It all began with a chowder competition. Shortly after Larry Mellum and his business partner opened Charlestown Street Cafe, pretty much everyone in the kitchen was convinced they had the ultimate chowder recipe. So they decided to put each version to the test. Every Friday, they let customers sample a different chowder recipe and gave them the final say in which one made it to the menu. The smooth-as-silk winner––a creation of one of the kitchen's line cooks––became so popular, people from all across Seattle would come to wait in line just for a taste. Inspired, the restaurant decided to take the recipe on the road, entering (and winning) chowder competitions up and down the West Coast. But the real victory happened 3,500 miles away in Newport, Road Island. There, Mellum and company's chowder took home the grand prize at the Great Chowder Cook Off––the first non-New England contender to do so in the competition's 20-year history. After taking home the grand prize three years in a row, and being inducted into the chowder hall-of-fame, the recipe officially retired from competition and now spends the majority of its time watching golf. When it's not in the kitchen, that is. Today at Pike Place Chowder, guests can taste that award-winning chowder––made using freshly picked vegetables and herbs from Pike Place Market––or sample one of seven other chowders, including a smoked salmon chowder, seared scallop chowder, and a vegan chowder. For those who hit their chowder limit, there's also dungeness crab rolls flavored with top-secret seasonings and fresh salads topped with Oregon Bay shrimp, while a second location in Pacific Place Center has earned a following for its made-to-order fish 'n chips, made with either Pacific cod or wild salmon.
At first glance, the kitchen of Trophy Cupcakes and Party could be taken for that of a gourmet restaurant. Pure Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa from France line the shelves, and local sweet-cream butter, free-range eggs, and fresh fruit fill the fridge. These are the ingredients Jennifer Shea uses to craft her daily rotating cupcake flavors, from chocolate nutella to gluten-free red velvet. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to three Seattle boutiques, which have garnered press attention to rival that of the city's finest eateries. Martha Stewart gushed about Jennifer's innovative and widely varied flavors, and Seattle magazine picked six Trophy creations for its 2008 list of the city's 95 best desserts.
To complement their cupcakes, Trophy Cupcakes stocks a curated selection of party supplies. A cocktail-style party room in Wallingford Center, which can accommodate up to 30 guests, is available to rent for birthday parties, baby showers, and superhero business meetings.
There’s no penance for confessing a passion for cheesecake at The Confectional, an adorable artisan bakery on the main drag in the bustling Pike Place Market. The rich, not-too-sweet treat is the focus of the shop, where imaginative bakers whip up sensational seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, caramel, apple pie and triple berry. Cocoa fans cheer options like Quadruple Chocolate, and all the individual confections are built on a sturdy foundation crafted from special biscuits sourced from Spain and finished with a sweetened sour cream flourish. The sugar-free New York-style cheesecake is just one chapter of this sweets success story, with other delights like bite-size cheesecake truffles made with Guittard chocolate available for anyone in search of a small treat. In-the-know locals can avoid the Pike Place crowds and swing by one of The Confectional’s three other stylish locations spread throughout Seattle.
In an interview in the Stranger's Chow Bio, 3.14 Bakery owner Jessica Haury admits to being a math geek, which is why she pulled in that famous irrational number to represent her bakery's specialty: pie. Haury sees baking as therapeutic, asking "Who can feel bad when there's a homemade pie in the house?" With that in mind, she sells each freshly baked morsel hoping it can bring some good to someone’s day. The bakery’s seasonal menu captures the bounty of nature throughout the year with the flavors of cherry, rhubarb, or apple in the personal pies, pie pops, and single slices. The bakery doesn't stop at perfecting pie, the team also rolls cake balls and bakes seven-layer bars, cookies, and gooey cinnamon rolls perfect for sticking to coworkers' foreheads. Diners who wish to enjoy their goodies onsite can settle into a chair with a fork and a steamy cup of coffee on the side.
From the vantage point of Sugar Rush Baking Company's lengthy dessert and coffee bar, visitors can catch a glimpse of the busy kitchen staff as they craft cakes, cookies, scones, and brownies throughout the day. This bakery team works with a dedication to homestyle techniques, decorating custom-layered cakes by hand and accentuating them with frosting flowers plucked fresh from the candy garden. The shop specializes in miniature cupcakes, and with more than two dozen signature flavors including chocolate cake with mint-buttercream frosting, the team has been forced to create an entire separate menu for the tiny candle cushions.