Salumi: Cured meat goodness in Seattle

by Chris on July 2, 2010

A stop at Salumi, the artisan cured meat Mecca in Seattle owned by Mario Batali’s father, Armandino Batali

On a cloudy Seattle summer day, a coworker and I took our lunch break in Pioneer Square. Not only did we see the inimitable New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty play at Occidental Park, we made a stop at the city’s famed sandwich shop, Salumi.

Muffo sandwich at Salumi, Armandino Batali's restaurant, Pioneer Square, Seattle

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Wench (Flickr Creative Commons)

Salumi has benefited from the current wave of attention placed on cured meats. Chefs have taken to charcuterie as never before;  you can’t go into a restaurant these days without seeing house-cured prosciutto or designer salami on the menu. But Salumi has a draw that few other restaurants can beat: The owner is Armandino Batali, father of celebrity chef (and meat guru) Mario Batali.

Armandino Batali. Salumi, Pioneer Square, Seattle

Photo by Arnold Inuyaki, Flickr Creative Commons

Salumi is no vanity project. Batali’s maternal grandfather owned a butcher shop in Seattle back in 1903 , when the city was full of fishermen, longshoremen and associated rough types. The enterprise has grown from a retirement dream (Armandino Batali worked an engineer at Boeing) to a family business; daughter Gina Batali is a principal owner as well now.

Line at Salumi, Armandino Batali's deli, Pioneer Square, Seattle

Like any place worthy of a pilgrimage, Salumi has strange hours that aren’t very conducive to grabbing a sandwich on the run. The storefront deli is open from Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Which means that if you work any place other than downtown or have guests in for the weekend, you have to plan your visit carefully.

We arrived at Salumi around 12:30. True to form, a line stretched out the door and the daily special, an Italian meatloaf sandwich with lamb sopressata, was already sold out. An employee made the time go faster by giving out samples of Finocchiona, a fennel-flavored salami.

Salumi, Armandino Batali, Pioneer Square, Seattle

No matter. There were plenty of other mouth-watering choices on the blackboard menu. I deliberated between a Porchetta – savory roast pork stuffed into a baguette – and the Prosciutto with goat cheese and fig compote. In the end, I ordered a Muffo, similar to a New Orleans muffalatta, with two types of salami, cheese and an olive tapanade spread.

Line inside Salumi, Armandino Batali, Pioneer Square, Seattle

These gourmet sandwiches do not come cheap, as they range in price from $8 to $15, Luckily, you get a lot for your money. The employees pile on the meat and each sandwich could easily be split up into two lunches, if you aren’t too hungry (of course, I devoured mine in one sitting).

Counter at Salumi, Armandino Batali, Pioneer Square, Seattle

In Philly’s Italian Market, nearly all the butchers were men. So I was thrilled to see women manning the ever-moving meat slicer. Even with the line, they handed out samples to those who were more indecisive. Note: Salumi also sells its meats by the pound, but you need to call ahead for orders during the busy lunch rush.

Salumi’s hours may be strange, but foodies will find that it’s worth adjusting your schedule for a visit (and maybe encouraging your weekend Seattle guests to come in early so they can try it for themselves). I know I’ll be back there as often as I can.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Everywhereist July 2, 2010 at 11:10 am

I’ve lived in Seattle for nearly my entire life and have still never been here. I might need to change that, ASAP. :)

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Chris July 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

Yes, you must. And I will go with you. Because I’m in love with a sandwich. How sad is that?

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Juliette July 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I knew the meat would be incredible, since I’ve had it on enough charcuterie plates in the past few years, but I was delighted to find that the bread was primo too–not always the case in Seattle.

Next up: gumbo in the CD?

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Chris July 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Gumbo? Here? Yes, please. Me likes yummy Seattle.

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jason July 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Hey Chris, I’m headed to Seattle next week. This looks good!

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Chris July 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm

@Jason – When are you here? Do you have time for Happy Hour?

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Seattleite July 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Yes, definitely a carnivore’s paradise. I work in pioneer square, but the long lines make it a little tricky to squeeze a lunch at Salume’s into a short lunch hour!

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Chris July 4, 2010 at 11:44 pm

@Seattleite – I really wish their hours were more flexible. I’d be there all the time!

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Chinamatt July 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Sounds like my kinda place. Wish I had a shop like this nearby. You’re making me want to take a trip to Seattle…and I don’t have enough money right now.

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Chris July 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

You should come out to Seattle! These are the months to do it….apparently it’s the only time that the city sees the sun, at least according to a woman I had lunch with today. Seattlites are beginning to scare me with their ominous winter stories (on the plus side, dreary skies mean more time for reading!)

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Migrationology August 21, 2010 at 12:54 am

I arrived at about 4 pm and ate the things that were left from the previous crowds. Luckily I there was still a little leftover sausage mixed with tomato sauce that was oustanding! I need to return sometime to have a full selection of Salumi!

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Chris August 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

Ha! I’m glad that even the leftovers made a good sandwich. I keep trying to get back there, but the hours are really a problem. Thanks for letting us know that there’s something left for those of us who arrive at closing time!

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John in Playa September 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I also lived in Seattle and never went to Salumi. Has it always been this popular or did it gain in popularity when Mario Batali became famous?

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Chris September 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

John – Batali’s dad spent 25 years at Boeing so Salumi is his second career. So I don’t think it opened before Mario was already established in New York. Certainly the connection is key to getting people in the door….but the food keeps them coming back.

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Cathy September 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I love cured meat and sandwich. The store should have a menu on the front of their store, so those waiting can view what is available.

My husband loves cured meat too.

How do they cured their meat?

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Joel R. Putnam October 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Good find! Don’t forget some of the other greats in Pioneer Square. If you’re there on the right Thursday, you can get a free art walk out of it while munching on your Salumi goods. Just a tip from a fellow travel blogger, and native Seattlite (yes it’s a word).

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