West Seattle restaurants: Peel & Press to open in Morgan Junction

August 22, 2014 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 48 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Dan Austin has dreamed of owning and operating his own restaurant/bar since he was 16 years old.

Since then, he’s spent more than half his life working in the food/beverage industry. And now his long-held dream is about to come true.

He is planning to open Peel & Press this fall at 6503 California SW in Morgan Junction.

You might recognize the address as Abbondanza Pizzeria. It’s been for sale a while, and its proprietors have been telling customers (and us, when we called) that they are closing at month’s end, but we didn’t know until this week that the space already had a new owner.

Austin says he gets the keys at the start of September and hopes to open Peel & Press after a month or so of remodeling. He and his family live nearby, in Gatewood, which is where we sat down to talk over coffee.

Austin plans to change the decor more than the menu, for starters. Pizza will be the focus at Peel & Press.

His work in the food/beverage industry has included companies of all sizes, particularly locally founded chains such as Spiro’s, Red Robin, and Starbucks, where he was a store manager at various Seattle locations for 7+ years.

But this will be his first time as owner as well as manager. Though he’s lived in West Seattle for more than five years, his dream almost came true about half an hour south, instead of in his back yard; Austin says he was in negotiations for a Tacoma restaurant when he discovered the listing for Abbondanza. “I was really excited … It’s a good chance to be part of the neighborhood, to work in the neighborhood where I live – we own a house nearby.”

He says he has been an Abbondanza customer and has enjoyed its food, so for starters, so “we’re going to be keeping a lot of the menu items, just tweaking some things, mainly the interior.” The new look will be more “industrial/rustic,” he explains, with exposed concrete floors and a new color palette; a designer is still working on the plan.

The menu’s “main focus (will be) on pizza – there’s a beautiful stone/brick oven in there.” Will Peel & Press deliver? It’s not in the immediate plan – “takeout for sure, deliver? Possibly in the future. We want to focus on the core business (for starters) – pizza and cocktails.”

He’s applied for a full liquor license; Abbondanza has been operating with beer and wine only. It already has a bar area, so Austin will be putting in a new bar top and adding seating as part of the remodeling. In addition to beverages for on-site consumption, he’s planning to offer growlers, with kegs on reserve for special occasions.

Back to the food – we asked Austin to describe the pizza style, for those not familiar with what Abbondanza’s been offering: “Slightly flatter crust, artisan toppings.” Gluten-free? He says they’re currently experimenting with recipes for a “good gluten-free dough” in hopes of including it on the menu soon. Also, they’ll offer “many salad options” and “some appetizers, a more-classy version of bar fare.”

The hours he’s expecting Peel & Press to keep, for starters: 3-11 pm Mondays-Thursdays, 3-midnight Fridays-Saturdays – “We might expand to later hours, depending on how the beverage service goes.” It will be all-ages until 8 pm, adults only for the last few hours; the first three hours, 3-6 pm, will be happy hour. And he hopes to be able to add Sundays before too long, depending on how business is, perhaps even with weekend breakfast/brunch. Morgan Junction has continued to grow as a restaurant/bar/retail area in recent years, and Austin hopes Peel and Press will add to the “more vibrant community of places to go.”

Oh, and about the name? We guessed it was a reference to peeling/pressing garlic. Wrong! According to Austin, the “peel” is for the baking/serving tool known as a pizza peel; the “press” refers to juicing that he expects to do for fresh-pressed juices in cocktails, “when seasonably available … not quite craft cocktails, but really clean and fresh.”

Again, Austin is hopeful that he might be able to open as soon as early October. We’ll be following up.

48 Comments

  1. Sounds cool. Good luck!

    Comment by Jeanine — 11:34 am August 22, 2014 #

  2. what, no jokes about merlot, claims about there being too many pizza places in West Seattle? no-one telling the owner what they should serve?
    where is everybody? (sorry)

    good thing the article noted the attempt to create a good gluten free crust.

    we’ll have to give it a try when they open, whatever they have. good luck!

    Comment by sam-c — 12:01 pm August 22, 2014 #

  3. Very cool. Looking forward to it. Hope to see more great additions like this to the Morgan Junction. Less nail and hair salons, and more great restaurants.

