This cute, light, and airy lunch stop serves a menu centering around mostly standard sandwiches to a diverse crowd of Amherst lunch- eaters. Many of the menu items have health-food touches. Sandwiches, offered half or whole, are made with an assortment of homemade breads from which the counter-service patrons can choose. The selection is large, and the interesting-looking sandwiches are all named after jazz musicians or styles. But the actual tastes are much less exciting than the menu descriptions, and the bread is disappointingly dry. The Holiday sandwich, for example, combines honey ham, Swiss cheese, arugula, pineapple relish, and honey mustard-sounds like a promising flavor combination, but it falls victim to condiment frugality and the whole thing falls flat. Not our idea of a holiday. Just as bad is the Armstrong, a roast beef sandwich whose delicious-sounding Creole blue cheese mayo is nowhere in gustatory sight. The sandwiches are accompanied by boring corrugated chips. There are some take-out deli- style salads and dishes by the pound, including sundried tomato pasta and smoked salmon, but those fall equally short of expectations.
Lighthearted, jazz-themed murals, plant life, and a playful black-and- white theme give the place a very daytime feel, and the early closing hour (8pm) codifies that sentiment. As a place to sit, it's more than pleasant. Breakfast fare, coffee, and dessert might actually be the strong suit here-come just for a cup o' joe, and you can soak in the easygoing atmosphere without having to eat the boring sandwiches. Accordingly, it's a good standby for the solo-study crowd-college students, angst-ridden Great American Novelists, or otherwise-and the counter-service system assures that you can sit for hours undisturbed. Still, for a place that advertises its sandwiches so eagerly, the Loose Goose Cafe's fare is just too plain-and just plain disappointing.