Rockbridge country store's ham sandwich competes for top honors

Published: Feb. 16, 2017 at 7:25 PM EST
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Just off 81 Layne's Country Store has been there since 1954, when a young couple started a business.

“That would be my mother and father," says Steve Layne, who owns the store with his wife now. "When he got out of the military, him and my mother were married, and he wanted to get a job immediately so he opened a country store.”

It is where, under the flags, you could get produce in the summer and country hams all year long.

“The sandwich making started back in the early days when they were building 81," explains Angela, Steve's wife. "There wasn’t anywhere around here to get anything to eat. And the guys would walk up over the hill here and Mr. Layne would make them a baloney sandwich.”

“He made sandwiches for the locals," Steve says. "And he never really advertised it that much, but it was just one of the things that went along with the country store.”

And one of the most popular was the country ham sandwich. So popular now, that someone entered it into a USA Today contest for the best in all of Virginia.

Angela remembers: “I just got an email one day. The email asked for a picture of our country sandwich. They were from USA Today, they were doing an article on the top 50 places in Virginia to get a country ham sandwich.”

“It isn’t something that we entered," says Steve. "Somebody either nominated us or somebody put us in the running for it.”

Steve explains that they make the sandwich with hoop cheese, a sharp Wisconsin cheddar.

"It gives it kind of a unique taste, especially if you toast it,” he says.

Which, with the country ham, lettuce and tomato, they hope will make for a winning combination.

Thursday morning, they were in eighth place.

But Steve says: “We’re thankful for any rating we would get. We’re just thankful for our customers.”

They have a link to the competition on their Facebook page: