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Restaurant Happenings - March 2004

Bob & Shelly’s Moab Deli 397 North Main Street, #3
Moab, Utah 84532

Fill Your Belly at the Moab Deli!
by Annabelle Numaguchi

Moab has made its mark in adventure tourism and consequently attracts plenty of visitors who come to enjoy majestic scenery while hiking, biking, and four-wheeling. All this activity makes people hungry. While there are plenty of options for dining in town, there wasn’t much beyond fast food chains for packing meals on the trail. Bob and Shelly Busch quickly noticed this gap and have filled a valuable niche to anyone who enjoys the Moab trails and gets hungry doing so.

Last April, Bob and Shelly opened the Moab Deli, a small family-run sandwich shop decorated in Fifties style, just in time for Jeep Safari. The restaurant is located next door to Farabee Jeep Rentals, owned by Shelly’s dad. Having family in Moab was a draw when the Busches were considering moving away from their home in California, seeking to join a smaller community. Shelly sold Bob on the idea of setting up shop in Moab after taking him on his first four-wheelin’ experience up Poison Spider.

He liked it so much that he not only agreed that this was the place to live, but also decided that the Poison Spider waterfall was the place that they should get married. They did so on April 2 of last year, on a rare break during the hustle and bustle of getting the deli ready for opening day. Their lives are inextricably entwined with their enterprise.

The most obvious (and reassuring) proof that there is no clear delineation between work and life for Bob and Shelly is that they “test-run” all their creations themselves. Avid adventurers, they bring along Moab Deli Trail Pacs on their own outings, tasting and testing to see how well the sandwiches hold up, stay fresh and satisfy after a long morning of rough and rugged trail riding. The Busches have come up with an original way of packing the Trail Pacs, which include a full or half sandwich, chips, a drink and a cookie, that insulates the meal and retains freshness, while still fitting into a cooler, daypack or Camelback.

Although Trail Pacs are the mainstay of the business, Bob and Shelly offer many services, including catering. They can handle large groups, making it easy and quick for them to arrange lunch. They also provide lunch for office meetings, and promote calling ahead by adding a free cookie to the order. Soon, the Busches plan on adding a delivery service.

Not everybody chooses to take out their sandwich. The deli is clean and bright and offers a pleasant place to enjoy lunch either at a counter looking out a large window or a patio table outside. Shelly’s daughter, Michelle, helps her parents run the deli and the ambiance is exactly what you’d expect from a Mom-’n-Pop deli, including pickled eggs and cucumbers on the counter.

Shelly is a well-organized, bubbly person, who is easy to talk to. She and Bob are also very good listeners. Over the last year, they really paid attention to suggestions their customers made and have shifted the business around accordingly. Their motto is “We create for you. If we have it, we will make it!” And since their selection of items from breads to cheeses, from meats to condiments is extensive, there’s not much that they can’t do.

There are seven original sandwiches on the menu, starting with the most popular, the Turkey which includes cream cheese, cranberry sauce, Swiss cheese, sunflower seeds, avocado, sprouts, mayo and lettuce. The Italian, Roast Beef, Ham, Club, Pastrami and Vegetarian were all inspired by the Busch family palettes. If they like the taste of something, it got added to the menu. Sandwich fillings like tuna salad and egg salad are available and made when ordered to guarantee freshness. All this attentiveness pays in repeat business.

Shelly says that one of the most enjoyable aspects of running the deli is getting to know customers by name. Some people come in so regularly that she has their sandwich already made by the time they get out of their car and come into the store. The best compliment Bob and Shelly got, however, was witnessing one man place his hearty sandwich on his lap and then take out a camera to immortalize it.

Because lunch was so popular, Bob and Shelly decided to offer breakfast as well. The morning at the deli can start with breakfast sandwiches, burritos, biscuits, and croissants as well as coffee and tea.

Considering the quick success the Moab Deli started off with last year, this new season promises to be a bang. That’s great news for Bob and Shelly, but even better for the hordes of adventurers enjoying our rugged trails and magnificent landscapes. It takes a great deal of energy to get out there so it’s important to replace it. And what better way than with “a hearty sandwich for the extreme adventure,” as the Moab Deli accurately bills itself.

Bob & Shelly’s Moab Deli is located at 397 North Main Street, #3 (next to Farabee Jeeps) and can be reached at 259-0636 (call ahead for your free cookie!). They are open daily from 7:30a.m. to 4:00p.m. Trail Pacs range in price from $6.95 to $8.50 and Kid’s Pacs (for 12 and under) are $3.95.

Recipe of the Month


Vegetarian Burrito

1 cup par cooked potatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
Small handful of fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced or sliced
3 eggs
2 slices Provolone cheese
1 tortilla
Avocado and Salsa (optional)

Sautee in a little olive oil potatoes, red onion and mushrooms until tender.
Add spinach and bell peppers and cook until they are also tender.
Scramble the eggs and pour them over the mixture of vegetables.
Cook until the eggs are set.
Add the provolone and continue cooking until the cheese melts.
Place the vegetable mixture in a warm tortilla,
Add avocado and salsa and wrap. Enjoy!

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