“Mom, can I get a smoothie from that Bear Hat Guy?” my son Ben asked as we entered the Co-op yesterday for a cool treat. You’ve seen that barista/deli server/sandwich maker: Wade Lutz has been serving food and drinks and entertaining Co-op customers with his hats and unusual T-shirts since April 2014.
“My job now is Night Lead and Sandwich Captain,” Wade told us as we slurped. This means he oversees the Deli in the evenings, and is in charge of the sandwich area. “My favorite part of the job is being in charge of sandwiches, because I can get really creative with the new specials.” He takes his inspiration from Nef, an erstwhile Co-op colleague whose announcements over the PA of “sandwich ready for Lauren Bacall. Lauren Bacall, your sandwich awaits you in the Deli” are the stuff of Co-op legend.
Wade sought work here on the suggestion of his brother as well as friends who work in the Co-op kitchen. He says he likes “everything about working at the Co-op.” He likes working with his friends; he says the customers are great and he likes getting to know the regulars. He enjoys the wide range of people he sees every day. He says working here has also made him more conscious about the quality of ingredients and locally-sourced food.
Wade lives in Moscow, a ten-minute walk from the Co-op, with Deli server Stevie B and Crystal, who works in the Co-op bakery. Originally from Sandpoint, Wade moved to Moscow in 2007 to attend the University of Idaho. He is majoring in Art and Design; his goal is to work in character design for video games. “After I graduate, I would love to work for Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes Dungeons and Dragons as well as Magic the Gathering,” he told me.
Outside of work and school, Wade spends time playing Dungeons and Dragons. He is a Dungeon Master, and is currently running a game whose dozen players are all Co-op employees. “A Dungeons and Dragons game is like an unfolding, cooperatively told story,” he explained.
Wade the Sandwich Captain and Night Lead is a man who wears many hats. “Where’s your bear hat?” my son asked him. “That’s for winter,” Wade replied with a smile.
Naomi’s son Ben wants to know if Dungeons and Dragons has Scooby Doo in it.