It took years for vegetarian cafés to appear in more than a couple of cities. Vegan stores are even rarer. Allergy-free shops? Almost invisible.
So it's news that an all-gluten-free store is not only operating but thriving in Clawson, MI, in the suburban Detroit region.
The Bel Cibo Marketplace was opened by Al Doyle, who nearly died before his celiac disease was diagnosed around seven years ago.
His deli, cafe and grocery
sells only gluten-free foods, from packaged breakfast cereal, soy sauce and salad dressing to glazed doughnuts, chicken potpies, salads and side dishes, and fresh-baked pizzas.
Yes, the pizzas are available with cheese and in dairy-free style with a soy substitute. So is the lasagna. Doyle is a former restaurant chef.
Most people with celiac disease do wind up lactose intolerant, because the disease damages the part of the intestine where the lactase enzyme is made.
We can only hope for the success of this store. The better it works, the more likely it'll be that others copy it and start stores and delis of their own all over the country.