Eatzi’s Posted A Sign Celebrating How “America Was Founded On Freedom Of Choice,” So Here Are 15 Places You Can Choose To Shop At Instead Of Eatzi’s.

Since Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 2 announcement that he was lifting the statewide mask mandate and allowing businesses in Texas to operate at 100 percent capacity again, restaurant after area restaurant has been compelled to make public statements about whether they’ll be adhering to the CDC guidelines (which have not changed) or at all adjusting their operations to fit the Governor’s new, looser grip on Texans’ behaviors.

Many went out of their way to stress the importance of keeping their team and customers safe, detailing their steadfast “no mask, no service” policies. Some tiptoed along the line, saying they’ll keep employees in masks and will “strongly recommend” that customers also wear theirs. A few opted to say nothing at all, which *facepalm* whatever.

Then there’s Eatzi’s.

In addition to other significant recent ownership issues, it seems the beacon of sample-tasting and building your own extremely expensive picnic is also all about “freedom” and “choice” when it comes to its customers wearing masks.

On Wednesday, a now-infamous sign posted outside of a Texas Eatzi’s location started making the rounds on social media. It read, in all caps, “America was founded on freedom of choice. Mask wearing is your choice. God bless America.” The Eatzi’s logo follows, rendering it “official” in nature.

Let’s just say there was a buzz.

But let’s not judge. Instead, let’s take Eatzi’s word at face value and embrace its empowerment of choice.

You don’t have to shop there if the idea of confronting a mask-less clientele makes you uncomfortable. There are other games in town, other spots where you can pick up the same stuff Eatzi’s throws down.

Whining about, well, the wine? Grab from a thoughtfully curated French selection by Julien Eelsen at Whisk Crepes Cafe, or sign up for Courtney Luscher’s email list for some great ideas for your next bottle. If you absolutely must grab-and-go your bottles, hit up Foxtrot, Eataly, Carbone’s, TJ’s Fish Market, Veritas Wine Room or any of the multitude of smaller wine shops and liquor stores around town that would be more than happy to see the upper half of your face in their spots.

Curious where to get some curry chicken pasta salad? This sweet-and-savory combo is a very common favorite amongst Eatzi’s regulars. Close replacements include Two Sisters catering, Empire Baking Company and Shug’s, where you can get your curry chicken salad on a bagel or by the half-pound.

Cranky ’bout missing croissants? Turns out Eatzi’s croissants are literally made by Empire Baking Company. Go straight to the source.

Pumpkin loaves got your lips pursed? Check out Leila Bakery & Cafe, Flores Bakehaus or La Casita Bakeshop for better freshly baked loaves of goodness.

Having dark thoughts about of chocolate pot de creme or triple chocolate mousse cake? Edith’s French Bistro (with its locations in Plano, Allen and Richardson) has the mousse cake covered. And you can find a mean pot de creme at Central Market.

Fussed about that fresh-squeezed lemonade? Dive Coastal Cuisine makes their own. La La Land has a matcha-laced version. Or simply grab a gallon of the fresh squeezed stuff from Celebration’s next-door market.

Missing that mac and cheese? Grab a quart of the creamiest, most perfect mac and cheese at Terry Black’s BBQ in Deep Ellum. On second thought, better make it two.

Worried about life without that roasted chicken? There are few better things in life than a hot roast chicken, we hear ya. But Eatzi’s version was never that great to begin with, so here are some better options to try: Grab the “backdoor chicken” deal at Velvet Taco; hit up Provecho Pollos, the roast chicken popup by Jose on Lovers chef AQ; or call and order from Ese Pollo, one of several successful Desert Racer pandemic spinoffs.

Crying for that Caprese Salad? Eh, you won’t miss those tasteless balls o’ mozz! But Celebration Restaurant makes a suitable replacement. You could also go more formal with a Mozzarella & Roma Tomato Salad at Terilli’s on Greenville. A third option: Snag some Caprese Skewers at Sauce Pizza & Wine at The Hill shopping center.

Sad about no more half-priced sushi? C’mon! Instead of grab-and-go mediocrity, order ahead at your favorite local sushi bar, and then just grab it to go. A few recommendations: Hungry Belly, Sasa Sushi and Sushi de Handroll.

Dying for those dips? The Central Market dip bar never let me down, but Foxtrot also has quite a few great offerings of their own. Check out Celebration Market’s dip selection, too, as well as those at The Market Local Comfort Cafe.

Butt-hurt over a build-your-own salad bar? You know what’s even better? Someone simply making you a salad full of stuff that they are professionally inclined to know will make it taste good. Either way, the build-your-own line isn’t so new and revolutionary anymore. But, if you insist, you can do that at several spots around town; I recommend MIXT or Crisp & Green.

Crocodile tears for the chicken drumettes? There are a ton of places in town to get (arguably much better) chicken wings. One of my favorites happens to be Zaap Kitchen Lao & Thai Eats; their wings are magic. Other great ideas: Fry Daddy’s, BBBop Seoul Kitchen or even Plucker’s Wing Bar.

Dying for that date night pizza-and-wine deal? For pizza pickup, grab a $10 signature pie from Cibo Divino in West Dallas on Mondays, or grab two-for-$20 pies at Pizza Americana in Richardson (use promo code “twenty”) any Sunday through Thursday night. (Thursdays are also $6 bottles of house wine night at Americana, so be sure to keep that in mind.)

Pondering an existence without that famous Eatzi’s Sandwich Bar? Go grab a much better sandwich at Jimmy’s. Or Fount Board & Table. And most definitely Brown Bag Provisions. If you absolutely must tell someone exactly what to shmear onto your sandwich, you can do that at Mendocino Farms or at Central Market’s sandwich bar. They both have a garlic herb spread, even!

Speaking of spreads: If you head to any of the above-mentioned spots, you’ll need to mask up.

Openly courting people who don’t want to be responsible and wear a mask — that’s the real joke.

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