Pumpernickel, or wheat bread, piles of meat that were never weighed or measured, cheese, some onion, a mayo-mustard combo spread on the bread. Done. That was a Whiffer Randall sandwich.

But that was only a fraction of what made Whiffer's deli a legendary lunch stop. And we're not only talking about the sides which could be homemade potato salad, or coleslaw, or a bowl of steaming chicken soup, also homemade, and delicious cookies and bars.

And pigs. Lots of pigs! Whiffer collected them and they were all over the cozy little restaurant.

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Karla Brown/Townsquare Media
Karla Brown/Townsquare Media

No, Whiffer's was a gathering place. A place where people could go and share the stories of their lives with a woman who was willing to sit down listen to the good, the bad, and the rest. Whiffer's at one time was even rumored to have been a matchmaking hub.

Cecilia "Whiffer" Randall opened Whiffer's Sandwiches in 1978 and spent 42 years feeding Sioux Falls residents looking for great, simple, deli sandwiches and sides.

As usual 1978 was a whirlwind year with a multitude of changes, highs, lows, and everything in-between.

  • Hungry Hungry Hippos debuted and was on the hot toy list that Christmas
  • Garfield the Cat made his newspaper debut
  • The Susan B. Anthony dollar was minted
  • Peoples Temple tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana - 900 people including 300 children died by drinking poisoned punch at the instruction of their leader, Jim Jones
  • Grease was a hot movie release
  • Happy Days, The Rockford Files, and The Muppet Show were just 3 highly rated TV shows
  • Gas cost 63 cents, Eggs were 40 cents a dozen, an 8-track player was $169 and the average income was $17,000

But in the little Whiffer's Sandwiches building on North Minnesota Avenue, the talk was about how great the food was, how unique the dining room was, and of course the usual - - weather, crazy Sioux Falls traffic, politics, rising prices, news, etc - -because some things never change.

Sadly Whiffer's closed in 2020. Even sadder, the tiny, quirky, talkative, former teacher-turned deli owner, who genuinely loved feeding people good, plentiful food, passed away in hospice care on Monday, January 31, here in Sioux Falls.

Rest well, Whiffer!

Gone But Not Forgotten - Iconic Sioux Falls: Whiffer's Sandwiches

The Merriam-Webster definition of iconic is "widely recognized and well-established." That would definitely describe Whiffer's Sandwiches which used to call North Minnesota Avenue home.

The gone but not forgotten sandwich shop was located in an old house at 1133 North Minnesota Avenue. It served sandwiches to Sioux Falls from November 1978 until summer 2020.

(You can find a lot of great stories and stay on top of what's happening, people you should know, food you should eat, and much more in Sioux Falls, just by adopting your own very informative pigeon at Pigeon 605)

Sources: Pigeon 605, Sioux Falls Business with Jodi Schwan, Dakota News NowWhiffer's Sandwiches Facebook, and The People History

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