Have your cake & eat it,too!
Chances are if you haven’t gone gluten-free in your diet yourself, you know someone who has. At one time it was thought you had to have celiac disease to have issues with gluten; now we know better, and folks who are “gluten sensitive” are also eschewing it as well.
What exactly is gluten? It’s a mixture of proteins that are found in wheat, rye and barley, which are not soluble in water and give wheat dough its elastic texture. For people who have celiac disease, or are gluten sensitive, their bodies react to gluten as an invasion, gearing up their immune systems to fight against a perceived toxin. For those with this sensitivity it can cause digestive, heart and liver problems, and everything from joint pain to fertility challenges.
Since gluten is in everything from bread to soy sauce, eating out can be quite a challenge. Some restaurants offer gluten-free options, but it can be a bit of a minefield for folks to navigate.
It was for this very reason that Debbie Collins decided to open her South Yarmouth restaurant, IDGY’s. Open since May 1, IDGY’s has become the go-to place for people seeking delicious meals, breads, desserts and snacks. A cozy little place right on White’s Path, you can eat in or get your food to go.
“I’m not gluten sensitive, nor is anyone in my family,” says Collins. “People expressed frustration to me at the cross contamination in restaurants, and the lack of options in eating away from home. I wondered if there would be enough demand for it, and so far it’s been great.”
Collins says the absolute best advertising they’ve had is word of mouth from satisfied customers. People who are part of celiac groups have been spreading the word and letting people know there’s a place where they can actually get pizza! And bagels! And mac and cheese!
“It’s a very rewarding feeling,” she says. “Sometimes I have a hard time getting baking done because people want to talk about how glad they are to have a place to go to. That’s a great feeling.”
It’s hard enough to have dietary limits as an adult, but it’s even more challenging to be a child who can’t eat what all their friends are having. That is something IDGY’s has done their best to fix.
“We’re trying very hard to meet the needs of kids and teens and giving them options for all the things they see friends ordering like cookies and pizza. Kids are thrilled to be able to have pizza again.”
IDGY’s has a commitment to buying local and makes everything from their English muffins to their marinara sauce in-house. For people who haven’t been able to have a sandwich for perhaps years, having a place to get something as simple as an egg sandwich is a huge treat.
“At breakfast French toast and waffles are very popular,” Collins says. “And they get really excited about being able to have an actual egg sandwich on a homemade gluten-free English muffin. At lunch people love the paninis. We created a recipe that really enhances the flavor; it’s not like a bread substitute that tastes like cardboard.”
Right now there is only one IDGY’s, but Collins has high hopes that before too long she will be able to expand. She’s mindful however that she wants to keep the purity and commitment to the quality that is so important to her and her team.
“I want to only serve real food, nothing processed. We even make our own breadcrumbs,” she says. “People respond to fresh food more than processed. What we offer is much healthier than a fast food place.”
After having been gluten-free for four years, Mary Lou Foley of Brewster was ecstatic to find a place she could eat without worrying about what might be lurking in the food.
“When I sit down with my husband at IDGY’s it’s refreshing to be able to order whatever I want on the menu. When I go to most restaurants I have to be a detective and try to figure out what I can have, and sometimes it just ends up being a hamburger without a bun. It’s so nice to be able to go out and feel like everyone else. And the good thing is it’s so delicious even family members who aren’t gluten sensitive love it, too. There’s no sacrifice of texture or taste, and that’s a rare find.”
Deb’s latest venture includes extending her delicious foods to a gluten-free catering business. You can now book IDGY’s for your own personal party or event.
Collins has been inspired by the support and word-of-mouth passion for IDGY’s that she’s found. It’s something she doesn’t take for granted, and she wants to keep providing her customers with delicious food they can eat without worry and enjoy.
“This is hard work; I put in a lot of hours. But every day I love coming here and giving people something I feel so good about, that they can feel good about eating. The support I feel from the community and our customers who want to see us succeed makes it all worth it.” -cha
IDGY’s Restaurant, 23 South White’s Path, South Yarmouth, MA
- Written by Candace Hammond, Winter 2011