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Tat's Deli in Pioneer Square

Tat's Deli slings legit East Coast cheesesteaks in Seattle

On the East Coast (and yes, plenty of other parts of the country too), delis are often institutions, part of the very fabric of a city.

"There's Jewish delis, there's standard East Coast cheesesteak shops, there's mom-and-pop sub shops, or hoagie shops they call them there. So, there's tons of different deli experiences there," explained Brian Tatman, a native of the Philadelphia-area and owner of Tat's Delicatessen.

At Tat's Delicatessen, they're bringing a taste of the East to the Pacific Northwest.

"We're an East Coast Deli. We try to strive to match that East Coast feel in both product and atmosphere. We provide all of our products with a friendly smile," said Tatman.

Located in the heart of Pioneer Square, Tat's has been a favorite of hungry Seattleites since it opened back in 2004.

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"We just love Pioneer Square. It's got a really good mix of folks that work down here and tourists coming through. It's got the history. It's got a little bit of grit, kind of like Philly down here," said Tatman.

The menu features a combination of scratch-made deli classics from all over the country. There's plenty of variety with some 25 hot subs and hoagies to choose from.

"The idea with the menu is we wanted to offer a variety so folks could come in every day," explained Tatman. "It pretty much runs the gauntlet. You can get chicken parm, hot beef sandwiches, which is like our version of the French dip. All of our roast beef and Turkey is done and smoked in-house. So, everything is quality."

"Things taste better when you make them at home. In the industry we say 'housemade,' but everything here is homemade. Our chilis, our soups, our sauces, our ranch dressing. Everything that we can make here from scratch, we do."

Of course, over the years, a couple sandwiches have become Tat's signatures, like the Tat'strami, made with house pastrami, melted Swiss, Russian dressing and coleslaw, and, fittingly, the Philly cheesesteak.

"Most people would say to make a good Philly cheesesteak, you've got to have the bread. So, we found a good local baker here and they produce all the bread for us. That was really the key to me starting the business. When I found the bread, I knew we were on the right track," said Tatman. "The rest of it is pretty simple. Good steak, onions, quality ingredients and then a little bit of cheese whiz on there if you prefer it."

Back in Philadelphia, ordering a cheesesteak often requires very specific verbiage.

"You'll hear folks say 'I'll take one wit whiz,' which means with grilled onions and cheese whiz. Or 'wit provolone.' 'Wit out' would be without onions," explained Tatman.

While the team at Tat's is trained on traditional cheesesteak terminology, using it is certainly not a requirement. Folks can order a cheesesteak however and with whatever they'd like.

"We will put cheese whiz, we'll put mustard on your cheesesteak, pickles, whatever you'd like. Everybody likes it their own way and so we're here to please you in however you'd like your sandwich made."