Shelly’s in the Gateway Plaza building, near the former Georgia Music Hall of Fame, has a simple idea in a difficult location. Her mission seems to be to have great, unfussy sandwiches, for a good price, in a lovely atmosphere. The place on the bottom floor of this modern building is spotless and instantly makes you feel relaxed. No one is in a particular hurry but neither is the service slow, by any measure.
We got there a little early for lunch and our sandwiches were made whole by the time we got our self-serve fountain drinks. Just before noon, others customers began trickling in, almost as if they knew the person before them had received their order. It was a steady stream during our visit, never more than one sandwich maker/cashier could handle.
In some ways, the location is actually very central. The offices above, obviously, have an easy trek, but so do people at the businesses on Mulberry Street and the east end of Cherry Street. There’s a very pleasant mini-park to walk through between the Gateway building and the five-level parking garage, and on rainy days, just use the bridge from the garage to the building to stay dry.
The sandwiches are classic and pretty basic. Served on your choice of white, wheat, sourdough, hoagie or onion roll, you can have homemade chicken salad, a turkey and ham club, a ham and cheese or a BLT. There’s also a grilled Reuben with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing and a Philly cheesesteak.
We tried the club, turkey on sourdough and the chicken salad, each for $6.49 including your choice of potato salad, pasta salad, chips or a cookie. The sandwiches are all piled high, with whatever condiments you request. I had the grilled cheese with bacon as a half sandwich, with the small salad bar as my other half, still for only $6.49. Most of the salad bar items are not homemade, but they’re still tasty -- like three bean salad, pickled beets, potato salad and macaroni salad. They do make the broccoli salad themselves, with plenty of bacon on top.
It was too hot for soup the day we came, but their repertoire includes tomato bisque, chicken tortilla, potato and bacon, and chicken with wild rice. A bowl is only $3.95. A menu card says they also make wraps and can make salads for delivery only.
For these prices, all downtown offices should have one day a week as “Shelly’s in the Gateway Day.” Everyone can work really hard until lunch is delivered and then take a break for a good sandwich and a cookie.
Shelly’s in the Gateway
Address: 300 Mulberry St., Macon
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $3.49-$6.49
Rating: 2.5 stars