WHITE LAKE — It’s not just Mrs. Judy’s famous chicken salad that everyone stops by the sandwich shop for. It’s the 60-plus years of great food, service and family that Goldston’s has under its belt — and is recognized as one of or the oldest restaurant at the lake.
Before the Sandwich Shop at White Lake, Mrs. Judy helped run the Goldston’s Hotel dining room up until the early 1950s when her husband, Mr. M.L. Robertson, began running the Sandwich Shop.
“It was a blast growing up down here as a child and watching my mom and dad run the old Sandwich Shop,” said Glenn Robertson, who now runs the Sandwich Shop.
“I can remember the fire of 1957 in the buildings, which is now the arcade and Dairy Queen, and how it was rebuilt and opened in just a few days,” Said Robertson.
Robertson spent many years as a child working around Goldstons whether it be putt-putt, the snow cone stand or finally being able to follow his dad around the Sandwich Shop and learning all the tricks to cooking the food.
When Mrs. Judy finally retired from the Sandwich Shop after putting in many years of work and dedication, her good friend Staci Hunt and her son Kent decided to take over the Sandwich Shop — continuing to run it exactly the same way as Mrs. Judy always had. The Hunts ran the Sandwich Shop for four years until Staci’s sudden and tragic death.
That’s when John and Jill Womble, owners of Goldston’s Beach, contacted Glenn Robertson and his wife Keri about coming back and taking over the Sandwich Shop eight years ago.
Ever since then, and for the past eight summer seasons, the Robertsons would travel down to the lake for the summer and run the Sandwich Shop until the fall when they would pack up everything and go back to their home in Durham.
Finally, in February of this year, after Keri retired from the North Carolina Public School System after working for 30 years, the Robertsons decided to move to White Lake permanently.
The Robertsons have two daughters Amy and Sarah, as well as two granddaughter’s.
“When we would come and visit, the girls loved to jump in the Sandwich Shop kitchen any chance they got,”explained Keri Robertson.
Amy, their oldest daughter, spent an entire summer living at the lake with her grandparents when she was 16 and worked at the Sandwich Shop learning the ropes and family ways.
“I try to keep everything the same way my mother left it and I try to do everything she did, because I saw how successful she was and how happy she made others feel,” she said.
Keri Robertson has continued the tradition of Mrs. Judy’s chicken salad and slaw, which attracts many of the local and out of town Sandwich Shop costumers.
“If someone asked for Mrs. Judy’s recipes she would always leave one thing out, making sure she never gave away her secret ingredient, so I started following her around and writing everything down every time she made something to make sure I got every ingredient,” explained Keri.
The Robertson’s both explained that one of their greatest joys is seeing former employees who worked with either Mrs. Judy and Mr. M.L. or themselves and having them come back for visits and telling them how they are doing and getting to meet their spouses, children and even grandchildren.
“I remember every friendship developed from the kids who come to work here and it is something special,” said Keri.
Crae White first began working for the Robertson’s eight years ago when they came back to open the Sandwich Shop and has worked for them almost every year since then. White has the Sandwich Shop to thank for helping him meet the love of his life, Molly Peterson, who began working at the Sandwich Shop a few summers after White — and they instantly became friends, talking and joking together all the time. They then began to date in 2011 and, finally, on June 20, 2015, they were married with many of the Sandwich Shop employees there to witness the big day.
Ryan Baxley, who has been working at the Sandwich Shop for four summers, said he loves coming back each summer to work and see familiar faces.
“The Sandwich Shop is like my summer home, between growing up as a child on Sandwich Shop chicken tenders and working there every summer since I could drive, there is just something about that place that keeps me coming back,” said Baxley.
Other employees would agree with Baxley. Ariana Hill, a first-year worker at the Sandwich Shop, explained that she enjoys working there and looks forward to coming back next summer.
“We look forward to many more years of service to our good friends with good food at the Sandwich Shop,” Keri said.
Goldston’s Sandwich Shop is a big piece of White Lake’s history and many people still talk about the old Sandwich Shop when Mr. M.L. and Mrs. Judy ran it. The Sandwich Shop attracts many locals as well as visitors on vacation.
The Sandwich Shop is open during the summer months seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends.
Madison McLamb can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.