Anyone who says made-to-order sandwiches take too long to assemble in a busy lunch spot obviously hasn’t been to Eastside Eatery, in the central Alberta city of Lacombe.
If they had, they’d soon realize that, for efficiency’s sake, you don’t have to make all the sandwiches in the morning, wrap them in suffocating plastic and stack them in a refrigerated display case, where they slowly get soggy and invariably don’t taste all that fresh when unravelled for consumption several hours later.
When I pull up to Eastside, a somewhat spartan place in a Lacombe industrial park, it’s late in the lunch hour and thus the usual line is gone. In fact, I walk right up to the counter and, after a brief glance at the overhead menu, order a roasted turkey sandwich on whole wheat.
“Would you like mayo, mustard, cranberry sauce and lettuce with that?” asks the friendly cashier. “OK.”
“Cheese, peppers, tomatoes, onions, pickle?” “Sure, load her up.”
“Stuffing?” “Would you recommend it?” “Absolutely. It’s homemade.”
I then pull out my debit card and go through the prompts to pay for my sandwich. As the receipt is printed and passed to me—say, 45 seconds after I’ve ordered—the assembler hands me the sandwich on a plate.
“Where did you get that from?” I ask suspiciously. “It was already made, wasn’t it?”
“No, I just made it.”
“How could you make it that fast?”
“I have to be quick, for when it’s really busy.”
The sandwich—a sumptuous bargain at $7—is rather enormous; a veritable Thanksgiving dinner crammed between two pieces of fresh bread. And it isn’t just filled with fixings. There must be an entire, shredded turkey breast in there.
But true to its name, The Gobbler, it disappears in about the time it takes to make.
3, 4013 53 Avenue, Lacombe, Alberta
Weekdays 8 am-3 pm. Closed weekends