A waterfront deli with pastrami piled high is coming to Tacoma
If all goes as planned, by the end of March, the Foss Waterway will have a new deli destination for lunchtime dining and downtown delivery. Dock Street Deli will open at 1901 Dock St. in the home of West of the Waterway. That’s the event space that took over the sprawling marina-view perch that Mexican restaurant Casco Antiguo previously occupied. UPDATE JUNE 17, 2020: The deli is open! The hours for now are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Dock Street Deli is from third-generation Tacoma restaurateur Adrielle Flinders, whose family owns Tacoma’s famous Cloverleaf Tavern and The Spar Tavern. Flinders also operates Gallucci’s, the longtime local catering company, and West of the Waterway.
Think of Dock Street Deli as a part-time pop-up restaurant specializing in later-morning eats and lunch (at least to begin with, they might expand hours later). West of the Waterway hosts weekend events aplenty, but weekdays left the sprawling space void of diners. Flinders said she’ll get better use of the space that’s typically empty on weekdays, save for kitchen staff working on catering orders.
So how will a casual deli specializing in sandwiches and salads be built into an events space that also hosts elegant weddings?
The deli will be entirely on wheels. “We’re going to literally roll everything together for the deli,” said Flinders. “We’re putting in a wall and sliding door. Everything is on casters.”
Diners will order at the roll-up counter and find a seat in a scaled-down dining room (the event space is huge; only a portion will be open seating for the deli). Come summer, that water-side patio will open with this-is-why-we-live-here views of the waterfront. “It’ll be a nice place for downtown workers to come sit on the patio and have a sandwich and some iced tea and enjoy the water,” she said.
DOCK STREET DELI BACKGROUND
Flinders is partnering with longtime local chefs Brad and Vern Wilkinson. Vern worked in the 1980s for the original Gallucci’s Uptown, the deli that operated in the same shopping center that’s now home to Target.
It’s apropos that the famous pasta salad that Gallucci’s founder Ron Gallucci, who died in 2013, was known for, will be on the menu at Dock Street Deli. That signature pasta salad is made with salami and provolone, black olives, bell peppers and is mixed up with a tangy Italian vinaigrette. The Gallucci Caesar salad, heavy on garlic, will also be a featured salad. The other salads will rotate seasonally, Brad Wilkinson said.
“We’ll have a pea salad with prosciutto,” he added. “My favorite is the strawberry-rhubarb with hazelnuts,” said Flinders.
They’ll also have housemade soups. They plan for chicken noodle to be a staple with cream of asparagus and others rotating through the menu as the ingredients shift with the seasons.
At first, their idea for the deli’s sandwiches was to emulate a classic New York deli, but Flinders said after they started building the menu, they thought that concept limited their Northwest palate.
Dock Street Deli will be the kind of place where purists can have a plain bagel or a simple pastrami sandwich with mustard. But in true Northwest fashion, Dock Street Deli also will offer a pastrami sandwich with a ginger-and-sesame-dressed slaw and wasabi mustard. Why? Because in this part of the country, we are super good at mashing up cultures in our food and we’re unapologetic about it (see: Korean tacos and katsu burgers).
The crew recently took a class from their food supply company on the proper slice on pastrami and corned beef. “For the corned beef and pastrami,” Wilkinson said. “We are going to do thinly sliced and piled high for those who want it.”
Flinders also talked up the roast beef sandwich with sundried tomato pesto, arugula, and asiago on a ciabatta roll. She ticked off a broad list of classic sandwiches: A Monte Cristo, Reuben, Cuban, Philly cheesesteak, an Italian, a turkey-bacon-avocado and a meatball sandwich.
Diners also can do the build-your-own sandwich thing with a sizable list of meats, cheeses and breads.
She plans for sandwich pricing in the $9 to $12 range.
Vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters will have options. “We’re looking right now at a couple breads and a wrap that’s gluten free,” Wilkinson said. When the work crew had a preview menu tasting, employees asked about meat-free options. Flinders and Wilkinson are making plans to add those choices to the menu.
Here’s something that will be a hit with downtown office workers. The deli will have its own delivery service.
While they won’t open super early for breakfast in the beginning – she thinks they’ll open around 9 a.m. to start – Flinders said she does want to do a killer breakfast burrito. “My parents used to own Planet Burrito and they had the best breakfast burritos and we have to have one, too.” She also has plans to serve bagel sandwiches.
UPDATE JUNE 17, 2020: The restaurant has opened! Check the restaurant’s social media for updated hours.
DOCK STREET DELI
ANOTHER DOWNTOWN CAFE HAS OPENED
Cafe Azure is another downtown Tacoma cafe that just opened. Diners will find breakfast and lunch in a building with some historical significance. Check the story out here.