Valiant the Sandwich Moves Sandwich Shop to the Heart of Downtown
SALEM- Valiant the Sandwich opened their new location downtown after opening up during the pandemic and developing a cult following.
Their new space is located at 477 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301.
Owner Joshua St. James was born and raised in the Salem area and has worked in the food industry for several years. In 2018, Avid Cider hired him to run the kitchen of their new Cidery in the Pearl District. When they closed in 2019, he began to search for space to run his own restaurant.
“I saw the location previously was up for sale at Pringle Park Plaza, so I started pursuing that,” St. James said. “My wife and I pulled a small equity investment from our house, and we finally opened up the restaurant in May 2022. In hindsight, we didn’t know it was going to be so long. I had already invested and put everything into it so there was no going back unless I wanted to lose it and because we started in 2020, we didn’t have any of the PPP money available.”
Opening during the pandemic created a plethora of challenges, namely not having a built-in customer base nor being able to have indoor dining. Luckily, sandwiches are conducive for takeout and people were wanting to support businesses.
“I thought Salem was ready for a chef-ready sandwich shop, something you see in other cities like Portland,” St. James said. “We do all of the meats in-house and slice our own meats and cheeses. It takes a lot of time, but I wanted to take those skills I learned in nicer dining and apply them to a sandwich shop.”
Although he loved the old space at Pringle Park, infrastructure was an issue. The new location offers a more intimate space in the heart of Downtown Salem. St. James also incorporated a bar setup to provide more options and be open later to take advantage of the dinner crowd.
“I loved the space we had at Pringle, it was such a hole in the wall,” St. James said. “Everyone that came there came for us, it was a destination. Some of the infrastructure wasn’t quite there for us. Ventilation wasn’t great and the landlords were awesome, but it was an exorbitant investment for what we were doing.”
St. James built the bar himself and had a craftsman help out with the tabletop. Their menu has changed slightly from their previous location with a more seasonally rotating list of menu items.
“We don’t do things regularly, we do them our way,” St. James said. “Having the incredible staff that I have, we wouldn’t be where we’re at without the staff. I give a lot of credit to them and their talents and belief in what we’re doing. It’s a chef-driven sandwich shop and it’s more about the food and the experience.”
Their goal is to bring a sense of community to the space and cater to the lunch and late-night crowd.
“I love people and have a tremendous amount of joy in feeding people,” St. James said. “We grinded out for a couple of years, pivoting, adapting and sorting it out. This place popped up, it’s right downtown and a great location. We can continue what we’re doing and hopefully expand a little bit.”