Sandwich Store Snips Ribbon

"Get yourself a Tasty Hot Mess"

Hey, hey, hey!

I’m excited to share news of a great new sandwich store opening in Sunderland, Massachusetts, that tasty town. This store… oh, I am so glad to tell you about this store.

You’re going to want to call it the heaven to your taste buds because of how, with never-ending enthusiasm, surprise, and satisfaction, it’ll leave you round-bellied and confused, but happy.— Happy as can be!

This serendipity-prone deli goes by the name: The Tasty Hot Mess. And it is just that: tasty, hot, and definitely a mess.

When you arrive, no matter the day or the hour, the environment is the same. The air conditioner is broken. Everyone is sweaty, stinky. People are talking loudly. Neon lights are flashing from every corner of the room, and are compounded tremendously because of how every wall is built from a kaleidoscopic mirror. Simultaneously there are fourteen televisions blaring different channels, feeding into the kaleidoscopic vortex.

On the opposite side of the counter, there is equally as much fantastic chaos. Children (who run the place) squirt ketchup and mustard sky high, fling lettuce and fruits and vegetables and amalgamations of dough across the room, sometimes ricocheting them off walls in order to avoid obstacles. One boy is swinging a sledge to pulverize meat. Another is operating a modestly-sized jack-hammer. There are jars of mystery concoctions screwed to the bottoms of ceiling fans, being stirred by the spin and showering the workers with guck while doing so. There is a curtained table in the center of the kitchen, into which these boys are belligerent tossing ingredients, seemingly at random.

One of the children running the place is dressed like a businessman, in contrast with the others who are more rascal-like. All of the sudden, the more formally dressed kid blows an air horn. Al the televisions and other noises silence in the wake of the loud sound. The flashing lights dim to a calm yellow. The leader of the boys announces, “It is complete!”

He removes the curtain from the center table, revealing a bizarre concoction delicately balanced open atop a slice of bread. A dozen or so other boys gather round for inspection time. They examine the concoction, and they do so very carefully. Each boy is granted a chance to utilize a collectively owned microscope to personally investigate the creation.

The crowd respects this process enormously.

But, at a critical point, the boys’ silence erupts into fierce and overlapping argument which maintains steadily for a few moments. It is not long before the arguments resolve. Success! The leader of the boys puts the top slice of bread ceremoniously upon the sandwich. All the boys blow a kiss good luck to it. Then, promptly, the leader sprints to deliver the sandwich to its customer.

After dealing with the prior customer, he rushes to your side, you being the next customer in queue. He says to you, “Hello, ten dollars please”, without further explanation.

You hand over $10 -- as always, in exact change. He looks intensely and inquirously at you for a precisely alloted few moments. When satisfied, he snaps his fingers. The lights kick on again, and begin flashing ever frantically. The televisions chatter. The crowd of customers roar. And the hectic process behind the counter gets going again. You take a seat and wait for a custom sandwich.

Their motto is “A sandwich for you, a sandwich for everyone.”

Some argue these sandwiches are tailored specifically to their eaters’ deepest cravings. Others argue they are completely random. Leadership at the Tasty Hot Mess opts not to comment. Either way, I hope you find time to experience a sandwich of your own. I promise, you won’t regret it.

For more articles by Tommy Potentuary, click here. To get in touch with this writer, email


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