Go Eat! Salumi

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By Julien Perry

Behind most good meals is a good family. Case in point, Armandino Batali: father of celebrity chef Mario Batali and a man many consider the Grand Poobah of artisan cured meats.

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"The vision I had was this salumeria idea in Italy where it's a long narrow meat market in an area where you can do something for society by upgrading the local facilities."

That's exactly what Armandino and his wife set out to do after he retired from his role as Process Control Engineer at Boeing.

"I retired in 1996. I went back to New York and worked with Mario for awhile in his restaurants. I went to cooking school back there."

As soon as he returned to Seattle, the couple took over a small narrow space in Pioneer Square and named it Salumi -- a neighborhood deli that quickly turned into a culinary destination.

"Our intent was to do homemade food, Italian food that we made. We made our own sausage, made our own pasta -- everything was truly traditional old Italian."

They're known for they're killer hot and cold sandwiches -- a list that's grown from the original two (which are still best sellers today).

"One was porchetta and one was meatball. They've stood the test of time."

Salumi is a block away from the old Merlino's - Seattle's first Italian import store owned by Armandino's grandfather Angelo. The tiny storefront is defined by the longest lunchtime line in Seattle. but that wasn't always the case.

"The first day I went outside and was drumming up business, giving out menus and two or three people came in and it just took off."

Armandino's daughter, Gina, and son-in-law now run Salumi. But dad's still responsible for the hand-crafting and carefully controlled aging process of the meats. They're all responsible for the intensely personal service.

"And that's what a food business has to be. We have to take care of people. We've just tried to carry that forward from the (store) front to the back. It's a family business."

For more information:

http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/

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