Let’s get the important stuff out of the way up front. No, Dingfelder’s hasn’t locked in the bagels yet. There’s talk of shipping them in from Montreal, but they’d rather source locally. It’s going to be kosher style, but not certified kosher. (You can still get kosher catering, though.) As for an opening date? Late summer. Your pastrami sandwich is going to have to wait. Stephanie Hemsworth — the wife part of the husband-and-wife team behind Dingfelder’s — promises it will be worth it.
Once the doors open at 1318 East Pine Street on Capitol Hill, Dingfelder’s could become the New York-style corner Jewish deli Seattle has been missing. It’s named for Vance Dingfelder, the chef behind Nourish Catering and a former New York City cab driver. The grandson of Turkish Sephardic and Eastern European Ashkenazi grandmothers who taught him how to cook, Dingfelder plans to feature cuisine from both family trees. An excellent hot dog, a spinach-filled bulema, and “vegan latkes, too,” Hemsworth says. “We want to have food that fits everyone.”
Dingfelder is that guy, the enthusiastic home cook surrounded by friends who told him to open a restaurant. “We made 15-20 gallons of matzoh ball soup this year,” Hemsworth says. “We thought, ‘This is ridiculous; we should just open a deli.’”
They signed a lease last August, and they’re building out the kitchen now. The public space — a Katz-style “take a ticket, order your stuff” grab-and-go counter — is next.
Hemsworth hopes Dingfelder’s will be a magnet for a community that’s (literally) hungry for authentic Jewish food. There are plans to staff a late-night window so Capitol Hill’s partiers can grab a hot dog or a half sandwich after a night at the bars. They’ve also got their eyes on a sidewalk café license for those summer days.
“We’re happy to represent the Jewish community, and we’re excited about our restaurant,” Hemsworth says. “It’s going to be a gathering place where everybody’s welcome. A place with fun, familiar food that everybody loves, you know?”
We know. We can’t wait.