Washington Beer: Super Deli Mart
written and photographed by Jackie Dodd
If there is a place that exemplifies “hidden gem” more than Super Deli, I haven’t found it. From the outside it looks so much like any quick mart, any other convenience-store-that-no-longer-sells-gas, that you might drive by without knowing what it really is.
If you did, you’d miss the sixteen taps of outstanding beer, the simple but delicious sandwiches and shelf after shelf of hard-to-find bottles of beer. You’d drive right past a community gathering spot of people from all walks of life, all ages and backgrounds, watching the game and sipping their beverage of choice. You’d never know that Brian Park, the impossibly dedicated owner, would be behind those simple walls pouring beer for his regular customers.
This isn’t a place to go if you’re looking for frills—there aren’t any. There doesn’t need to be. Super Deli Mart is as unpretentious as it gets. It’s cups of ramen and bottles of Gatorade next to cellared bottles of barrel-aged wild fermented ales. It’s avocado spread on rye with Havarti next to Slim Jims and Diet Cokes.
Park is a beer drinker, but that’s not why he searches high and low for the beer he stocks. It’s about community and how beer brings people together. Last summer, when he was asked to collaborate with Schooner Exact for a summer IPA, the name he chose for his first (of many) collaborations spoke volumes—Kizuna, the Chinese symbol for bond or relationship. He may have a head for business, but he has a heart for community.
No matter the topic, conversation with Park always finds a way back to his desire to build a community and his love for people. The large and well-loved summer festival he puts on every July, with Korean food, beer and live music? It’s a benefit to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. He was inspired to donate to the cause when he discovered he has a few customers who have to spend a heartbreaking amount of time there. His prices are lower than most tap rooms and bottle shops because he wants people to come in and feel like they got a good deal, or as he puts it, “More beer happiness without breaking the wallet.” It’s hard to argue with that—after all, happiness and beer are great places to start when trying to build a community inside a small shop in Seattle.
9051 35th Ave. SW