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Delicatus: Redefining Deli



Just about four blocks from the roar of CenturyLink Field where Seahawks fans break sound records, a delicatessen is breaking the mold of what defines authentic deli in Seattle.

Turning out 300 sandwiches every day, Delicatus is not your average ham, salami and capacola type of shop, although you’ll find that here too.

What fills the cult-followed lunch menu is a combination of classic and inventive, east coast and west coast, traditional and progressive. The space is filled with flavors and aromas and inspirations that borrow from authentic European delicatessen history and add in just the right touch of authentic Seattle.

Derek Shankland and Mike Klotz opened Delicatus in Pioneer Square in March 2010 on the simple concept that people in the greater Seattle area deserved a better sandwich.

“You don’t have to sacrifice fresh, local quality in a sandwich. And you shouldn’t have to pay twenty bucks for it,” said Mike Kiotz, Delicatus co-owner.

You’ll find two tracks on their lunch menu: Traditionalists and Progressives. The Pavo Diablo, a top-selling Progressive, is layered with hickory smoked turkey, sliced avocado, spinach, cilantro, Havarti, spicy chipotle aioli, and roasted poblano peppers on sourdough bread. The classic Reuben, an obvious favorite on the Traditionalist side, is mounded with flavorful corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss Emmental, and spicy Russian dressing on toasted onion caraway rye.

The ingredients are as fresh and local as you can get. The salmon is cured in-house for the Ballard Lox. The pastrami and corned beef is made in-house as well. And the list of artisanal purveyors is long and lush, including some of Seattle’s best. Delicatus sandwiches make friends with Panzanella Bread Company, Frank’s Produce, Bavarian Meat, Olympic Provisions, Mt. Townsend Creamery and many more.

But Delicatus doesn’t close after lunch and Chef Aaron Willis is making sure Seattle knows it.

Filet Mignon with creamed local mushrooms. Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie, an inside-out puff pastry shell filled with rotating market vegetables and rosemary veloute. Italian Porcetta that Mike calls “the best of all worlds in one piece of heavenly pork.” A play on Duck L’Orange that dances with pomegranate molasses and pink peppercorn beurre blanc. A nod to deli, dinner at Delicatus is elevated in the best of ways.

“We wanted to do something more for folks in the neighborhood, to offer an upscale, Northwest take on cuisine,” said Aaron.

With a commissary kitchen just down the block that’s dedicated to pickles, wine, events and a future retail business that will make Delicatus’ homemade dressings, pastrami and corned beef available to their sandwich-crazed fans, you’ve got to wonder what’s next for this powerhouse team of deli denizens.


 In honor of the steakhouse experience, Delicatus creates a steak dish during their dinner service that reflects the essence of a classic steakhouse experience, but with a few twists. All the gluttony of a high-end steakhouse at half the price.

To read more about these chefs and restaurants go to www.SizzleandBuzz.com to purchase a cookbook. Proceeds go to benefit the hungry in your local area!

Photo credits: Delicatus and Michael Henry


2 Responses

  1. Avatar Emily
    Great article on one of my favorite places in Seattle!
  2. Great read!! I'm totally going to check this place out :D

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