My friend Leah and I used to claim that we never left the Seattle city limits. It was true – everything that we needed (good food, good drinks, cultural experiences) was within walking distances of our offices or apartments, or at the very least a quick bus ride away. That’s part of what I love the most about Seattle – most things are right at your fingertips.
Things are different once you get far enough away that you can’t see the city skyline. Venture east and you’ll find yourself in Bellevue or Kirkland, where you’re more likely to see potential cast members from The Real Housewives than a person of any color (maybe an Oompa Loompa or two). Big box stores and chain restaurants abound in “not Seattle”, as do strip malls. I stayed in Bellevue for four days last spring and my dining options were limited to the hotel restaurant, Red Robin, P.F. Chang’s and an assortment of steakhouses – and of course I was craving a bowl of pho.
And then I discovered Stopsky’s, which is located on Mercer Island, a “not Seattle” city that is connected to both Seattle and Bellevue by the I-90 bridge and a place that had never given me any reason to stop. A city that I could never afford to live in and had nothing to offer me… or so I thought. How wrong I was!
Stopsky’s is “tradition, updated” – a Jewish delicatessen serving up some of my absolute favorite brunch food in the Greater Seattle area. In fact, as I write this, I really can’t think of anywhere I like more – though I know that’s just because I’ve been looking at photos from my last visit there and my mouth is watering.
Located in an unassuming strip of restaurants, dry cleaners and an adorable book store (you’ll want to pop in if you encounter a wait), Stopsky’s is part coffee shop and bakery and part restaurant. If I were a local, I would be sure to stop here for my coffee and maybe a bagel or a rugelach or a black-and-white cookie (my fave!) But as I am a Seattleite, I make the trek over to Mercer Island for the brunch menu which features matzo ball soup or borscht, latkes benedict (the English muffin is swapped with a crispy potato latke and served with pastrami, lox or salami – don’t be a fool, get the pastrami), and ricotta blintzes that literally melt in your mouth.
Usually I support everyone at the table ordering something different so that you can all sample and share, but having been here several times, I know better than to share my latkes benedict. I’ve watched friends order the Reuben or pastrami sandwich and then look longingly at my perfectly poached eggs on top of a tall stack of pastrami and drizzled with hollandaise sauce. That’s why the blintzes are worth sharing as an appetizer – everyone gets a bite of something sweet.
So as it turns out, not everything you need can be found within a stone’s throw. I can promise that you won’t be disappointed in Stopsky’s and that it’s worth the short drive outside of the Emerald City.
Don’t want to take my word for it? Then listen to Neighbor Jamie: “The last two times I went to brunch, I got super pissed that I didn’t think of Stopsky’s.”
Don’t want to take my word for it? Watch Stopsky’s segment from Check, Please NW – the inspiration for our visit!