West Seattle food: Pellegrini Italian Market now open in The Junction

(Customers Shelly and Casey, sitting at the window in Pellegrini Italian Market)

By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

For months, people have been asking what’s going on at the former La Romanza Bistro site at 4521 California SW in The Junction – especially once mosaic tile started to cover the facade.

Finally a sign went up. And then, Pellegrini Italian Market opened for business quietly during the recent West Seattle Summer Fest, just in time to take advantage of the additional pedestrian traffic traveling casually along California Avenue.

The venture is brought to you by the Pellegrini family, proprietors of Beach Drive restaurant La Rustica. Aimee Pellegrini – “official daughter,” as well as the marketing arm of the family’s business operations – says the Pellegrinis took into consideration the changing face of the neighborhood when deciding on their concept for the space.

“We thought, ‘What’s missing in West Seattle? Well, there’s not really an Italian market in West Seattle,’ explains Pellegrini.

“We thought this would be a really good fit for the changing neighborhood.”

Because the family wanted to be open in time for Summer Fest, Pellegrini Italian Market is still adding offerings to its line-up, but visitors already have a wealth of options available to them.

“Our freezer is stocked with lasagna, manicotti, and cannellini,” details Pellegrini of her shop’s offerings. “We have sauces ready to go. We have tiramisu and fresh pasta, We bake all of our own bread and baguettes. We have sliced meats and cheeses.”

Those frozen Italian entrees, by the way, are the “exact same” as offered at La Rustica.

Pellegrini is especially proud of the bakery operations the market has brought to the junction, as they feature the talents of “amazing baker” and matriarch of the Pellegrini family, Janie Pellegrini. The market has an attractive display case of pastries, any of which might go quite nicely with its proprietary-blend coffee for early-morning visitors to midday snackers.

But it’s another item, one that is neither a proven winner at La Rustica, nor a credit to the family’s star baker, that Aimee Pellegrini thinks will win big with Junction audiences.

“I think one of our shining stars is the pizza sandwich,” says Pellegrini. “It’s a seven-inch pizza with sandwich fillings. It’s so good.”

No Italian market would be complete, though, without its vino. Pellegrini offers wine by the glass or carafe, as well as bottles, which can either be taken home or imbibed in the store, potentially enjoyed from a stool near the storefront windows that open onto California Avenue for a semi alfresco experience.

“It’s the first place in West Seattle that has something for everybody,” says customer Casey Rasmussen, who has already established herself as a repeat customer at Pellegrini. “They have the bread, the baked goods, the jam, salami, and they have pizza. You can buy some stuff and leave, or you can stay and have a drink. Normally, all those things are separated, but here they’ve nailed it. People are going to come here because they can get all this variety in one place.”

Pellegrini currently is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plans to stay open later in the day as the business expands.

48 Replies to "West Seattle food: Pellegrini Italian Market now open in The Junction"

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man July 21, 2015 (12:43 pm)

    Finally, some local originality instead of cookie-cutter chain takeover in the “changing” neighborhood!

    I’m not even a huge fan of Italian cuisine, but I will most certainly be checking this place out.

    Congrats and good luck!

  • Mike P July 21, 2015 (12:48 pm)

    I’ve already been a few times. Baked goods and coffee are great! Looking forward to trying the pizza sandwich. Welcome back to the Junction Pellegrinis!

  • m July 21, 2015 (12:56 pm)

    My toddler son (picky eater) LOVES their fresh pasta tossed with a little butter.

    Their bread putting is lovely as well.

  • Greystreet July 21, 2015 (1:09 pm)

    It has a definite feel of Italian markets I’m used to on the east coast, stopped in during the street fair, it was a delightful atmosphere and the food looked fantastic!

  • D Del Rio July 21, 2015 (1:11 pm)

    I agree with Chuck & Sally! Can’t wait to try it. I hope it is as good as it sounds!

  • pupsarebest July 21, 2015 (1:21 pm)

    What a great concept!
    The tile mosaic is very beautiful!
    Best of luck in your new endeavor, we’ll be in soon. :)

  • westseattledood July 21, 2015 (1:52 pm)

    Limoncella tiramisu.

    Nuf said.

  • RB July 21, 2015 (2:04 pm)

    no mention of gelato? Whaaaat?

  • Kim July 21, 2015 (2:07 pm)

    Looks fantastic, and when we strolled by on Sunday (during the farmer’s market), it was absolutely packed. I hope it stays that way!

  • Sandy July 21, 2015 (2:12 pm)

    Such a great concept. Have been twice and plan many more visits. Haven’t tried the pizza sandwich yet, but the pizza by the inch is great :)

  • saucymama July 21, 2015 (2:18 pm)

    The Cannolos are AMAZING.

