Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Mouths water over reopening of Booby’s Bar and Sandwich Shop


Fans of a beloved old restaurant on Carbondale’s strip are anxiously awaiting the reopening of Booby’s Submarine Sandwiches. Owner and SIU alum Abe Traverso had originally planned to be in business by the end of summer, but now it’s looking like late September or October instead.

“Construction has taken longer than expected,” Traverso said. “The beer garden will open first and I will then open the sandwich shop after so I can continue to build it while the beer garden is being used.”

Booby’s had been a staple on the strip for more than three decades. It was known for traditional deli food and was a favorite hangout after classes.


Trish Morelli wrote in a post on the WTF?! Carbondale Facebook page, “Can’t wait to get some Booby’s.”

Al Martin posted, “Looking forward to it.”

Donna Williams posted, “Can’t wait to have all of my old time favorites again.”

Traverso said much of the old menu will be back along with some new additions. He even hired a previous owner, Joe Frick, to “make sure the sandwiches are authentic.”

“All the regular favorites have not been touched,” he said.

Traverso is keeping the same general design and decor also.

“It’s an iconic establishment that was very well loved, and still is, “ he said. “I’m doing my best to pay homage to the ones who came before me. It’s time a local Carbondale and SIU alum puts their money where their mouth is and helps bring back what Carbondale was.”


Even the location is the same: 406 S Illinois Ave. Right now, the restaurant has covered its windows to hide the construction happening inside.

During the renovations, Traverso is keeping the community updated with posts and historical pictures from the original store. These can be found on the restaurant’s Instagram or Facebook page.

Traverso has posted polls about various design elements, including what type of floor to use, to give past and future customers a say. T-shirts were created and sold to help support the construction cost.

Through these social media elements, the shop was able to reclaim one of the original signs. It was returned to be placed inside the store for the reopening.

One part of the shop which has changed is the band stage. It was put in a new location and the electric connections were updated to meet current codes.

The original Booby’s was opened in 1972 by Sanford and Robert Feld, a father and son duo from Chicago. They specialized in submarine sandwiches using french and rye bread from local bakeries and various meats. Potato salad and cole slaw were menu standards.

Traverso said it’s important to note the restaurant was not named for a body part. It was instead a play on Robert Field’s nickname, Bobby, with one letter changed.

In addition to redoing the shop, Traverso is the general manager of SI Motorsports in Carbondale and Oasis Powersports in Marion.

He said his plate is “overflowing,” but it will be worth all the hard work. The re-opening has been made smoother by the support of the city government, and the fans who still live here.

“The community of Carbondale has inspired me with their support and enthusiasm, and keep me going when I get tired,” Traverso said


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  • D

    Dr. Jean Langan HeinsSep 13, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Mouth watering for their Potato Knish!

  • D

    Dena CrissSep 7, 2023 at 9:29 am

    Can’t wait to get my Boobies fix!

  • S

    Scott McAllisterSep 7, 2023 at 7:02 am

    Time for road trip back to C’dale!

  • J

    Jill SevelowSep 6, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you! I worked there in the late 70s/early 80s. Some crazy amazing times! Minor correction: Sanford and Robert Feld, not Field.

    • B

      Bruce LevineSep 8, 2023 at 9:44 pm

      I made the first sandwich on Jan 10th 1972. My co -worker Tom Boggs cut his thumb wide open slicing a piece of Provelone. Worked and managed there for 61/2 crazy years. I think I will apply for a job as a bouncer.. it beats waiting for players to get dressed and undressed the last 40 years. 618 549 3366 for pickup or delivery. Bruce Levine ( try the Bruce Special )