101 Ways to Pleasure the Gut
By Nancy Powell
Tummy Stuffer is a small mom and pop operation that started in Anaheim in 1979 before traversing to points east, west, north and south. The Riverside location sits inside a business complex, which one can easily pass without the forewarning of a GPS or Google Maps printout for assistance. Lines curl around the cafeteria during the lunch hour, so some customers find themselves better served by calling ahead for take out and eating the sammies at their desks.
The Stuffer offers 101 sandwiches, most of which spring from variations centered around a particular meat—turkey; turkey and cheese; turkey, avocado and then cheese, for example. While employees will prepare sandwiches based on customer preferences, standard fixings on an 8-incher (their smallest size) include an evenly distributed mixture of lettuce, diced onions, pickles and tomatoes and a choice of soft and chewy, but sturdy, breads which hold all the ingredients without dissolving into a wet , sticky glob of goo. Sides of avocado come in the form of a well-seasoned spread.
A lot of customers rave about the pastrami and mushrooms, while others like to give the more unusual omelette sandwiches a try, but these combinations strike me as too rich or too experimental to digest for a quick bite. Instead, I favor the Stuffer, a Philly cheese like sandwich of strips of Angus beef, mushrooms, grilled onions and cherry peppers and upgraded to a combo for $2 more with chips and drink. Otherwise, it’s the salty strips of lean steak, cheese and mushroom, with grilled onions to give the sandwich that extra oomph in flavor. When I’m hankering for healthy, I prefer tuna, Swiss and avocado over the vegetarian, as I like my veggies sautéed on the grill and melted in cheese rather than raw, which I could dump from pre-packed salad greens onto two slices of bread.
In addition, Tummy Stuffer does prepare salads, smoothies and teriyaki bowls for those who tire of the endless grind of sandwiches. However, when ordering from a sandwich specialty shop, sticking with the expert ingredient seems like a safe bet.
Prices trend towards the $10 mark once drinks and sides are added, but unlike Subway or Quiznos, there is never any doubt as to the quality or skimpiness of ingredients. Each sandwich stands on its own for taste, freshness and healthiness—at least as healthy as a 12-incher full of meat could ever aspire to be. Be warned, however, as the Stuffer keeps banker’s hours. If you need a sandwich fix, get it while the going is hot.
Tummy Stuffer, 1159 Iowa Avenue, Suite O, Riverside, (951) 369-1266. Mon-Fri, 9AM-4PM. MC, V.