Stopsky's Deli coming soon

From left, Stopsky
From left, Stopsky's Delicatessen executive chef Robin Leventhal, kibitzer-in-chief Jeff Sanderson, sous chef Shane Robinson and front-of-house-manager Nick Flesch during build out on Mercer Island on April 21.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Staff Photo

Jeff and Lara Sanderson's goal in opening a new restaurant on Mercer Island is to celebrate community, heritage, culture and, of course, food. When Stopsky's Delicatessen opens soon, the plan is to modernize and revive the delicatessen by taking the best of traditional Jewish cuisine and mix it up with fresh Northwest ingredients.

"One of the misnomers is it's a New York deli," Jeff Sanderson said. "We don't plan to have a transplanted N.Y. deli, but to have a genuine Jewish deli, rooted firmly in the Northwest."

Stopsky's is named after his grandfather, Gilbert Stopsky, who emigrated from a Jewish village outside Kiev, Ukraine, in 1905. Gilbert Stopsky changed his last name to Sanderson to adopt a good yankee name and fit in. By naming the restaurant after his grandfather, Sanderson said it's his opportunity to celebrate and reclaim his heritage. In fact, one entire wall in Stopsky's will be devoted to heritage photos, past and present. The community is invited to submit photos of their own events celebrating Jewish or non-Jewish life.

The 36-seat restaurant will be divided into two sections; a sit-down side with table service, and a retail, coffee, to-go space. Upon opening, they will serve breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch, seven days a week, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. except on Sunday when they will close at 5 p.m. On Friday, for the Jewish Sabbath, Stopsky's will offer "Shabbat in a box," the entire Sabbath feast to go, requiring no fuss at home.

Even if you're not Jewish, you're welcome at Stopsky's and will find a wide variety of eats and treats. Sanderson said the chef, Robin Leventhal, formerly of Crave on Capitol Hill, and a season six contestant on "Top Chef," will be making everything in-house. The same goes with baker, Andrew Meltzer, who co-founded the Columbia City Bakery and who taught at the Culinary Institute of America. Sanderson estimates 10 to 15 employees, total.

"The aim is for everything to be fresh, organic and sustainable," Sanderson said. "We will be baking our own bread and curing our own meats."

There will be a wide range of breads, bagels and Jewish pastries. Preserving is a big part of the Jewish cuisine, Sanderson said, so they will serve smoked lox, smoked whitefish, corned beef, brisket, pastrami and salami. Scrambled eggs with smoked fish might be a possibility for breakfast, or lox, eggs and onion to give it Northwest flair.

Salads, matzoh ball soup, kreplach and kugel, challah and rugelach will always be on the menu, but seasonal items will be the star when appropriate. Sanderson also plans to have unique Israeli products such as Israeli wine and beer, in addition to Northwest wine and beer.

Coffee lovers will celebrate the fact that Stopsky's will also offer coffee and espresso drinks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, with locations also on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Sanderson said the price point will be competitive. He will have outside seating in the summer. His goal is for Stopsky's to be a family-friendly restaurant.

The space for Stopsky's is right next door to Island Books at 3016 78th Ave. S.E. in the Islandia Shopping Center. The Sandersons will also have their offices for Sanderson Ventures at the same location.

Stopsky's is the first, largest and most tangible outgrowth of the spirit of Sanderson Ventures, Sanderson said. The goal of the venture company is to change how the community is served, he said — but that's another story. The Sandersons are also moving to Mercer Island from Kirkland, firmly committing themselves to the community.

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