Steve Down has big ideas. About how to achieve world peace, for instance. “It just seems to me,” he says, “that we’re never going to have world peace as long as people are hungry.” 

So he’s leaving the yakkety-yak to the diplomats and tackling the problem in a practical, entrepreneurial way.

Founder of Financially Fit financial advisers and cofounder of Noah Corporation event centers, Down is a natural entrepreneur of the smartest kind—he combines the best ideas of others and creates a whole new enterprise. His new sandwich shop, Even Stevens, for example, combines the gourmet quality of one of the country’s top delis with the altruism of one of the country’s top young companies.

Zingerman’s plus TOM’s Shoes equals Even Stevens. 

The new sandwich shop pledges that for every sandwich purchased by a customer, Even Stevens will donate a sandwich to one of its nonprofit partners in SLC. One for one. Eat to give.

“Think about it,” Down says. “We’re projecting we’ll sell 50,000 sandwiches our first year from this location. Our goal is to have 100 restaurants around the world by 2020. You do the math.”

Even Stevens will work with a food distributor to deliver sandwich ingredients (in bulk, equal to sandwiches sold) to local organizations that feed the hungry.

Even Stevens’ menu goes far beyond basics, though, and even beyond sandwiches–there’s a breakfast menu and a list of snacks. Sandwich choices include roasted turkey, but the meat is layered with provolone, cranberry jalapeno jelly, cucumbers and slow-roasted tomatoes. Corned beef and chicken are “clean label,” and if you don’t want a sandwich, you can try an exotic salad like apricot gorgonzola.

Down is taking care that the sandwich ingredients are nutritionally sound, of high quality and well-made. To make sure the sandwich bread was top-notch, he sent his staff to train at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI.

In Salt Lake, Even Stevens’ nonprofit partners are the Boys and Girls Clubs, Volunteers for America, Feeding America and the Utah Food Bank.

Down moves fast–once he had the concept, the name was a natural. When he found that a man in China owned the domain name, Down called him up and bought it over the phone. He came up with the idea for his venture on a bet. He was eating a tasty and swiftly delivered Jimmy John’s sandwich with a colleague who asked him, “How could you improve this concept? Give me an answer by the time you finish your sandwich.”

A minute later, Down answered, “For every sandwich I sold, I’d give a sandwich to the hungry in the community.”

“That’s it,” said his friend. “I’d drive out of my way for that sandwich.”

It’s a bet that promises to pay off for all. After all, as Down says, “A full stomach has to come before world peace.” 414 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-727-7242. evenstevens.com

Photos in this post provided by Even Stevens

Back>>>Read other stories in our July/August 2014 issue.