Maddi Mae’s Cafe is a nice sandwich shop in downtown Athens. It is famous for its chicken salad (which we haven’t tried yet) and the owners try their best to combine quality ingredients and fast service. They are open for lunch every day but Sunday. They are open some mornings and evenings but it’s best to check their Facebook page for current hours outside of lunchtime.
- Sandwiches, Wraps, Salads, and Ice Cream
- Around $7 -$10 for a sandwich and side
- Date of our visit – July 31st, 2021
Maddi Mae’s is located on White Street. It might not be the easiest place to spot unless you know what you are looking for. There is a small parking lot between it and Hardee’s or you can park in the downtown street parking. The spaces right in front of the restaurant are angled so most of the time you won’t have to parallel park.
Maddi Mae’s Cafe is a comfortable mix of old and new. The ceiling fans, use of lots of wood, and pictures of historic Athens give it a country feel while the glossy poured top tables, bright orange walls, and flat-screen menus give it a modern touch. There is seating for about 40 people.
It’s a cross between fast food and full service as well. You order at a counter and get your own drinks but your meal is brought to you and they clear the tables.
Menu Variety and Price
They have a good selection of sandwiches with several bread and cheese types to customize them further. Sides include a choice of two different pasta salads, fresh fruit, and several varieties of chips. About half a dozen varieties of salad are on the menu as well. The prices are moderate with most sandwiches running $8 or $9 dollars.
We didn’t have dessert on this trip but Maddi Mae’s is the only restaurant I’m aware of that serves 3 different types of ice cream. They have soft serve, hand-dipped, and rolled ice cream as well as shakes and sundaes.
Food Quality and Portions
Randy got a sirloin sandwich with ranch pasta salad and I got a grilled chicken on rye with a fruit cup. It took us about 8 minutes to get our meals. That is a little longer wait time than most meals at Maddi Mae’s because the steak for Randy’s sandwich took an extra couple of minutes to cook.
The sandwiches were grilled (or toasted) just right and were very tasty. Both the chicken and the steak had good flavor and were tender and Randy said the au jus sauce was the best he’s had at a restaurant. We would both order the same sandwich again, just maybe not on our next rip since they have so many good-sounding options.
The pasta salad is a little drier than I make it at home and Randy thought it needed a touch of salt but had good flavor. The fruit cup was excellent with 4 types of fresh fruit that were all high quality.
We both drank tea, Randy got sweet and mine was unsweetened. It was smooth tasting but the sweet tea was just a touch overly sweet for Randy. He mixed in a touch of unsweetened tea and it was perfect.
Maddi Mae’s is an interesting restaurant. Their menu isn’t massive, but what they have they do well. I’m a fan of sandwiches when they stand out from the crowd and that’s exactly what their sandwiches do.
Would you go back? Yes. I’d go back for their au jus sauce alone, but they have several things I want to try. I plan to include them in our search for the best ice cream in East Tennessee, and I’d easily put them on the list of the best sandwiches in East Tennessee.
I love the ability to customize your sandwiches a bit and the option of something besides fries or plain chips to go with a sandwich. The fruit cup was so good I was tempted to buy a bowl to bring home with me.
Would you go back? Yes. We have to go back and try their ice cream. Plus I’m looking forward to trying a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or a NELI (Nothing Else Like It) next time.
Who Should Visit
Anyone who likes a good sandwich and is in downtown Athens at lunchtime.
10 S White St., Athens, TN 37303
Have you tried Maddi Mae’s Cafe? Let us know what you think in the comments.