When you walk into
a gas station to grab a quick bite to go, the last thing
you would expect to find is healthy, organic, made from
scratch sandwiches. Located inside the Chevron Station
on the south end of Main Street, the Sunshine Deli defies
all expectations and delivers a wonderful variety of home
mainstay of the deli is the dizzying array
of sixteen specialty sandwiches. The bread
is baked daily, but what makes these sandwiches
stand out is the freshness and abundance of
ingredients between the slices.
The menu lists deli classics like Rubens and Club sandwiches, but the
variety of combinations keeps it from getting boring. For diners who
can’t decide which of the sixteen sandwiches sounds right for
them, they can test their own creativity by making up their own from
amid the assortment of fresh ingredients.
Even the Scrumptiously Vegan sounds tempting to a carnivore like me
with its hummus, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts,
fresh tomatoes, carrots, onion, olives, green peppers, pickles, vinegar
Sack Lunches make it possible to pack these delicious sandwiches for
the trail. For an extra $1.50 on top of the price of the sandwich,
the sack includes the choice of a cookie or trail bar, fruit or chips
and water. The deli also includes condiments, such as fresh pesto.
The owners, Annie and Ron Thomas, are a young, active couple who joined
the Moab community a year ago. They fell in love with small towns and
the slower pace of life after working in a little vegetarian restaurant
on Orcas Island, Washington.
The owners of the Chevron station, Ashley and Stuart Kent, have been
long-time friends of the Thomases and enticed them to start their own
deli in the empty kitchen attached to the gas station. Annie and Ron
decided to orient their restaurant towards healthy, organic and affordable
food. They wanted a name that reflected this idea and settled on Sunshine,
inspired by the middle name Ashley has given her daughter.
In addition to the sanwiches, the Sunshine Deli offers a variety of
pasta salads, all organic and made in-house, that include cosmopolitan
flavors like Greek Pasta with Feta, Szechuan Pasta Hot-n-Spicy and
Spring Cous Cous Salad.
deli also has home-made cookies, trail bars and muffins.
Ron describes them as “trouble; they’re so good.” The
recipes are mostly from the family, particularly the ones
for the muffins. They are named “Abby’s Muffins,” a
diminutive of abuela, the Spanish word for grandmother since
that‘s where Ron got the recipes.
Annie and Ron use their own tastes as the inspiration for their menu.
If it’s something they feel good about eating themselves, it’s
something worth making for others. For example, the deli’s breakfast
burritos are tasty and nutritious enough to feed to the Thomas’s
cherubic two-year old daughter, Jaidyn.
The Sunshine Deli has just expanded its wares to include breakfast
and dinner. Motivated by the campfire dinners they cook on their trips,
they are offering Hobo Dinners, all wrapped in tin foil and ready to
be cooked over an open fire. The restaurant also has other Take ‘n
Bake specials, like lasagna, along with dine-in meals.
Annie explains that they try to keep most of their offerings “super
healthy.“ She says that she thinks of Jaidyn when she is creating
recipes, using things like honey instead of processed sugar to sweeten
This is a deli with a social conscience. Recycling is a priority to
Ron and Annie, especially with all the packaging involved in wrapping
up their food for the road. They use #1 plastic so it can all be recycled
and give 5 cents back to customers who return the empty containers.
As the season permits, the deli buys most of its produce from the Youth
Garden Project (YGP), a local organization involving kids who want
to or must do community service in growing organic fruits and vegetables.
Annie explains that part of the reason they choose to buy from YGP
is that she and Ron feel a strong commitment to “supporting other
local businesses, especially those working with kids.”
The community is responding in kind. The Moab Academy purchases its
lunches for the kids from the Sunshine Deli. And, Moonflower Market
carries certain deli items, including their organic pasta salads.
The commitment Ron and Annie have made to freshness, wholesomeness
and environmentalism shines through their deli. They make their food
from scratch, using home recipes and as much local, organic produce
as possible. It is generally not easy to find food that’s fast,
nutritious and delicious. In this case, you have to look for a little
sunshine in one of the least likely places you’d expect.
The Sunshine Deli is located at 817 South Main Street
in the Moab Chevron and can be reached by telephone at (435)
259-0500 or by fax at (435) 259-2212 (get a free cookie with
faxed orders through the month of June). They are open from
6:00a.m. to 8p.m. (Mon.-Fri.) and 6:30a.m. to 8:00p.m. (Sat.)
and 7:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. (Sun.). Sandwich prices range from
$3.50 to $5.99.
of the Month
Mini Chocolate Cheesecake
(makes about 2 dozen)
24 vanilla wafers
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar 1/3 cup cocoa
2 Tbsp. flour 3 eggs
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream 1 tsp. vanilla extract
canned cherry pie filling, chilled Sour Cream Topping
Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin
pans with foil bake cups. Place one vanilla wafer
in bottom of each cup. In a large mixing bowl,
beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, cocoa
and flour; blend well. Add eggs; beat well. Stir
in sour cream and vanilla. Fill each foil cup almost
full with cheese mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes
or until set. Cool 5 to 10 minutes. Spread heaping
teaspoonful of Sour Cream Topping on each up. Cool
completely in pans. Refrigerate. Garnish with dollop
of cherry pie filling just before serving. Refrigerate
Sour Cream Topping
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, sugar and vanilla.
Stir until sugar dissolves.