Category Archives: Mercer Island Businesses

Best Pizza on Mercer Island

The tip came from a Bellevue friend a few months ago. “Oh you’re in Mercer Island? I’m so jealous! My favorite pizza place just moved there!” It’s Tuscan Stone Pizza, the one that used to be on the corner of Bellevue way and NE 4th St. Now it’s parked at 2885 78th Ave SE, just west of the QFC in North Island.

Since moving to the Island, my husband and I have lamented the absence of a few things on Mercer Island: Trader Joe’s. An Indian restaurant. Great pizza. for me, this ranks up there with the opening of Freshy’s, and almost as high as the farmers’ market.

My criteria? Just the pizza. It’s good. Not to knock Moe’s or Sahara, but their pizza is good post-game pizza, perfect when volume is required. Zaw is nice, but you still gotta cook it. Tuscan Stone is the best. Call ’em from work, pick it up and eat when you get home.

It’s also fun to go into the pizza tent. The folks are quite nice, and it’s warm.

Stop by and check it out. We got the cheese and a veggie pesto. Mmmmmmm…. might see you there tomorrow.

Shop Local Mercer Island

Hope you just enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving at home and not out shopping!. It was bad enough when Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend became about shopping, but staffing shifts on Thanksgiving is pretty low.

End of rant. If you are planning to shop sometime this weekend, think about Mercer Island stores. But I’d encourage you to skip Friday and shop local on Saturday.

Island Books

This is by far the best shopping on Mercer Island, Aside from books, games and kid toys, there are also some jewelry and other craft items. I usually do a bunch of my holiday shopping here.



Terra Bella

Terra Bella has a bunch of candles and home items,

and they just opened a holiday shop next door:


Stopsky’s has a bunch of tasty food items for the foodie in your life.

As well as pastries:

And if you do go off-Island, consider where with this handy post on shopping neighborhoods near the MI.

Did I miss any? Add your favorite MI shop in the comments.

Island Books 40th Anniversary Celebration this Saturday

We have a gem of a bookstore here on the Island. Island Books has been around for 40 years, and this Saturday they’re inviting everyone over from 3 to 5 pm for pie to celebrate:

Pie + books– you really can’t go wrong.

Stopsky’s Closed til Friday

UPDATE: According to their Facebook page, Stopsky’s is now closed until Monday.

Stopsky’s opening has been quite an event. The new deli ran out of food on its opening weekend, then recovered only to face an electrical fire last weekend which has it closed until Friday at 7 am.

Stopsky’s: Now open for business, but not always accepting customers.

The reviews on Yelp suggest some opening glitches like slow food and shortages of rye bread… I suspect the pro crew at Stopsky’s will get these worked out. The couple of Yelpers who focused on the food had great things to say.

They’ve also gotten some good reviews. We’ve been in for bagels so far, which were excellent but also delivered a more slowly than we would have expected. But hey, Noah’s has been in business for years and they’re even slower. Stopsky’s at least has a shot at a decent learning curve.

Vacancies at 27th st

Hot tipper Bill:

The Great Clips haircutting shop is moving from its current location next to Roberto’s to the space next to Noah’s (the former ice cream parlor). That leaves the building of its current location on 27th with three vacancies (Great Clips, Finders and Continental Travel). That’s too bad, because the building also houses one of the Island’s only stylish retail establishments in Tatters (but that’s another subject!).

The location, from Google maps:

Lots of movement in downtown these days. I expect the downturn will end up transforming downtown.

Soft Opening of Freshy’s Fish & Chips Window

Yesterday was the “soft opening” of the fish and chips window at Freshy’s. By that I guess they meant it wasn’t advertised, and they had only cod. Eventually they’re planning to have halibut and salmon too.

Verdict was good. Tasty!

