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May 2, 2024

Is Don, is good: Sando grab-and-go at Don’s Deli

From the team behind Bar Lune, Spread, Dolly and Fettle is Don's Deli, an Italian-inspired takeaway sandwich stop with toasted and fresh options for every sando lover.

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  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera

Sam Worrell-Thompson opened his new sandwich stop, Don’s Deli, just two weeks ago on The Parade. The hospo guru co-owns ventures like Bar Lune — which lives across the road from Don’s — Spread, Dolly and Fettle.


Don’s Deli
324 The Parade, Kensington 5068
Tue—Sat: 7am ’til 3pm


When it came to opening up Don’s, he broke his golden rule.

“So it was meant to be Thursday but there were just a few issues… so we opened on Friday, which is normally my big no-no busy day,” Sam says.

“Always open at the start of the week so you get to find your feet,” Sam says while we sit outside on red stools as people find a table with takeaway boxes stuffed with sandos in hand.

Sam describes the past two weeks as “cruisey” but he also says there’s been a “much better coffee trade than [they] probably expected”.

“[There’s] probably not a lot around here, and you’ve got four or five schools in the vicinity which we always knew. But we probably didn’t expect the coffee trade with that which is good,” Sam says.

“My thought with coffee is like you’ve always got those two [workers] at the front. If you can become a coffee-driven business, it takes the pressure off the kitchen.

“But it also justifies the two front-of-house guys that are working. We have real lulls at Spread and it hurts the numbers a little bit — coffee versus wages.

“If you can get coffee sales up, that’s good.”

Sam says Don’s Deli, which is also co-owned by Josh Dehaas, is different from their first sando bar Spread as “they don’t do a lot of coffees”.

Dawn Patrol beans on show


Despite the coffee highs, the food at Don’t Deli is still the strong part of the offering.

“So you’ve got four toasted items: three savoury, one sweet,” Sam says.

“Spread is very fresh-focused, we don’t sell that many toasties. Here… crazy.

“I just got them one toastie machine, because that’s what I’ve got at Spread. I’ve had to buy them a second toastie machine because they have so many toasties on the go that people are waiting because they can only fit four toasties.

“We didn’t expect that.”

Toasted sandos range from mushroom, tarragon and provolone to egg, chilli crisp and giardiniera. The sweet toastie is a blueberry chutney, maple bacon and brie option.

“And then we go into five fresh [sandwiches],” Sam says.

“A real basic ham one for the basic eater. The three meats is really popular: so you’ve got three meats, picante which is cheese, chilli and rocket, so it’s like a chilli jam.

“A marinated eggplant for the vegos is more Middle Eastern I guess and that’s really popular.

“Then we’ve got salad [which is] okay. We’ll probably change it to soup in the next four weeks. So soup and sandos little combo.”

The soup concept will work by using “anything leftovers [and] any veg at [Bar] Lune”. The Don’s team will “turn it into a soup” as it achieves the “zero waste idea”.

Despite this, Sam assures us “there’s not a lot of crossover from [Bar] Lune, but sort of bits and bobs flavour wise”.


We ask Sam how Don’s Deli is different from the sandwich resurgence happening in Adelaide and he replies “I don’t think it is.”

“There’s some great spaces opening up,” he says.

“There’s not much this side of town. You’ve got Panini Brothers [which is] quite far out that way. You’ve got Rodeo down here, which is probably a little bit different, there’s a fair bit of fried stuff on that and she seems to do a bit of everything, which is fine.

“I think it’s price-conscious people as well. If you think [about] the noodle bowl — Soonta — how long that stuck around: it’s reliable, it’s cheap, it’s clean.

“I think the sandwich was always going to come back.”

The eggplant sando


Don’s is a takeaway model with no current indoor seating. The space is a hole in the wall and Sam says with this area they “didn’t have any other option”.

“I think there’s a lot of longevity in the takeaway model at the moment, but it’ll change again probably next year if interest rates come down a bit,” Sam says. “But think less staff, less maintenance, less service — not less service as in give shit service, but you grab it, you’re gone.

“I think a lot of people in Adelaide are struggling with the cost of running a business versus the customer. A lot of those costs are removed in a takeaway scenario.

“That’s why we started Spread. Customers kind of pushed us into sit in a little bit more, but it’s still manageable that it’s not really changing our business plan.

“It’s a weird time out there, hospo. You have one great week, and then the next week’s just so random. It’s really hard to manage businesses at the moment.”

Don’s Deli is located at 324 The Parade, Kensington and is open from 7am until 3pm from Tuesday to Saturday.

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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