  • Laura July 21, 2015 (2:23 pm)

    I’m so excited! Need to check this out ASAP!

  • Paul July 21, 2015 (2:51 pm)

    Super awesome place. We visited on Sunday! I am hoping that they start to do fresh (frozen) ravioli and manicotti.

  • colleen July 21, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    What an attractive looking bakery case! I shall be stopping by there tomorrow.

  • squareeyes July 21, 2015 (3:28 pm)

    If your pastry case includes cornetti (unfilled) my other half will certainly be stopping by.

  • Sue July 21, 2015 (3:29 pm)

    Is this mostly a take-out place? Or can one get a sit-down meal here? Not really clear.
    Also, they *really* need to be open past 5, even if it’s just 6pm. Anybody who works a regular 9-5 job can never get in during the Tuesday – Friday hours to get dinner.

  • Sam July 21, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    Bella famiglia & ristorante! Thank you for moving in down the street. I look forward to some calico, vino and a few cannoli. Buon fortuna!!

  • pigeonmom July 21, 2015 (3:37 pm)

    Dang, why did I have to move to Olympia?!

  • G July 21, 2015 (3:51 pm)

    Looks interesting. I’ll have to check it out when I’m in town on my WS farewell tour in August.

  • Wsgal July 21, 2015 (4:00 pm)

    Paul- they had manicotti on Friday. Sue- I’m the comments the owner said they are planning to expand their hours as soon as they work out the grand opening kinks.

  • mp July 21, 2015 (4:05 pm)

    hmm… is the freezer full of frozen entrees they sell for you to buy, take home and heat up? Or is it full of frozen pasta they intend to thaw out and use to feed you when you go in for dinner? Not the same as fresh made. :(

  • sam-c July 21, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    We tried them out during Summer Fest. We tried mostly sweet treats. They were all very tasty! Cute place.
    Sue, you order and pay at the counter, and there are tables to sit and enjoy food.

  • DW July 21, 2015 (4:25 pm)

    Congrats Aimee!!!

  • onion July 21, 2015 (4:28 pm)

    They have other sandwich options as well (in addition to the pizza sandwich) as I recall. Everything looks very mouth watering and can be for eat-in or take-out (although I believe the frozen items are intended for takeout). The sandwich prices are a bit on the high side, if I recall from my quick browse during the street fair, but not unreasonable for quality. Lots and lots of interesting goodies and a welcome option for West Seattle casual dining.

  • Smitty July 21, 2015 (4:53 pm)

    Home run!

    Might stop by for a Peroni and Pizza tonight!

  • Lindsey July 21, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    We popped in to just take a peek during the Street Fair and instead stayed and had some pizza (sold by the inch, I think $1.25 for a 1×6 piece, so then $2.50 for 2×6, though I think pricing varies on kind of pizza) and a glass of wine. It is not only adorable, but as expected, the food was good and the staff was just as excited and friendly and you would think they should be. Meat case looks awesome too.

    MP, I believe the frozen items are to take home and heat up. While I haven’t tried them, they looked homemade and yummy even while frozen and were not overpriced, in my opinion, at around $10 a pan. They had other items fresh made available for in cafe eating, like the pizza I mention above, salad, & sandwiches.

    I’m looking forward to seeing them thrive and you can bet I’ll become a regular.

  • ACG July 21, 2015 (5:39 pm)

    Yum…. We are so there!

  • Anne July 21, 2015 (5:44 pm)

    Hey- if your in the Junction- stop by & check this sweet place out. Frozen pasta dishes to take home & bake yourself- AWESOME pastries- pizza- panninis – wine espresso . Fun addition to WS Junction!
    FYI- Pasta & bread made fresh daily!

  • Dan July 21, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    Was there today before closing. Did take out of the meal balls and some sauce. Great stuff. Problem is the hours. If they could move the morning open later and stay open until 6p, I’d predict more take home for dinner business. Personally I won’t be able to get there before 5p very often. Can’t wait to try items from the dessert case next time!

  • My two cents ,,,, July 21, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    I hope that this concept sticks… After the previous two iterations from the same ownership group failed to grab hold of the market.

    From the description, it sounds like it is Husky Deli meets Bakery Nouveau ….

    Agree with the other comments with respect to the hours of operation… Could be challenging for people on the way home to pick something up on their way home.

  • Junction walker July 21, 2015 (7:04 pm)

    This has been my dream for the Junction! The space is just gorgeous- very European. When I stopped by for a peek there were three generations working!

  • Boots July 21, 2015 (8:06 pm)

    Stopped in a couple of days ago–wow! Haven’t had a good cannoli since living in Baltimore and can’t wait to bring home a treat. An exciting addition to West Seattle.

