By Jessica Creagan
SEBASTIAN -- For delicious sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and prepared in full view, try 3AM Deli in Sebastian, just south of Bay Street Pharmacy.
While you can't pop in at 3 a.m., during the daytime business owner and chef John Hicks will enthusiastically whip up a hearty sandwich using fresh ingredients and home-made sauces and dressings.
The restaurant's name comes from the initials of his wife, Allyson, son, Aiden, 7, and daughter, Andrea, 8, but the food prepared in the kitchen all comes from Mr. Hicks.
A graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Mr. Hicks has worked in many kitchens in various positions, but at 3AM Deli, he can focus on the food he wants to make, and help people make smart decisions about what they eat.
One of the more popular dishes at the deli is the SloLo Pork sandwich.
"Making the meat for this incredible lunchtime meal is a three-day process, but the end result is well worth the effort," Mr. Hicks said.
The slow-cooked pulled pork is piled onto a bun and smothered in a house barbeque sauce. While some barbeque sauces may be thick and heavy, the house sauce is light, and though generally mild, has hints of sugary ingredients with a pop of spicy tang.
To finish off the top layer of the sandwich, Mr. Hicks creates a cabbage and apple slaw with a semi-sweet dressing. The crunchy and cool slaw juxtaposes perfectly against the soft bread and the hot pork.
Making good-tasting, fresh food and being careful to make the dishes in a healthy way is something very important to Mr. Hicks.
"I'm not organic yet, but I would love to be. I buy fresh produce, meats, everything. I'm as close to organic as I can," Mr. Hicks said.
"You shouldn't need a degree in chemistry to know what you're eating," he said.
Other menu items include the Parma John, a breaded fried chicken parmesan sandwich topped with homemade red sauce, arugula and mozzarella; Skirts Up, a marinated and seared steak sandwich with lettuce red onion and tomato' and Wrapsody, a flour tortilla wrap filled with seasoned ground beef, black bean paste, orange-cilantro sour cream, cheddar cheese, lettuce and onions.
The L-shaped bar and few bar stools in the deli are a good place to slow down and chow down.
"And if you have time and want to talk, I can talk about food all day," Mr. Hicks said with a laugh.
Breakfast items and sandwiches are also available all day.
For someone who is used to eating on the go, but wants to be more conscientious about the ingredients they consume, the Nonna Scramble is a filling sandwich that fits the bill.
In addition to eggs, the sandwich has potatoes, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a choice of bacon, sausage, salami or ham.
The passion and love for food and food preparation are evident in a single conversation with Mr. Hicks, but so is his passion and love for his family.
After customers asked him to put out a tip jar, he agreed, but said that all the proceeds in the jar will go to Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization.
"My daughter Andrea has autism, she's terrific. Anything we get in that jar will go to that organization because they are just great getting the word out there," Mr. Hicks said.
Business hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
3AM Deli is located at 14010 U.S. 1, Sebastian. For more information, call (772) 589-5773 or visit www.3amdeli.com.