Oklahoma Cafe Run By Same Woman, 63 Years Running

Monday, July 16th 2012, 6:19 pm
By: Craig Day

Sometimes it's the place that makes a destination. Sometimes it's the people.

It's both in a downtown gathering spot in, Pawhuska operated by a remarkable woman.

Sally Carroll took over the café in 1949, and more than six decades later, at 95 years old, Carroll, is still serving customers here at Sally's Sandwich Shop.

Craig Day: "Why do you keep going at 95?"

Sally Carroll: "Because I like it."

She's been running Sally's Sandwich Shop since President Truman was in office. Times have sure changed, but little has changed at Sally's.

There's still a pay phone on the wall. People call the pay phone to place orders.

She still makes coffee in the pot she got when she got the business 63 years ago.

She still gets up early to be in each morning by 6 a.m.

"I make the hotcakes for the breakfast and I cut the ham and we have a good breakfast," Carroll said.

Everything is good, from the daily specials to the homemade pies.

It's the good food, but also the friendly feel of Sally's that brings people back generation after generation.

"Now my children eat here. My dad and mom used to eat here. My grandma and grandpa," said Pawhuska resident Andrew Gray.

Sally ran the cafe with her husband of 45 years, Billy Paul, until he died 12 years ago. Then she just kept working.

"Been working since I was 13," Carroll said.

Someone drives her to and from the cafe each day, but that's nothing new. She's never learned to drive.

But she has learned a lot about friendship and community.

"When they leave, they thank me for being here. They like me," Carroll said.

It's hard not to like Sally Carroll and admire her work ethic.

"The doctor says I shouldn't be working so much," Carroll said.

But Sally admits, even at her age, she works well past her doctors' orders and her relatives' recommendations.

"My daughter has retired, and she wants me to retire, but I don't want to," Carroll said.

Work ethic means something to Sally. It means a lot. She's not the type to pass the time in a rocking chair.

"I keep busy, I'm always busy," Carroll said.

We could barely get her to sit still on a bar stool for a little while.

But that's part of what makes her special.

"What else can I do? I don't know anything else, and I like it," she said.

She said she likes the work and loves the customers, and would rather wear out than rust out.

"When they carry me out of here, I'll be smiling," Carroll said. "And don't you dare say I overworked myself, because I like what I'm doing."

Over the past 63 years, she's whipped up a recipe for a happy life, and serves up encouragement for others along the way.

"Don't give up," she said. "Work. Do something. Get out."

Sally's Sandwich Shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 7 a.m. - 1p.m.