  • foodie July 21, 2015 (8:49 pm)

    Good luck. Hope West Seattle supports this market and all of the Junction shops.

  • Ssf July 21, 2015 (10:22 pm)

    Super excited to try it out. Though the hours totally don’t work, M-F when I would stop and grab something for dinner. Please let us know when the hours change.

  • Perry July 21, 2015 (10:30 pm)

    Stopped by on Saturday, bought out three of their pastry trays and picked up a ton of fresh bread for a party I was giving. Not a morsel was left! Big hit, great baked goods, loved the bread. Super excited to have them open, looking forward to extended hours so I can pickup after work for a easy dinner time meal or side.

  • Person July 21, 2015 (11:11 pm)

    Neat place! I tried to go there and Bin 41 today at 6:30. Both closed :(

  • Pibal July 22, 2015 (12:13 am)

    Yay. I don’t have to drive to Fircrest for Viafore’s as often.

    Now if they just would add some Italian made peach tea…

  • Curious... July 22, 2015 (12:18 am)

    This might be a silly thought, but I wonder if they’ll accept La Rustica gift cards being the same owners and all. We received a pair as a gift, but always felt it was too fancy for us. This new joint seems more like us. Think it’s worth an ask?

  • PJK July 22, 2015 (7:26 am)

    Looking forward to trying it but since I work full time, it will be a week end only place for me – 8am-5pm I’m either at work or still commuting! Disappointed in early closing time and late opening!

  • Giulio Jr. July 22, 2015 (10:16 am)

    Thank you all for the supportive words – they are really appreciated! It’s a privilege to serve West Seattle. We hear you about the hours of operation and we’ll be staying open later in the coming months. Thank you!!

  • Kadoo July 22, 2015 (7:52 pm)

    This place is adorable! Visited today and had frittata and took home a pecan tart, and spied other things I want to try. Comfortable place to sit and talk. The window seating is brilliant. I spotted an old friend on the sidewalk and was able to carry on a conversation. Good way to draw in customers, too. I wish the family every success!

  • BT July 22, 2015 (11:33 pm)

    I am so excited that the same family came back and opened the great Italian place. If you have great wine and food to go with that, why close at 5? Doesn’t the saying “It’s 5pm somewhere” remind anything? :) If I can’t wind down after work, grab some wine and a bite what is the purpose? Majority of the people work during your open hours which doesn’t give chance to even try your food. Sad :(

  • miws July 23, 2015 (7:40 am)

    Remember, everyone, as noted in the article, and in Giulio Jr.’s comment, they plan on staying open later in coming months.


    Even though the Family has/has had other businesses, I can imagine it takes some time to build each individual new one into something profitable and successful, and I suspect not trying to jump in too deep at first is the wise way to go.



  • goodgraces July 23, 2015 (11:36 am)

    We stopped in today, with mixed results.
    The good:
    * Beautiful seating windows opening to the street
    * Truly delectable Italian sausage & meatballs
    * Cold water with ice & lemon, nice silverware & napkins, clean tables
    * Lovely staff
    * Reasonable pricing for fresh pasta
    The meh:
    * Prepared food pricing seems a bit high. We purchased 8 meatballs (2/ea for a family of four and it was nearly $18. The meatballs aren’t tiny, but two apiece doesn’t make a meal. Still need basics like pasta or bread, salad, etc.

    * The cannoli. In this case, maybe years spent living in the West Village in NYC have elevated my standards unrealistically. But I found these just OK. Nothing to write home about.
    The bad:
    * The bread. Can’t claim to be an “Italian bread” expert and it’s possible I’ve grown too accustomed to Bakery Nouveau’s offerings. But this was dense, flavorless, flour-heavy, war-ration-y. Not even good when disguised with cheese or sauce.
    * The bread pudding. Ugh. Dry, uninteresting. Try Met Market’s case offering instead.
    The wha?
    * The layout. Tall basket-display things inhibit the flow around the ordering counter. People get clogged up in there and it’s super inefficient. Also, the overhead menu is installed at a dizzying angle, making for some disorienting Matrix-like viewing. They need some Feng Shui experts in there stat.

  • MAUREEN July 24, 2015 (11:40 am)


  • Molly July 26, 2015 (1:34 pm)

    The meatballs are fantastic and 3 of them makes a meal! And at $1.50/ea, that was a delicious, bargain lunch. We also had a small appetizer – I think it was called suppli, but it was a large deep-fried, egg shaped nibble with risotto, marinara and melted mozzarella inside. Very tasty. Hoping they add calamari umido to their frozen food choices. We would buy that every week!

  • Morris July 31, 2015 (9:53 am)

    I can confirm that this place is a winner. Third time is a charm. I’ve had several items and everything has been outstanding. A bit pricey, but worth it.

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