Don’s Deli isn’t reinventing the wheel. And it doesn’t need to. Despite the proliferation of sandwich bars across Adelaide, there’s still joy in finding a good, honest sandwich that’s not trying to do too much.

At Don’s – which opened last month in Kensington across the road from Bar Lune, with which it shares owners – you’ll find classic flavour combinations that don’t mess with tradition. Sourdough focaccia comes fresh or toasted and packing porchetta with cavolo nero, potato cream and rosemary, or layers of mortadella with creamy stracciatella, pistachio and chilli honey.

Co-owner Sam Worrall-Thompson, who’s the director and co-founder of Embr Hospitality, which is also behind Fine & Fettle, Dolly and sandwich shop Spread, wanted to distinguish Don’s from the latter by homing in on simple Italian flavours. That means deli meats with chilli and bitey provolone piccante. And prosciutto with olives, artichoke and smoky scamorza.

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“My brief to the chefs was ‘four ingredients or less’. And they’ve more or less done that. In the next three or four months I want to go even fresher again.”

The set-up is equally unfussy: just a hole-in-the-wall window attached to hairdresser Surreal (the fillings are prepped at Lune then carried across to Don’s for the two-person team to assemble) and a handful of stools, tables and umbrellas out front under the shade of red autumn leaves.

“With the economic situation we’re in, the idea was to make it cheap and cheerful and more coffee-driven,” says Worrall-Thompson. “Having said that, Maddie [Pavli] the chef at Lune, is a bloody good chef and she’s put some pretty good flavours together.”

In another nod to Italy’s dining culture – and contrasting the chat of rising coffee prices – the espressos at Don’s are going for $2 a pop. “It’s quite common in Italy to have your short black and a glass of sparkling water,” says Worrall-Thompson. “When you take out the milk and the labour of steaming the milk and just look at raw cost … if that brings 10 or 15 people to the window, then I think it’s worth it.”

There’s also batch brew and milk coffee – made with Dawn Patrol beans – plus pastries from Prove Patisserie.

Come winter, the team might add a cup of soup to the menu, made from leftover Lune veggies. In another show of symbiosis, one of Embr’s young employees is selling loaves of sourdough – baked at Lune – from the Don’s window on Saturdays, while another is selling flowers through an “honesty system”.

“We want to be more than a sandwich shop,” says Worrall-Thompson. “If someone’s got a skill, we want to support that.”

Don’s Deli
324 The Parade, Kensington.

Tue to Sat 7am–3pm