Seattle’s legendary Salumi has new owners (bye bye Batali) and a new location

Nov 26, 2018, 6:17 PM | Updated: Dec 3, 2018, 2:01 pm
(Aaron CC images)
(Aaron CC images)

Salumi is a Seattle institution, a beloved cured meat producer and sandwich shop in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood with a perpetual line down the block. It was opened by chef Mario Batali’s dad, Armandino Batali, 20 years ago. And his grandfather opened Seattle’s first Italian grocery in the same neighborhood more than 100 years ago. But the deli is experiencing some big changes. It was recently sold to Martinique Grigg and Clara Veniard, who now claim to be the only women in the country to own a charcuterie shop.

“This was really a passion project for Armandino,” said Grigg. “He was a Boeing engineer for many years and when he was ready to retire, he had always wanted to do something in food and had a passion for cured meats. So he actually spent some time in Spain and Italy really learning the craft. Then about seven years ago he sold [the business] to his daughter, Gina.”

Gina Batali and her husband still retain a portion of the business, but the bulk was sold to Grigg and Veniard.

Besides the new ownership, there is another big change. This week Salumi is moving out of its famously narrow and cramped space into a bigger shop where staff and customers will both have some breathing room. But don’t worry, the new deli is only a few blocks away (404 Occidental Ave S), in a historic brick building with plenty of character and charm. With all the change and growth Seattle has been experiencing, some of us worried that this nationally recognized, beloved institution might not evolve for the better. But upon meeting the new owners, who are joyful and passionate, savvy and hospitable, my doubts instantly evaporated. I asked Grigg if they worry about regulars reacting negatively to the changes.

“Yeah, we are worried about it. The reason we got involved in Salumi is because we have been long time customers who love the experience, love the brand and we want to preserve that going forward. So we understand why people might raise an eyebrow and sort of be like, ‘What’s going to happen?’ So that’s why, honestly, we took a year to apprentice in the business, learn everything and make sure that we can be responsible in carrying the legacy forward and evolving this in a way that really honors what the Batali’s have built. So we have actually been really surprised at how positive the response has been. There’s definitely a little, ‘Don’t mess it up!'” she laughed.

Salumi’s salamis and cured meats have always been handmade in the back of the shop. But the new space will solely house the deli and the old space will be used for production, which will give them a lot more room to cure more meat. And if you’ve never been to Salumi…

“We’re very famous for our sandwiches, we have both cold and hot sandwiches,” said Veniard. “We have a special sauce that we put on [cold sandwiches] with garlic and anchovies and bread crumbs, it’s really delicious. Then we have our hot sandwiches, our porchetta and we also have this ginormous meatball sandwich. It’s a baguette with three meatballs on it and tomato sauce. You can practically not fit your mouth around it. It’s so delicious.”

Before partnering up to buy Salumi, Grigg was CEO of The Mountaineers and Veniard worked at the Gates Foundation and Amazon. Both are food lovers who have spent time truly educating themselves on the art and history of salumi, the Italian word for cured meats like salami and prosciutto.

To hear more about the history of salumi, listen to my podcast Your Last Meal, featuring actor, cookbook author and Cooking Channel host, Tiffani Thiessen.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Nadiya Hussain...
Rachel Belle

New ‘Your Last Meal’: British Bake Off winner, Spice Waala brings Indian street food to Seattle

As a child, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, felt frustrated that her dad served watered down, westernized Indian food at his restaurants.
6 days ago
Toxic positivity...
Rachel Belle

Seattle psychotherapist on how to cope with ‘season of toxic positivity’

Telling your loved ones to look on the bright side when they're feeling down is toxic positivity, and no one likes to hear it. Not even you.
13 days ago
birthday cake...
Rachel Belle

‘Your Last Meal’ podcast explores history of why we eat cake and light candles for birthdays

We all eat birthday cake, but have you ever wondered why? Award-winning chef Christina Tosi dives in on the latest episode of "Your Last Meal."
19 days ago
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is not holding a fluffernutter in this photo, but he is holdi...
MyNorthwest Staff

Dave Ross, Rachel Belle on how ‘fluffernutter’ made it into the dictionary

Fluffernutter is now in the dictionary. KIRO Radio's Dave Ross and Rachel Belle discuss that and the other new words (and phrases) that made the cut.
20 days ago
Caspar Babypants...
Rachel Belle

Seattle rocker Chris Ballew is retiring Caspar Babypants, moving on from kids’ music

After 19 albums and 13 years as Caspar Babypants, Seattle's Chris Ballew is moving on to yet another a new musical project.
21 days ago
Seattle, anxiety...
MyNorthwest Staff

KIRO Radio hosts attempt to solve Seattle’s anxiety problem

A new study out of the U.S. Census Bureau has found that Seattle is ranked as the most anxious metro area in the country. KIRO Radio weighs in.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Seattle’s legendary Salumi has new owners (bye bye Batali) and a new location