(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.