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RECIPE of the MONTH - June 2008

Sandwiches the Size of Kansas
By Michaelene Pendleton

Stuart Kent and Lynn Hall
Lynn says Stuart is too nice, so she plays the bad cop to his good cop when problems arise.

In the early days of the 20th Century as highways spread across the continent, service stations and roadside diners sprouted up along side them. In the latter days of the century, service stations and diners became gas stations with convenience stores. You pump your own gas and grab a pre-packaged sandwich or a rotisserie hot dog of unknown age. Moab Chevron is turning that around.

The Chevron Deli is open from 5am to 4pm daily serving fresh food created on the premises. That wasn’t the original plan, which was to have prepackaged food racks like all the other convenience stores in the area. The station was built in 1998, but the original owner defaulted in 2001 and when Howard Kent foreclosed, he asked his son Stuart if Stuart wanted to take over a gas station in Moab.

Stuart says he jumped at the chance to live in Moab. It turned out to be a good move: he married a local woman, and he and Ashley have two girls.

Stuart had no experience in the business so he came to study the process under the outgoing owner. He says, “On the first day, I counted cars; on the second day I went to work scrubbing the ceiling and cooking chicken.”

For two years, self-serve chicken was the only hot food at the Deli. Then in 2003, Stuart expanded to include fresh-made sandwiches with counter service operated by Annie and Ron Thomas, long-time friends, who renamed it the Sunshine Deli. When the Thomases left in 2004 to start their own business, the Deli still served fresh fried chicken, but it was languishing.

Maybe the sandwiches aren’t quite the size of Kansas, but they are 2 meals for most of us.

Enter Lynn Hall. Lynn was born in Monticello and has spent her whole life here. She and her husband have five children. Lynn had worked for a year and a half as a counter clerk, but she needed more to do, so in 2006 she moved to the Deli to “straighten things out.” She was soon the Deli Manager, ordering all the food and supervising 12 employees in the deli and the store.

Lynn added fresh-made tacos to the menu, as well as her own recipes for homemade soups and chili. Lynn’s Chef Salads are concocted from fresh ingredients, using “everything but the kitchen sink” and are big enough for two. They use stone ground breads and no transfats in their cooking oil. The Deli now also features biscuits & gravy, buffalo wings, veggie wraps, and sandwiches the size of Kansas. But it was the breakfast burrito that really took off. Stuart says, “It punched up our breakfast crowd from 6 or 7 to about 40. Customers often also buy lunch to take away.” Lynn adds, “Lots of people come to the Deli whether or not they need gas.” While tourists buy more sandwiches, locals go for the tacos and chicken. Everyone goes for the donuts and homemade banana bread and cookies. Castle Valleyite Columbine Jones gets chicken to eat while going through the car wash.

Sandy and Geoff Freethey are regular customers who rave about the food.

The Deli also has a “Coffee Club” – a bunch of Old Guys who come in for coffee every morning and contribute to the friendly, local atmosphere. When asked why the Deli is getting busier every month with more locals stopping by, Stuart and Lynn pounce on the answer, “We serve a better quality of food.” They are both
proud that their customers include Latinos and Native Americans – they want to appeal to every section of the populace. Lynn wants to expand the taco bar, and Stuart has plans to add a drive-up window.

Stuart Kent believes in giving back. Under his management, Moab Chevron was given an award by the City of Salt Lake for community service as “Child Advocate of the Year 2008.” Moab Chevron was also honored in 2007 as the first Biodiesel Distributor in Southeastern Utah.

A current joke goes “You know you’re a redneck if a gas station is your favorite place to eat.” Considering how the Chevron Deli business is flourishing, then Moab must have a lot of rednecks.

Oh, and that thing about pumping your own gas -- if you are temporarily or permanently disabled, or just having a lazy day, a cheerful employee will pump your gas or biodiesel, clean your windshields, check your oil and tires, and even drive your rig through the car wash. Now that’s service.
Chevron Deli is at 817 So Main, Moab, UT 84532.

Recipe of the Month

Turkey Vegetable Soup

In a soup pot combine:

3 cups Chicken Broth
2 medium Carrots, diced
1 cup chopped Turkey
1 small Zucchini, diced
1 cup uncooked white rice
10 oz package of Alfredo Sauce
Simmer until vegetables are soft
and turkey is done.

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