by Robert Gillis
June 29, 2023
The end of an era. Chris Gunn and Linda are closing Primos Sandwich Shop after a record-breaking 35 years at the Mechanic Street location in Foxboro.
There was no formal announcement, Chris wanted it that way, and I was so grateful I happened upon an article on Foxboro discussion that tonight (June 29) was the last night. I wanted to say goodbye (and get one last sandwich!)
Primos opened in 1989, two years before Susan and I arrived to Foxboro. It became my favorite sub shop for two reasons, the food and service was awesome, and it’s the only sub shop I can find in Massachusetts that makes a bologna and cheese sub exactly as I remember it as a kid purchased from Kresge’s deli in Dorchester.
The business is pretty special, it always has been. There was a break around 2006 where Chris sold the business and was planning on retiring, but after five months, the new owners could make not make it work so Chris resumed operations and ownership.
Throughout the ensuing years, I have always felt so welcome there and always got a kick out of the fact that I was such a regular that whatever teenager might be working there that night would look at me and say to me, “Bologna and cheese everything on it except the hot stuff a bag of chips and a Coke, right?” Exactly!
Whenever I stopped in there, it was very obvious that most people — Chris knew them all by name. There was always talk about — How is the family? How is this going? And discussion of town matters and latest goings on and “Did you read in the paper…”
It was like Cheers, everyone knows your name.
Another reason Chris and Primos was so special: How he took care of Roger.
If you’ve ever been at Primos, you might notice a gentleman name Roger, who has his own table and a special napkin placard holder that recognizes him as the mayor of Foxborough.
Roger is a sweet, lovable man, and sometimes he’s a bit lost in his own little world, much like we all do. Roger communicate a little differently than other people.
Anyway, Chris got some complaints about Roger, saying that Roger was a little strange, and “why do you let him stay here…”
And Chris did an interview with the Foxboro Reporter and stated if anyone was uncomfortable with Roger that was THEIR problem and not to come to Primos because Roger was family to Primos.
Friendship and compassion and community above profit.
It was always nice coming in and seeing Roger and saying hello to him.
Many of you might not know that over the past 35 years Chris has been incredibly generous to the town of Foxboro, and often very quietly. For example, it was only recently disclosed that for decades, every Friday before founders day, Chris hosted the Foxborough Founders day committee meeting at Primos and prepared a full breakfast, bacon, eggs, toast, everything for all the hard-working founders day committee members who would then be heading to the field to assemble tents mark the field and get everything ready for the next day. FOR FREE. He never charged any money for this. It was his way of helping and he never wanted anyone to know, but the secret got out a few years ago.
Well before social media and the prevalence of cell phones in the webs, most fraternal groups and churches in towns relied on flyers for their events and fundraisers. Chris let us put up any flyer to help that group. It made such a difference.
35 years! When we first started going to Primos no one had ever heard of a guy named Tom Brady and there was a big poster of the new Gillette stadium that was about to be built next to the old Foxboro stadium and a big poster of a guy named “Drew Bledsoe.”
But, all good things… Chris and Linda have certainly earned their retirement more than once, and they have provided such love, friendship and delicious food on the go to so many of us.
Primos thank you so much for being you! On a personal note I am now on a quest for the NEXT best bologna and cheese sub in Massachusetts (criteria: Needs to be as much like Primos as possible)
Foxboro is a little poorer tonight because of Primos closing and the new business will have a tough act to follow. We wish them well!
Thank you so much Chris Gunn for being a friend to Foxboro and one of our Keystone businesses for 35 years. We will miss you, but the retirement is certainly earned, and may your retirement years be filled with love, health, success, and extreme happiness.