    Comment by morgan — 12:31 pm August 22, 2014 #

  4. Nice! We live in Gatewood but never went to Abondanza. This new place looks compelling not for the Pizza (lots of Pizza places in WS) but for cocktails. Press cocktails are nice too but I’m hoping they also do a quality craft cocktail setup with a top notch bartenders. The other Morgan Junction cocktail option: Feedback, has a decent/not-bad cocktail menu and execution but it isn’t special/high quality IMHO – it’s more like a dive bar.

    Comment by wsn00b — 12:42 pm August 22, 2014 #

  5. Excited to try it! That is such a great location and we can always use a new Happy Hour! In boca al lupo!!

    Comment by JO — 1:17 pm August 22, 2014 #

  6. I wish Mr. Austin the best in fulfilling his life’s dream. I only hope he can sufficiently differentiate himself from the pizza and cocktails on the opposite corner. Zeeks and Feedback Lounge are both strong competition.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 1:32 pm August 22, 2014 #

  7. Looking forward to this restaurant opening. The combination of cocktails, variety of appetizers, and family friendliness should set them apart. Hoping they will consider expanding the family friendly hours to a bit later, even just an extra hour.

    Comment by CM — 2:00 pm August 22, 2014 #

  8. Interesting choice for a name – before I read further, my first impression of the name was that it was a juice bar (peeling and pressing juice). Would never think of pizza or cocktails with that name.
    .
    If they’re smart, even if they don’t deliver they should consider having someone to run pizzas to Beveridge Place. The pub gets a lot of delivery action from Zeeks in the times I’ve been there.

    Comment by Sue — 2:50 pm August 22, 2014 #

  9. Looking forward to trying it! I don’t
    like the name though. Sounds like a juice bar.

    Comment by Lisa — 2:53 pm August 22, 2014 #

  10. I really hope they’ll do more than tweak the Abbondanza menu, which was pretty underwhelming. Dan, if you happen to read these comments, how about aiming for something more like Delancey, Serious Pie, or Via Tribunali? I’ll be in there weekly if you pull it off :)

    Comment by Jason — 3:18 pm August 22, 2014 #

  11. Christopher, if he does distinguish himself, Morgan Junction could be a destination hotspot. I am reluctant to travel that far by foot but if there were more, I would try it out.

    Comment by newnative — 3:20 pm August 22, 2014 #

  12. Sidewalk seating? Please oh please…creates such a nice neighborhood feel….doubt city would allow. Either way sounds great. I will try it out…good luck!

    Comment by alkitony — 3:41 pm August 22, 2014 #

  13. This is cool that it is more of a bar/pizza atmosphere. Every time I go to zeeks, there are kids running around like crazy. Which is fine if your looking for a family dinner or a quick bite and beer. Nice to have a date night type pizza place! Wish the best!

    Comment by Kas — 3:45 pm August 22, 2014 #

  14. I second Jason’s comments. Need a good Napoli pizza joint

    Comment by Morgan — 4:13 pm August 22, 2014 #

  15. Totally agree with Jason’s comments (love Delancy), as well as other’s comments about the name sounding like a juice bar. Looking forward to a kid AND adult friendly addition to the Gatewood neighborhood. Best of luck!!

    Comment by cbb — 4:26 pm August 22, 2014 #

  16. Looking forward to another quality business in Morgan Junction. I’m in agreement with some other commenters: when I read the name “Peel & Press,” I was sure it was a juice bar/espresso place. I’m sure word will get around that it is something different. Best wishes for success!

    Comment by iggy — 4:46 pm August 22, 2014 #

  17. Sorry to hear Abbondanza is leaving, but happy to hear something new is taking over so quickly! And Morgan junction needs a good breakfast place desperately…just sayin’.

    Comment by quiz — 5:15 pm August 22, 2014 #

  18. Welcome to West Seattle and best of luck Austin! I had the pleasure of meeting Austin at my Pizzeria Quadrato the other day, he is a genuine pizza lover and is a fan of Pizzeria 22, which by the way Jason and Morgan, is West Seattle’s only certified Neapolitan pizzeria. I look forward to trying this new pizzeria and the fresh squeezed juices for cocktails. The name is great and for me says Pizza!