By 5:30 they had almost sold out of the 70 pounds of cod, so I’ll venture a guess that they sold out by the end of the night.
The menu:

Construction Contines Apace at New Deli

The website said the deli will open in the spring, so we’ve got less than two months to wait for (hopefully) tasty bagels while we browse Island Books.

Fish and Chips Coming to Freshy’s

Another hot tip on downtown businesses from Bill: Freshy’s finished their fish & chips take out counter.

I stopped in to Freshy’s to get more info and they confirmed that they intend to sell fried, delicious goodness for carry-out. They’re hoping to open at the beginning of May.

Dooz Done: Hot Tip Suggests Why

Dooz Hair Salon on Mercer Island has closed, or as the MI Reporter puts it, “merged” with the Bellevue location. The word merger, which in the corporate world is usually a euphemism for one company taking over another, means even less in the world of retail where one location continues to exist but another does not. In this merger, the Bellevue location continues to exist.

A hot tip from Bill via email suggests why Dooz closed down here: A casual conversation with someone involved with the shop suggests that they found Mercer Island to have too little foot traffic coupled with rent too high.

We can only hope that the new deli by Island Books gives downtown a much-needed center of gravity. There are a couple of good spots: near Noah’s and the new wine store, over at Bennett’s and Cellar 46, at Island Books today. The problem is they are separated by too many banks and real estate agents (who casually hangs out at the bank on a Saturday?) and a couple of massive parking lots, like the one at Walgreens. It’s hard to wander for a few blocks in Mercer Island like you can in Capitol Hill, or Madison Park, or even Bellevue Main Street.

Finally, Some Competition for Noah’s Bagels: Stopsky’s Deli Opening

Noah’s Bagels, which serves as a local deli and the employer of what seems to be half of MIHS, has some competition coming.

Stopsky’s Deli says it “will celebrate and serve Jewish dishes from around the world.” It’s not pulling any punches, with a head chef from Crave in Capitol Hill and a bakery master Chef from the Columbia City bakery. It just got noted in Seattle Weekly, which doesn’t happen all that often for MI businesses.

Looks like they’ll be right by Island Books. The combination bookstore-deli could be a downtown powerhouse. With the park and farmer’s market nearby this could finally give downtown a much-needed nexus.

The website says it’s opening Spring 2011– that’s now! They’ve already been active around town, donating at the most recent Giving from the Heart breakfast to benefit Mercer Island Youth & Family Services. And the Facebook page has 226 likes— that’s more friends than I have, and I already exist. There’s also a lively discussion ongoing, mostly on the subject of delicious bread.

What they have to say for themselves:
A strong creative team has come together to reinvent Jewish delicatessen in the Pacific Northwest. Overseeing the kitchen and front-of-house is Robin Leventhal. Robin was the owner/chef of the acclaimed Crave Restaurant on Capitol Hill, and was a cheftestant on Season 6-Las Vegas of Top Chef as well as a chef instructor at New England Culinary Institute. Andrew Meltzer, aka “the bread maven,” will oversee the bakery. Andrew co-founded the Columbia City Bakery where he cemented his reputation as a master of a variety of breads and other baked items. He taught at the Culinary Institute of America and is a master at braiding challah.

Owners Jeff and Lara Sanderson decided to open Stopsky’s Delicatessen to celebrate family, heritage and community through food. In a return to his roots, Jeff named the restaurant in honor of his grandfather and great uncles. In 1905, Gilbert Stopsky and his three brothers arrived in America from a Jewish village outside Kiev, Ukraine. Wanting to assimilate to pursue the “American Dream,” they changed their name to Sanderson. Stopsky’s Delicatessen celebrates the Stopsky family’s journey in America and reclaims the name with pride in this history and traditions behind it.

Another interesting fact: it’s backed by Sanderson Ventures, a new venture that looks for return in business that benefit their community and are good place to work. The founders are Jeff and Lara Sanderson, and Jeff’s an ex-Microsoftie.

Finally, Mercer Island gets its badly-needed bakery. Can’t wait to try it.