As mankind progress down a path that furthers us technologically, spiritually, educationally and philosophically, on the horizon lingers hope, hope that one of mankind's most sought-after desires could come to fruition.
Can healthy food really ever taste good?
In Stamford's Belltown section, Eric Screnock is answering with a resounding "Yes!"
"It's something of a different idea with all the health food crazes out there these days," said Screnock, who officially opened That Awesome Deli & The Gluten-Free Food Factory on August 21 at 22 Belltown Road.
Screnock said he took a look at what was being provided to those who needed specialty food and saw limited menus or options in supermarkets. Beyond a few items here or there while eating out or pasta and cookies in-store, the gluten-free community was really being under-served.
"Everything is made right here, from scratch, and that includes our whole dinners," Screnock explained, pointing to small microwavable containers hanging on the wall. "Even our salad dressings are made right here."
Screnock cooks entire meals, takes them fresh out of the oven and then uses a special shock freezer in the back to preserve the whole thing, ready to go. All customers need to do is reheat and it's ready to eat, Screnock said.
Screnock has been in the food business for "almost my entire life," he said. Immediately prior to owning the deli, Screnock was working at a shipyard, which provided hours that allowed him to see his children more. Now that they're older, Screnock went back to doing what he loved since working his way up from dishwasher to cook to manager of different establishments.
Screnock estimates he has been in the business for approximately 20 years, 15 of which have been spent working with gluten-free food.
"As far as I know, I'm the only one in the country doing full dinners, ready to go like that," Screnock said. "Everything's packaged individually. The reactions have been amazing. People are hugging me, crying, bringing me little gifts."
Screnock said he's already built up a small loyal customer base and hopes that group will keep expanding as word of the deli now being open continues to spread. One such customer is Carlos Miller, who works in sales from a home office down the street.
"I'm working all day from home and I like getting out for lunch," Miller said. "Once I saw this place had open and tried it, I've been coming here almost every day. The food quality and overall service are why I keep coming. I was looking for good food, and this is good! That it's gluten-free is just a bonus."
That Awesome Deli and the Gluten-Free Food Factory is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers a variety of breakfast and lunch specials, most of which can be seen updated daily on the store's website or Facebook page.
On Thursdays, the deli stays open until 7 p.m. for those that might have to travel to come pick up food.
"We've been getting customers from pretty far away, traveling just to come try us out," Screnock said. "Waterbury, Norwalk, they've come from pretty far."