Jonathan Silverberg, owner of the Napkin Friends food truck, is making good on his long-held goal of opening a Jewish deli. It’s a niche without much competition in Seattle: No true Jewish deli exists within city limits, and only Goldbergs’ Famous Delicatessen in Bellevue holds down the fort in the wider area.
Silverberg tells Eater he’s currently hunting for a restaurant home with a large kitchen that can act as prep space for Napkin Friends’ latke press sandwiches, Silverberg’s catering operations, and the forthcoming deli. Ideally, he’ll find a location in Ballard, Fremont, or Wallingford, though he’s open to other neighborhoods in city limits if the conditions are right.
Silverberg says he’s tested food he’ll eventually serve in the deli through his catering arm; another test run will come on Monday, when he holds a pop-up at Stoup Brewing. Look for menu items like hand-carved corned beef, pastrami, and turkey for sandwiches, sides like potato salad and slaw, plus Silverberg’s grandmother’s matzo ball soup he’s popularized on the truck.
Silverberg says the deli will follow his philosophy of “Steeped in tradition but not stuck in it,” which means he will draw inspiration from traditional dishes but take playful liberties — just as he’s done with his food truck.
The deli will be structured around build-your-own sandwiches, with rye and challah bread options. The opening timeline is impossible to predict right now, but Silverberg says he’s hoping to find a space that’s already outfitted for restaurant operations, allowing him to open sooner rather than later.
Eater will update as more information, including a menu, becomes available.