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2 January 1996

The Rite Bite

Giovanni and Umberto Punto's Rite Bite is the only sandwich shop in the small Italian town of Embrochurno. Although the shop's name suggests it is a tourist trap for Americans, it only serves the local community, mostly workers from the nearby mill. The Punto brothers, who became enamored of bad American spelling during a holiday trip to Oklahoma in 1953, thought "Rite Bite" was a clever and exotic name for one of the world's most unusual sandwich shops.

It all began as a joke, when Umberto took a bite out of a piece of bread before putting it on top of a sandwich ordered by a friend. His customer was not amused, so Umberto concocted a story about wanting to make sure the bread was of the highest quality before serving it to one of his most valued customers. Giovanni came to his brother's defense by pointing out that the aperture made it easy to see that he had spread the expensive anchovy and olive filling both generously and evenly. They were so passionate in defense of their "premium" sandwich that soon all the customers wanted the sandwiches with the "right bite."

Giovanni died years ago, but Umberto still uses his late brother's dentures to customize every sandwich.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart