The Seattle Food Establishment: Second Annual List

The 50 most powerful players in Seattle's food scene, plus one to watch.

30. Molly Moon Neitzel
Owner, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Place on list last year: No. 32

Because: Not only did Ms. Neitzel publish an inspiring collection of recipes in Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream (Sasquatch Books, 2012), she launched a feel-good project in memory of her sister, Anna, to help families in need purchase milk. Plus, she continues to make us scream for her ice cream. Employees: Approximately 60;

29. Evan Andres
Owner, Columbia City Bakery
Place on list last year: No. 27

Because: Seattle is a competitive market for artisanal bread bakeries and yet Columbia City provides bread to 60 of the city’s best restaurants. The bakery’s retail growth has continued steadily at an increase of 10 percent—year after year—for the last several years. Andres says the cakes have been especially popular this year. New projects: Columbia City will sell its bread, pastries and those addictive pretzels at three farmers’ markets this year: Columbia City, Queen Anne and Broadway. Employees: 40;

28. Terry Halverson
Chair and CEO, Metropolitan Market
Place on list last year: No. 33

Because: The man behind the winning team knows how to make grocery shopping a pleasure, not a chore, building an ever-growing foundation of loyal fans. Many shed tears when the store on top of Queen Anne closed in July, as more than 2,400 showed up for an appreciation party. But when one door closes, another—the new store in Magnolia—opens. New projects: Introduced Belgian street-food-style pommes frites in Kirkland, Sand Point and Uptown/Queen Anne. Also testing a poke (the Hawaiian seafood salad) bar at the Magnolia store, and is hoping to roll it out to other stores as well. This year, expect the addition of a new, large soup bar and the arrival of sushi made on-site in Magnolia, with a complete remodel of that store in 2014. Employees: 700;

27. Scott Staples
Chef/owner, Restaurant Zoë, Quinn’s Pub, Uneeda Burger and Feed Company Catering
2000, with Restaurant Zoë
Place on list last year: No. 26

Because: Most know Staples as the owner of three of Seattle’s most stylish and delicious restaurants, including Restaurant Zoë, Uneeda Burger and the never-been-better Quinn’s (see page 83). But Staples also heads Feed Company Catering, which supplies tasty party food to Capitol Hill’s Sole Repair and other event spaces. New projects: Staples is searching for an event space to house Feed Company Catering. Quinn’s will open for lunch in summer, and it will also participate in the “parklet” program, opening up sidewalk seating around the city. Employees: 75;,

26. Kevin Klock
President and CEO, Talking Rain
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: The Preston-based sparkling water company redoubled its marketing efforts for its naturally flavored Sparkling Ice product, redesigning the packaging and retooling the flavors. It worked: In the two years since, revenue has grown from $10 million to more than $200 million. New projects: As one of the fastest-growing beverage companies in the U.S., Talking Rain plans to expand to Mexico and Canada in 2013. Employees: 186;

25. Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton
Owners, Marination Mobile food truck, Marination Stations
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: One of Seattle’s first food trucks, Marination’s “Big Blue” has led the mobile food trend by sending out good vibes and really delicious Korean-Hawaiian food. Now with two brick-and-mortar locations, the Marination brand is growing and thriving, and yet the quality never lags. New projects: There’s talk of boozy shave ice at Ma Kai in West Seattle! Employees: 50;

24. Linda Derschang
Owner of Bait Shop, Linda’s Tavern, Oddfellows Cafe & Bar, Smith and King’s Hardware
1994, with Linda’s Tavern
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: For nearly two decades, this stylish tastemaker has been creating the coolest places to hang out for diners and drinkers as well as her steadfast crew, many who moonlight as musicians. Her contributions to the city’s cultural and culinary landscape were recently documented in an online series called American Hipsters. New projects: Tallulah’s, a casual neighborhood restaurant (19th and Mercer), opening this fall. Employees: 160;

23. Kurt Dammeier
Founder, Sugar Mountain; CEO, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Pasta and Co., Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, Maximus-Minimus
Place on list last year: No. 14

Because: Judging by the hordes of fans taking photos in front of his Pike Place Market store, this cheese whiz has succeeded in his goal to get people excited about seeing how food is made. That mission has gone bicoastal with his hit fromagerie and 90-seat Cellar in Manhattan. Plus, a slice of all profits go to Beecher’s Flagship Foundation, which has funded outreach programs that teach kids about healthy eating. New projects: An 11,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar version of the Maximus-Minimus food truck will open in South Lake Union later this year. Employees: 240;  

22. Matt Galvin
Co-owner, Pagliacci Pizza
and Leslie Mackie

Owner/chef, Macrina Bakery
Pagliacci in 1979, and Macrina in 1993; partnering on green initiatives since 2006
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: This like-minded duo are darlings of sustainability, leading the good-for-the-earth charge on recycling and composting efforts at their respective businesses, as well as teaming up to build a LEED-certified bakery in SoDo in 2009, shared by Pagliacci, Macrina and three other businesses. New projects: Both are always experimenting with new recipes and new ways to bolster their environmental chops, including Pagliacci’s LEED-certified pizzeria in Madison Valley late last year. Employees: Pagliacci, 600 at 27 locations; Macrina, 100 at three cafés and the bread kitchen;

21. Bill Taylor, Paul Taylor and Janet Pearson
Owners, Taylor Shellfish Farms
Began farming in 1890, incorporated in 1969
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: Oyster lovers in the Northwest and around the world can thank this Shelton-based company for those briny bivalves they slurp in restaurants and bars, including their own popular retail/oyster bar space on Melrose, and retail operations in Sammish Bay and Shelton. Not only does the family-owned operation grow its own, it sells shellfish seed to farmers up and down the West Coast. Plus, it’s managed to make geoduck cool. New projects: Expansion of the seed business to serve increasing numbers of growers around the globe. Employees: 480;