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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

PB & Jelly Deli serves up 'elevated school lunch' for a good cause

sandwich on a table

The nonprofit food truck donates a meal back into the Tampa Bay community for every sandwich sold.

Listen to the episode

You could call it the feel-good food truck. The St. Petersburg-based PB & Jelly Deli serves up sophisticated-yet-playful nut butter sandwiches that evoke memories of childhood. Better still, for every sandwich sold, PB & Jelly Deli donates a meal back into the Tampa Bay community.

The nonprofit food truck is operated by volunteers from Radius Church in St. Petersburg, which started the enterprise in 2017 as a community outreach.

While customers enjoy giving back, the sandwiches speak for themselves. Each is served on bread from Mazzaro’s Italian Market with freshly ground nut butter—walnut, almond, salted caramel peanut butter and more. From there, the sandwich fillings are as inventive as the volunteers who dream them up. Menu items include:

  • The St. Pete Savory: cashew butter, fig jelly, sprouts, avocado and Frank’s RedHot sauce.
  • Thai Fighter (grilled): curry peanut butter, sweet pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, fresh basil and Sriracha.
  • Italian Goat: walnut pesto goat cheese butter, banana peppers, tomato jam and balsamic reduction.

Co-founder Amanda Clark admits that some of the combinations sound strange. But one bite of, for instance, the Thai Fighter, and customers are hooked.

“When you eat that sandwich, it is so warm—so life-giving,” she says. “It feels very much like home, like a warm embrace.”

In a conversation with The Zest, Amanda shares the origins of PB & Jelly Deli. She also offers advice for making better sandwiches at home.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.