that goes on several sandwiches. He also makes a vegan pesto with sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, along with balsamic and white wine vinegars, spices, olive oil and basil.

“We also make our hummus from scratch and a vegan patty,” Kirsten said. “We’re giving as many options as we can.”

For dessert, John makes chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cheesecake, including a “turtle” version with chocolate sauce, caramel and nuts drizzled over the top.

“The other thing that’s outstanding for us is our customer service,” she said. “It’s quick service, but it’s just as important to us as if it was a fine dining meal. Our motto is ‘Love All Feed All,’ We do our best to always give the love and share it with everybody, because what better way than through food?”

Despite a couple of bumps in their year-long road — including hacking of their Google page and email that put a temporary hitch in online orders — their business is growing, Kirsten said, including catering for area businesses. And while details aren’t available at this time, the couple hopes to expand this year with a second location.

The Sandwich Spot, at 1219 E. Glendale Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. For information, call 602-603-1515 or visit


  • Marjorie Rice

    Marjorie Rice is an award-winning journalist, newspaper food editor, travel editor and cookbook editor with more than three decades' experience writing about the culinary industry.

    View all posts

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