Satchell's Grill 

A year ago, kids on newfangled popular diets had limited dine-out choices within Boise city limits. Now that Dr. Atkins's ghost has infiltrated mainstream America, a new haunt in town makes dining out easy for fad dieters and foodies alike.

Satchel's Grill has bagged that niche. The nearly six-month old sandwich shop on Bannock across from the downtown post office is a great spot for a speedy lunchtime slipaway. So one afternoon I slipped into Satchel's with the company of my artist friend Stephy.

It was a blustery day, so Stephy and I sat inside even though a charming open patio hosts the place. Inside it's intimate and hip in that pared down way. Walls are colorful and stocked overzealously with paintings I hope are a high school art class display. In Stephy's professional opinion, most of the artwork is interesting and enjoyable but enough of it is unnerving and "would be best suited on a refrigerator. Or in a dark basement."

Despite the abundance of it, we were not there for the art.

One orders at the counter at Satchel's. The menu hovers overhead and consists of several fashionable diet options: vegetarian, balanced diets like the Zone and Body for Life, no added cholesterol or fat and low or no-carb diets. Cute little icons scattered next to each choice indicate what rules the item follows.

Mostly you can order sandwiches, salads, wraps, burgers and panini (which is the Italian word for sandwiches, but in American they are called "paninis" so as not to confuse us).

I ordered the turkey and cranberry panini, which is a sandwich but different than a sandwich because it comes with a choice of side dish. Sides include: baked fries, hummus, baked jalapeno sticks, whole grain rice, side salad and sweet potato fries.

The truth is, I had been to Satchel's before. And here's a good thing to note for both dieters and my fellow slime haters: Even though it's not indicated on the menu, the sandwich comes slathered in mayo, so I asked for none. I also requested the sweet potato fries as my side, and for the second time they were out of sweet potato fries. So regular baked fries sufficed.

At noon on that Wednesday there was basically an equal staff to patron ratio, which seemed a little excessive and unfair, because the behind-the-counter space is a fraction of the restaurant's overall land mass. But I didn't have too long to dwell on that because the gal behind the counter notified us our order was ready by calling out Stephy's name, which was charmingly personal.

Stephy gobbled a fry quickly. "These are good!" she said and followed with a glassy-eyed memory of how they reminded her of the Ore-Ida fries her mom bought long ago. You know, the kind you'd stick in the oven and they pretty much tasted like regular fries, but deep down you know that they's baked and not fryalated.

We both were satisfied with the portion size and flavor of our fries and panini. And by the earth-friendly message on an inconspicuous sign that reads "please only take as many napkins as needed."

We'll definitely go back for a lunch escape. Or maybe on a Sunday afternoon or First Thursday when the place does their version of a live jazz club.

—Jennifer Gelband ain't nothin' but tutti-frutti. Get on the floor if ya got that booty!

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