[Photo: S. Pratt]
Stopsky's, the Jewish deli on Mercer Island, will shutter on Sunday, according to owner Jeff Sanderson. Employees confirmed the closure with Eater; staff were informed in a meeting yesterday. The news was just posted on Facebook.
The deli got its start in 2011 with celebrity chef Robin Leventhal at the helm. After she left, Shane Robinson (now with Kraken Congee) took over the kitchen, followed by others. Stopsky's continued to do its own baking, preserving, curing (pastrami, corned beef,) and pickling. A bar and additional seats were added last summer. Food & Wine named Stopsky's one of America's best delis earlier this year, and it was included in a roll call of "new artisanal Jewish delis" in The New York Times.
Here's the text of a sign posted on Stopsky's door today:
Stopsky's was a project of the heart whose mission was to reconnect people to Jewish heritage, connect the community, and create homemade Jewish comfort cuisine from scratch. We achieved a lot of this, but in the end could not discover the magic formula to break even. Never willing to compromise our house-made meats, breads, pickles or sourcing, we made the call to not be in the industry. No regrets.
If you were adept at reading tea leaves, you could have predicted this. The deli's website promised, "Our new fresh sheet will feature cuisines from regions where Jewish people have settled. First up is Italy, site of the oldest Jewish community outside Israel. Rome and Venice contain former ghettos, today vibrant areas of food and culture." Trouble is, that "news," the most recent post, was well over a year old.
The name was genuine: In 1905, four Stopsky brothers from a Jewish shtetl in the Ukraine arrived in the US and promptly changed their name to Sanderson. A century later, Gilbert Stopsky's grandson Jeff wanted to open a deli that honored his family's culinary tradition; Stopsky's was the perfect name.
All the deli's packaged goods (pickles, mustards, and such) are 50 percent off, including their amazing smoked olives. Hurry on over for one last Reuben.
· Stopsky's [Facebook]
· All Stopsky's Coverage [-ESEA-]