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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Today, I ate at Pugzie’s Sandwich Shoppe, which is owned by someone who’s got celiac disease. I was expecting quite a selection of food for us celiacers, but the menu presented consisted of four or five items. Two of them were things that would’ve been on the normal menu—a salad and a bowl of fruit—and they were all more expensive than their normal-menu counterparts. I was disappointed to say the least, but I was still happy to have options.

I ordered the tuna sandwich on a roll. If you’re not a celiac, you probably don’t know what wheat-free bread tastes like. Consider yourself lucky: I’ve tried a number of different varieties and they’re all horrible. The taste ranges from cardboard (tapioca-based bread) to mushy (rice-based bread). I ache for the taste of plain white bread with its softness; I miss the feel of compressing a piece of white bread between my tongue and palate, soaking in the mayonnaise, and then eating it. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the tuna sandwich. The bread was made of rice and was served really cold (that’s the other thing about non-wheat breads: if you don’t keep them cold then they turn crumbly and go bad very quickly). It got mushy pretty quickly. I could only eat half of the sandwich with the bread: the other half I ate by wrapping the leaf of lettuce around the tuna.

The ambiance is pretty cheesy. It’s got a huge seating area and they provide a rack of magazines for you to read. There’s an outdoors patio—like I’d go out there in this heat—that would probably be glorious in the spring. Across from the restaurant, there’s an antique barbershop museum owned by the same people. It’s stupendously weird. There’s no historical context provided by signs or anything. It’s just a barbershop with all of the accouterments and a small fenced off viewing area.

I don’t mean to give the wrong impression. The gluten-free menu sucked, but it was far better than anything else out there. I would have liked to have seen other selections on there; if they can put tuna on the horrid bread, I’m sure they could put any of their other meats or cheeses. It was a little pricy for lunch fare, but I’m going to give it another chance.