    Comment by Cary Kemp — 5:40 pm August 22, 2014 #

  19. Anyone who says there are ‘too many’ pizza places in any context is detached from reality and can fix this disconnect by eating more pizza.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 6:51 pm August 22, 2014 #

  20. I’ll give it a fair shot and let the food, drinks, and atmosphere speak for themselves, but I can’t say I’m excited.

    Having seen Abbondanza struggle since the Zeeks went in, along with Domino’s, Thriftway, and even Subway selling some form of pizza within 100 yards, I wonder how this place is going to differentiate itself. Hopefully they make a seriously good pie.

    Comment by Jacob — 9:07 pm August 22, 2014 #

  21. Thanks everybody for well wishes and support! I love hearing the feedback and what you all would like to see.

    We are using a Bari brick oven. The company was founded over 75 years ago in the Bowery District in NY. Bari ovens are a staple of the NY pizza scene. It does not have the same baking chamber as a wood fired Neapolitan oven. Trying to make that style pie in that oven would come out disappointing for all involved. What I can promise you is that I will work hard to always provide you with a great pizza and a great atmosphere. We will constantly focus on improving our craft and will never think that “we have made it.” We will work hard to earn your business and it is something we will never take for granted.

    I can’t wait to get the doors open and have you all come in and give us a try!!!

    Comment by daustin — 10:52 pm August 22, 2014 #

  22. Folks at my house were sad to learn Abbondanza was leaving as we found the food great and the people friendly. Glad to hear it will reopen soon and will retain parts of the menu. We look forward to giving it a try and wish all the best to Austin.

    Comment by Ann — 10:52 pm August 22, 2014 #

  23. I Hate to ever be down on anyone brave enough to open a new business in this area and I support every single one I can here in our neighborhood but for the love of god no more pizza places! There are Soooo many here. We are growing so much and in dire need of good food that it not pizza. There are over a dozen separate pizza places in West Seattle. I would love to see more variety and for new businesses coming in to branch out a little. Yet, I wish you luck!

    Comment by Mrs T — 12:41 am August 23, 2014 #

  24. Thank you for your support of local businesses. Pizza seems to be popular, though… of the four restaurant closures we have reported in the past few months (Redline, La Romanza, Terrible Beauty, Beni Hoshi), none were pizza places. Of which we have 21!
    .
    Zeeks (WSB sponsor), Zaw, Talarico’s, Spiro’s, Slices, Red Star (losing location to eye-clinic project, don’t know if they’ve found someplace new), Pizzeria 22, Pizza Hut, Pegasus, Papa Murphy’s, Papa John’s, Pagliacci, Olympia, Luciano’s, Giannoni’s, Domino’s, Credo, Christo’s, A Pizza Mart, Amante (co-housed with Bamboo). Abbondanza (to be replaced by Peel & Press) ***just WS, not counting WC**
    .
    All with their own style. (Did I miss anyone? Many other restaurants of course offer pizza … I’m just counting those with pizza as a focus.)

    Comment by WSB — 1:08 am August 23, 2014 #

  25. We’ve lived in the Gatewood neighborhood for 6 years. We have never been to Abbondanza. We have had a Zeeks pizza *once*. Outside of that, we have never eaten a store bought pizza in west Seattle.

    I wish all small business owners well. I think another pizza shop in this location is destined to fail quickly. I hope daustin proves me wrong.

    But sorry, not only do I not want Zeeks, Domino’s, or “Zaw, Talarico’s, Spiro’s, Slices, Red Star (losing location to eye-clinic project, don’t know if they’ve found someplace new), Pizzeria 22, Pizza Hut, Pegasus, Papa Murphy’s, Papa John’s, Pagliacci, Olympia, Luciano’s, Giannoni’s, Domino’s, Credo, Christo’s, A Pizza Mart, Amante (co-housed with Bamboo).” I just don’t want any more pizza at all. Of any kind.

    I wish I had something more supportive to say. I like the people in our neighborhood, I wish them to thrive – I always shop at Thriftway even though it is more expensive, because Thriftway is a great neighbor. On the other hand it’s the only supermarket in the neighborhood, there are not other supermarkets on all four corners of the street. There is pizza on all four corners of the street.

    dustin, perhaps there is still time to rethink your restaurant strategy? Are you sure pizza is your best choice?

