A Jewish deli on Capitol Hill: Pastrami, kosher hot dogs, and knishes the plan at Dingfelder’s Delicatessen

People have been pretty excited about the pending debut of a new walk-up craft bagel shop on Capitol Hill. Just wait until the summer opening of Dingfelder’s Delicatessen, an “Old World” deli with plans for stacked-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, knishes, smoked fish, and, yes, bagels.

“My husband is from Brooklyn. He’s an amazing natural cook and he has all these family recipes,” Stephanie Hemsworth tells CHS. “He’ll make you the best pastrami sandwich you’ve ever had.”

Add another to our roster of bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2018. The new project from Vance Dingfelder and Hemsworth is planned to open this summer — hopefully by July — in the building neighboring Aria Salon on the northwest corner of 14th and Pine.This part of Capitol Hill is familiar territory for the food industry couple. They worship at nearby Temple De Hirsch Sinai. “We’ve been waiting for that building,” Hemsworth said. “It’s part of our community and we really want to give back.”

After at least one bigger player passed up on the opportunity to lease the 14th and Pine building — CHS found early permit filing for a scuttled Renee Erickson “Sea Creatures” project — Dingfelder’s Deli is full speed ahead.

Hemsworth says the old building will be undergoing a full renovation to restore its original architecture and add a new entrance at the corner. Inside, where a commercial kitchen has been in operation, the couple will have an overhauled facility to run their Nourish Catering company out of and for creating Dingfelder’s delicacies.

The plan is for the kitchen to be ready to go before spring and with it, Hemsworth says, Dingfelder’s can also open its E Pine walk-up window with late-night plans for grilled dogs, knishes, and those corned beef and pastrami sandwiches — plus “some surprises we have up our sleeve.” The window will serve as a kind of pop-up as Dingfelder’s prepares for its full summer opening.

Meanwhile, this area of Capitol Hill should also soon have a new bagel provider as Westman’s Bagel and Coffee is set to open on E Madison.

In addition to answering the hopes and dreams for a Jewish deli on Capitol Hill, Hemsworth said she and her husband are excited to be part of Seattle and its progress on wages and labor rights. “We support the city. The city is growing,” Hemsworth said. “There’s a lot of people who live here and need jobs. We want to be a part of the community — and a place for people to eat that is spectacular.”

Dingfelder’s Delicatessen will open at 1318 E Pine. You can keep track of progress at facebook.com/Dingfelders/.

UPDATE: Thanks to longtime CHS reader and researcher Linda Corets, we know more about the building’s commercial history — including the popular Marcel’s:

A 1984 view of Marcel’s Pastry Shop (Image: Seattle Public Library/Werner Lenggenhager Photograph Collection)


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20 thoughts on “A Jewish deli on Capitol Hill: Pastrami, kosher hot dogs, and knishes the plan at Dingfelder’s Delicatessen

  1. I am SO delighted that this building will see new life. I can’t believe it’s been vacant for many years and have been curious on the building’s backstory – why it’s gone untouched for so long.

    I wish these folks the best!

    • I don’t think it’s been vacant, I’m pretty sure it’s been a central kitchen for the Plum empire. Not public-facing though.

    • Oh interesting, thanks for the info! I walk past at least once a week and its always a dark mess so I assumed it was abandoned. Too bad they didn’t maintain the exterior.

      It will be nice to have street-facing life return to this building.

  2. Great news! When I got to Seattle in 1985, I had plans for opening a bakery and coffee shop. That never happened. But one property that my partners and I looked at was this building. Back then, it was no longer used, but there was still a lot of kitchen and baking equipment that would have come with the lease. People told me about a much-loved restaurant that used to be in there, but I forget the details. It’s been too long. Maybe it was Czech? Not sure. The owner was an older man with a great smile who was very proud of the place. He knew we were flakes, but he graciously showed us around.

  3. YES TO A JEWISH DELI! This New Yorker desperately misses them & thinks Seattle is long overdue for one. (Please include black & white cookies!)

  4. i know vance from when i worked at temple de hirsch sinai years ago. he cooked for deli night and he is the real deal, so excited for his place!

  5. Whoever owns that building is leaving one big chunk of money – either sell it or redevelop it. Surely zoned for 6-8 floors and could still have retail.

    • I think it’s GREAT that for a change a nice old building is going to be remodeled instead of demolished for yet another ugly, cheap-looking apartment building. There doesn’t have to be housing on every damn lot in the neighborhood!

  6. Excited! I’ve been going by that bldg at least once per day for 10 years and would often sigh at its unused potential

    • Ditto that. Sometimes I see the Matzoh Mamma’s catering van in the neighborhood. The driver tells me he always gets requests from people passing by who wish the restaurant would reopen somewhere, but no good news to be had there. Their matzoh ball soup was very good. (For a lame, under-flavored, lukewarm version try Gilbert’s on Main Street in Bellevue.)

  7. At one time that property was owned by the man that owned Demiti’s espresso shop and antiques that was locate on pine between 12th & 13th He live there and it later became “The Cuff” he owned several properties in the neighborhood