Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg of Delancey, which opens August 12 at 5pm.
We don't do restaurant reviews or restaurant chatter here at The Kitchn. We focus on the ways that home cooking can transform your home into an even more nourishing space. But what happens if your passion for food overflows? What if you want to make your table bigger — big enough to feed a neighborhood?
That's what happened to Molly of Orangette and her husband, Brandon. They extended their kitchen table into one big enough to fill a restaurant called Delancey, which is opening tonight. And we have just a little peek for you.
Many of you know of Molly through her blog, Orangette, which is a lovely compendium of recipes, essays, and narrative. Molly extended her writing into a book earlier this year; we reviewed A Homemade Life here.
Brandon Pettit, Molly's husband, is also an avid cook and great lover of good food. He's particularly passionate about pizza, especially the great pizza found in New York City. They both weren't happy with the pizza they could find in Seattle, and they also loved the experience of feeding their friends. So they took the ultimate leap and decided to open a restaurant.
I visited Seattle about a month and a half ago, while Delancey was still very much in progress. It was already a lovely, cozy spot snuggled into the Ballard neighborhood, next door to an excellent bakery and surrounded by small, comfortable homes. But opening a restaurant is very different from serving people in your home, of course, and the dust was still flying at Delancey.
When I visited, Molly and Brandon were warm and welcoming, and they took a great deal of pleasure in showing the details of this restaurant they had literally handcrafted from the ground up. It was beautiful, but you could tell the process had been intense! They were waiting for a refrigerator repairman (he has since come) and their final health department inspection (they've since passed).
There was a combination of exhaustion, pride, nervous energy, and overwhelming excitement in the air — everything I would imagine a passionate cook feeling at the prospect of opening her kitchen to strangers. But everything looked amazing and beautiful; I wished that I could have stayed in Seattle a month longer to be around when Delancey officially opened!
I was also very impressed by the design of the restaurant, and I came away with a few details that may be interesting to home cooks.
The restaurant's interior is a mix of handmade, vintage, and industrial fittings. Brandon scavenged local thrift stores for midcentury modern pieces, like the host's station pictured above, and he bought vintage chairs from a local bowling alley going out of business. He also taught himself how to pour concrete, and poured all of the concrete tops for the tables and bar. The metal frames were made by a local craftsman.
The overall design for Delancey was done by a young design firm called tbD, and they did really beautiful work. One of the primary things I loved about the interior of the restaurant was the lighting. They took old glass jars, like pickle jars and cider jugs, and had them converted to hanging lights. Brandon said this was far less expensive than buying similar fittings new.
But the real centerpiece of Delancey isn't the beautiful wood bar, or the concrete tabletops and polished concrete floor, or the Tolix stools at the bar. It's the pizza oven.
Brandon ordered this professional pizza oven, along with a few days of a professional oven builder's time, and he helped build it piece by piece. The tiles that cover it are from Heath Ceramics, painstakingly collected from a mixture of first and seconds sales over some months. (Heath Ceramics is in Sausalito, and their outlet is a great resource.) The final effect is warm, understated, and yet completely gorgeous. What baker wouldn't love to their hands on an oven like that?
Brandon showed me where the firewood lives under the oven, although only a single day's wood is brought in at a time. So many bugs live in firewood that it wouldn't be very sanitary to bring in more than what can be used in a day. (Think about that next time you see a restaurant with all their firewood stacked up decoratively!)
The menu was nearly finalized while I was there, too, and Molly shared her plans for making rustic cakes and cookies for dessert, along with wood-fired pans of fruit. Their opening menu also includes a raspberry yogurt popsicle, served in a little glass jar. They are doing fresh, locally-sourced salads, too, and of course wood-fired pizzas with Brandon's very particular, very special pizza dough recipe. We wish we could all be there for opening night; I know I'll be sneaking home inspiration from their menu!
Good luck to Molly and Brandon, and thank you so much for giving us a little peek into Delancey. It's inspiring to see the passion for cooking and hospitality that can overflow into the enormous, backbreaking enterprise that is opening a restaurant, and we all hope that you are richly rewarded for it.
• In Seattle? Visit Delancey. They open tonight, August 12, at 5pm!
• Design: tbD
• Tile: Heath Ceramics Modern Basics in Riverbed
• The bar: Free standing piece of blackened natural steel clad with walnut panels and natural Steel strips
• Glass lighting: Custom fabricated from Weck and other jars.
• Red hanging lamps: Salvaged vintage, freshly stripped and powdercoated.
• Host station and chairs: Vintage
• Tables: Poured concrete with metal frames. The design firm estimates that pouring the concrete themselves saved 80% in the final cost.
Related: Video from Molly and Brandon of Orangette and Delancey: Two Tips For Making Great Pizza at Home
(Images: Faith Durand. Menu image: Orangette)