    (I actually honestly hate posting this. I wish my neighbors to thrive and be happy.)

    Comment by WSobserver — 1:29 am August 23, 2014 #

  26. As frequent customers, we’re sad to hear about the demise of Abbondanza, but glad to hear it’s being resurrected in a new form. We look forward to eating Peel & Press soon!

    Comment by OP — 8:39 am August 23, 2014 #

  27. Would love to see a gluten free option. It can be done. Please know that salads and appetizers are not a meal for us GF folks and we are tired of our limited pizza options! Also, welcome!!

    Comment by imcoveredinbees — 8:47 am August 23, 2014 #

  28. Please please please keep the pasta with Amatriciana sauce! That is my favorite thing on the menus. In fact that is the ONLY thing I ever have ordered there.

    Comment by D Del Rio — 9:02 am August 23, 2014 #

  29. A couple of additions to the WS pizza list: Bakery Nouveau (not their main focus but William Leaman’s high standard definitely comes through in their pizza offerings) and Quadrato.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 9:30 am August 23, 2014 #

  30. WSB: quadratto!

    Comment by redblack — 9:47 am August 23, 2014 #

  31. I was just listing places with pizza as their focus. Certainly pizza is available many more places, and Bakery Nouveau and Quadrato (same ownership as Pizzeria 22) came to mind. I understand Phoenecia on Alki makes gourmet-ish pizzas too.

    Comment by WSB — 11:12 am August 23, 2014 #

  32. D Del Rio
    -
    You are in luck! The Arrabiata (spicy tomato) is my personal favorite on the pasta menu. Tossed it with some linguine and topped with sausage or chicken……. yes please. Even if the Amatriciana isn’t listed on the menu (still formatting the look) I can still make it for you. Just let me know. It uses the Arrabiata as the base and we will take it from there!
    -
    For those concerned about this being a pizzeria I hope to win you over with interesting pies (thin roasted potato, rosemary cream sauce, roasted garlic and spinach) or some of the other items off the menu. Abbondanza has been a pizzeria for over 14 years. I too would like to see some other styles of food move into WS but this one has been around a while and I would like to see it stay. Over time I am sure the menu will diversify and I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can meet those needs. I am excited to announce that I have recently signed up an amazing up and coming pastry chef to build a fantastic desert menu. Even if you had dinner somewhere else you can stop by and get a great desert and wine/cocktail pairing to end your night.
    -
    If you would like to provide any direct feedback on what you want to see you can find us on Facebook and send me a message. I will also be looking for your suggestions on your favorite local beers. I will be putting the 6 taps up for a vote. 1 cider for my gluten free friends and 5 local beers. All input is welcome.
    Thanks,
    Dan

    Comment by daustin — 1:23 pm August 23, 2014 #

  33. Did you say pastry chef? I’ll be there!

    Comment by stb — 8:42 pm August 23, 2014 #

  34. daustin: i am not on the book of the face, but i do like beer. any other way i can vote for harmon’s puget sound porter?

    Comment by redblack — 6:54 am August 24, 2014 #

  35. Would LOVE to come in the evening to have a cappuccino and dessert. I haven’t been able to find a traditional Italian cheesecake, made with ricotta and orange zest–not too sweet. I put a vote in for that!

    Comment by LR — 5:11 pm August 24, 2014 #

  36. Howzabout a nice three cheese baked ziti?

    Comment by Thomas M. — 6:21 pm August 24, 2014 #

  37. redblack- vote accepted!
    -
    LR- I will pass the cheesecake idea over to my pastry chef. I can assure you I have had several versions of his cheesecakes and they are all stellar. I might be able to pull off stovetop espresso but pulled shot are banned due to the shop next door. My lease won’t let me do it :-(
    -
    Baked pastas will be part of our rotating specials. Stuffed shells, Mediterranean tortellini, baked ravioli and I bet a ziti would sneak its way in as well.

