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Hospitality Main Ingredient at New Pasadena Deli

A locally owned deli has opened on Ritchie Highway specializing in fresh-made sandwiches and salads.

John Sparkman describes his recently opened Simple Sands delicatessen as "not what you would expect next to a gas station." Located behind the pumps of the Cheapest Gas in Town station on northbound Ritchie Highway, the deli is gaining new customers daily as word spreads about the fresh sandwiches and salads—and breakfast, too.

Simple Sands offers a wide variety of deli meats and sandwiches along with a pleasant and helpful staff.

Sparkman of Severna Park, a former partner in located a few minutes away, is as passionate about friendliness as he is the carefully crafted sandwich menu.

"We want everyone to come in and enjoy the hospitality and service," said Sparkman. His staff of about 10 includes his wife, Jessica, who takes shifts whenever needed. The couple have two children and live in the community of West Severna Park. 

The menu at Simple Sands features everything from a traditional turkey club, to a tasty Santa Fe wrap that packs a punch, and a spicy Brazilian roasted pork sandwich.

“I ensure that when people walk in they are treated the way they deserve to be treated,” said Sparkman. “The food you will get here is superior to other places and we offer something different. We take our time and make a quality sandwich.” 

Three local Patch editors stopped in for lunch on Thursday. Eager to share a sampling of the lunch menu, Sparkman presented two salads, a southwest turkey wrap, Italian sandwich and the Brazilian pork sandwich. All received a "thumbs up" by the editors on flavor, fresh bread, tangy sauces and generous portions.

Sparkman has his own favorite sandwich.

“The meatball hoagie—that’s my favorite,” he said.

One particular item the Patch editors all enjoyed was the chicken salad. The chicken used in the sandwich is roasted right in the deli and the salad itself is truly original. It has a tangy taste and Sparkman said it comes from the pineapples and red apples. The chicken salad is available to purchase by the pound as well as on a sandwich.

While the food at Simple Sands is delicious and unique, it is the hospitality that keeps customers coming back.

“Everyone here is very nice,” said customer Eric Flamino. “It is a local business and I like to patronize local businesses.”

Sparkman said that Simple Sands customers can always count on a helpful and polite staff.

“Food is secondary to hospitality,” he said. “Simple Sands offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.”

Simple Sands delivers in the area and also offers catering. Sparkman said he's already catered lunches for local real estate offices.

If you're hungry and it is late, Simple Sands is open from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays for your midnight cravings.

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