By Srianthi Perera

 

Each time you consume a Reuben, Capreezy or Do Gouda at Even Stevens Sandwiches, you help feed someone else in the area.

The restaurant chain from Salt Lake City is open in the Heritage Marketplace Phase 2 near the parking garage in downtown Gilbert.

It gives back to the community in one of the most direct ways possible.

“For every sandwich we serve, we provide a sandwich of equal nutrition value to the community’s hungry,” said founder Steve Down, based in Salt Lake City.

The local nonprofits that will benefit are Open Arms Care Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, United Food Bank and the Mesa homeless shelter, A New Leaf.

Down also owns The Falls Event Center in Gilbert, one of many in several states, and is the author of the financial education program, Financially Fit for Life.

The restaurant chain opened in Salt Lake City in 2014 and provided 30,000 sandwiches to the needy within the first six months. The Gilbert location, its eighth, planned to donate 30,000 sandwiches two weeks after opening, according to Brand Director Jamie Coates.

At the time of going to press, its website had recorded 1549 sandwiches sold.

A ninth location will open November in Phoenix, at Van Buren Road and First Avenue.

Coates said that the company found Gilbert to be an “influential” community.

“There’s this growing workforce to support the downtown’s growth. You can make a lot of influence with your brand with your growth there and especially with the charity aspect because we’re pioneers in this social enterprise space,” she said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for good food there and there’s also a lot to give and it’s kind of perfect for our concept.”

Even Stevens is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Sunday brunch. It promotes its robust breakfast and brunch offerings in a commercial area that’s now dotted with many other upmarket brands.

“When we select a site, we’re usually not too worried about the competition, we’re delighted to see other businesses doing well there, but consider the value,” Coates said. “You’re getting a really handcrafted gourmet sandwich and a chef-created side or salad for under $10 bucks. There’s not really a lot of options like that in the Heritage Marketplace.”

The menu offers 12 gourmet sandwiches, including Jackfruit Torta: Jackfruit carnitas, pepitas, guacamole, salsa morita, radish, cilantro, lettuce, pickled onions on a sweet bun ($7.95) and the Banh Belly or Banh Mahi: soy glazed pork belly or sustainably caught mahi, roasted jalapeños, pickled slaw, cucumbers, garlic aioli and cilantro in a baguette ($8.85).

Breakfast is served all day and includes the vegan offering, The New Morrissey: Mexican soyrizo, marinated tofu, tots and roasted veggies on a garlic wrap ($6.75).

Craft beer and sandwich pairings are in the works, and will be offered after the restaurant obtains its liquor license.

The restaurant has also partnered with local business Peixoto Coffee, Noble Bread, Santan Brewing and Cotton Country Jellies to use their products in the restaurant.

But perhaps its greatest partnership is the long-term commitment to the four nonprofits.

Each time the chain chooses a market, Coates and her team visit the city months in advance to meet with nonprofits in the area and tour their facilities.

“We talk about needs, how many meals they’re serving, what kind of impact they’re making and the vision they have for the community,” Coates said. “Alleviating hunger as a social problem has to be one of their main mission claims.”

The goal is to alleviate the food costs so that the nonprofits’ funds may go into the programs they provide.

“This is the best way to really see change,” Coates said.

Even Stevens is at 384 N. Gilbert Rd. in downtown Gilbert. Details: 480-219-5299 or evenstevens.com.