    Comment by Daustin — 11:02 pm August 24, 2014 #

  38. I wasn’t thrilled to hear that yet another pizza place was going in, but if you can offer items beyond that, I’m willing to give it a try as long as we’re talking fresh ingredients and not commercial and frozen pastas and canned sauces like many restaurants use. I love the idea of dessert and cocktails.

    Comment by Ray West — 6:44 am August 25, 2014 #

  39. A pizza place literally murdered my entire family when I was a child so you can understand how upset I get when a new one opens up in my neighborhood.
    .
    No seriously, good luck with this new venture. We live very close by and the fact that you will offer family friendly hours of operation is really helpful for us!

    Comment by Brian — 7:24 am August 25, 2014 #

  40. Tired of “yet another friggin’ pizza place?” Open your own GD place then! EVERY SINGLE TIME someone opens a restaurant in W. Seattle, half the comments are from people who think we have too many pizza places, or Mexican restaurants, or too many Asian restaurants, too high-end!, too low-brow!, not kid friendly!, too many kids!, or not enough vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options (wonder what the next fad will be? Apologies to those FEW who actually ARE gluten intolerant).
    Wrong kind of restaurantsa opening for your tastes? Well then, stick YOUR neck out, put YOUR money on the line and open your own damned place, but your constant whining over how West Seattle would FINALLY achieve perfection if ONLY it catered solely to YOUR needs is pathetic and frankly, entirely ineffective.
    I’m guessing a lot of you are in the “they should have pulled the bridges up as soon as I moved here” camp as well.
    Get over yourselves.

    Comment by dawsonct — 10:36 am August 25, 2014 #

  41. I love cocktails; Mr. Picky loves pizza—we’ll be there!

    Comment by Ms. Picky — 10:51 am August 25, 2014 #

  42. Said more calmly, it would seem that the lack of pizza places closing (as we noted upthread, or is it downthread) speaks for itself. I would also note that discussions on general topics such as “why do we have so many …” “why do we have so few …” “why does everybody gripe about …” are certainly fodder for the WSB Forums, where you can open a discussion any time on just about anything without waiting for a news story to which you can attach your topic of interest – http://westseattleblog.com/forum … Job and yard-sale listings too! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:09 am August 25, 2014 #

  43. I will be there. Never too many options! Have you tried the unique “sauceless” type pizza at the newer joint down at the Yen Wor (sp?)? Good stuff, but I LOVE a good cheesy heavy tomato based pizz\a, calzone or casserole. Bring it on. I will show up, especially if there is a baked ziti!

    See ya there, ya animals.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 6:13 pm August 25, 2014 #

  44. Thank you dawsonct…my thoughts exactly.

    Comment by Roddy — 11:55 pm August 26, 2014 #

  45. Yikes, well said ‘dawsonct’,we wish you luck dustin, and look forward to trying out your new place! Big big fan if Pizzeria 22 up this way (and btw to add to the pizza is popular in WS commentary, they just expanded into the space next door due to needing more seating, just sayin’ :)!

    My only constructive comment would also be the name, my initial thought when I read the name was it was a coffee shop. Maybe incorporate an image of food & cocktails into your logo and it will quickly become our new norm.

    Good luck!

    Comment by Kristen — 7:05 am August 27, 2014 #

  46. yes! its not a nail salon or an insurance office and let’s be honest…Zeek’s pizza is pedestrian. happy to see west seattle getting a much needed neighborhood joint with a little touch of class.

    Comment by newesty — 10:48 am August 27, 2014 #

  47. Awesome! Live just up the street and excited to try a new spot. I don’t think you can ever have enough pizza spots. The of pizza joints that are up and running in the neighborhood speak for themselves, there’s obviously enough demand for the supply. Pizza is always popular, and folks will flock to a location that gives them just the right atmosphere and taste. Welcome to the hood!

    Comment by ML — 10:14 am August 29, 2014 #

  48. I would (and often do! ) eat Pizza every day. There cannot be too much pizza! We do takeout. One thing I really loved about Abbandonza was the great prices on pizza pies. Having them and Red Star close at the same time is a total bummer. At least there is still Giannoni’s and Prolatariat. Zeeks is a bit too expensive.

    Comment by Gabby — 10:50 pm September 1, 2014 #

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