Seattle Magazine's 3rd Annual Food Establishment List: The National Impact Edition

Meet the 45 people, collectives and companies that put Seattle in the national food atlas
seattle magazine food establishment list howard schultz seattle

For the last couple of years, our annual survey of the food landscape in Seattle has ranked the individuals and organizations that make this a delicious city for eating and drinking. This year, in honor of recent break-out stars Macklemore and the Seahawks, our Food Establishment list focuses on Seattle’s impact beyond the city. Meet the 45 chefs, CEOs, innovators, bartenders, social media types, collectives and companies—marquee names and a few surprises—that put Seattle in the national (and international) food atlas.

Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks
Year established: Schultz joined Starbucks in 1982
Place on list last year: 7
Because: Starbucks’ stateside dominance of the coffee market is obvious (20,184 stores), and for many years the company has made steady inroads into international markets. The China/Asia Pacific region is the fastest-growing market, with nearly 4,000 stores and close to 11 million weekly customers. Starbucks’ 2012 acquisition of San Francisco’s La Boulange bakery resulted in a rise in food as a percentage of total sales in 2013; food sales now represent one-fifth of all revenues for the company.
New projects: Evolution Fresh juice is a growth market for Starbucks; it is available nationwide at Whole Foods and nearly all Starbucks stores, plus there are four Evolution Fresh stores in Seattle and San Francisco. The company is expanding La Boulange food distribution; the pastry program is available in more than half of the company-operated stores in the U.S., with plans to add lunch in the near future.
Employees: Approximately 182,000;

Jim Sinegal and Jeff Brotman, founders, Costco
Year established: 1983
Place on list last year: 37
Because: With 72 million members worldwide, hundreds of stores in 43 states and a growing business in Asia (there are nine stores in Korea, 10 in Taiwan and 18 in Japan), there’s no arguing that Costco is having a global impact on what we eat, and on the global food economy. Its overseas sales doubled in the last five years, and according to the Global Powers of Retailing 2014 report, Costco ranks number three on the list of the world’s largest retail chains.
New projects: Thirty-plus new stores will open in 2014, half of which will open outside the U.S., including in Australia, Mexico and Canada, and the first Costco in Spain.
Employees: 185,000 worldwide, 126,929 U.S.;

Pike Place Market
Year established: 1907
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: With 10 million visitors annually, Pike Place Market ranks alongside the Space Needle as Seattle’s top tourist destination. But unlike so many tourist attractions, Pike Place is home to nearly 500 businesses, of which 62 are independently owned restaurants. And it continues to draw some of the city’s most exciting restaurant openings; last year saw the debut of Radiator Whiskey, Rachel’s Ginger Beer and other establishments.
New projects: Later this year, a new “Pike Place Market Waterfront Entrance” will open, connecting the waterfront to a new building being constructed on Western Avenue just west of Pike Place. The new, 13,000-square-foot structure will house a restaurant and on-site brewery, additional parking and residential housing, and a public plaza with a spectacular view of the Sound, as well as extra room for farmers, artisan food producers and craftspeople.
Employees: 100;

Ted Baseler, president and CEO, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Year established: 1967
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: With 18 award-winning wine brands in Washington, Oregon and California, including Stag’s Leap, Columbia Crest, Erath, Eroica and Chateau Ste. Michelle, and distribution to all 50 states and 100 countries (the strongest international markets are Canada, Germany, Israel, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and China), the Woodinville-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is nothing short of a powerhouse. More than 80 percent of the Ste. Michelle wine is distributed out of state.
New projects: Several new products were released last year, including an Eroica Gold Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle and celebrated German winemaker Ernst Loosen.
Employees: 900;

Tom Douglas, restaurateur, chef, author and owner, Tom Douglas Restaurants
Year established: 1989
Place on list last year: 1
Because: Since being awarded the title of Restaurateur of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2012, Douglas, who owns 14 food establishments, including his latest, TanakaSan, has risen further in fame. He regularly appears on The Food Network, and conducts demos all over the country as a member of the culinary councils for both Macy’s and Amtrak. Perhaps our city’s most recognizable chef, Douglas has been featured in Visit Seattle’s out-of-state media campaigns. He was even asked to light the Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., last year.
New projects: The biggest news? Douglas is opening a cooking school, Hot Stove Society at Hotel Andra, this summer. The accompanying remodel also includes a new Swedish-themed bar.
Employees: 750; (Photo: Ed Anderson)

Year established: Founded locally in 1997; acquired by The Reader’s Digest Association in 2006, and by Meredith Corporation in 2012
Place on list last year: 34
Because: Downtown’s Allrecipes, which has grown a global audience of more than 40 million users monthly, got into tech while the getting in was good. The social media site allows users to share recipes, post notes and converse online. Globally, the site has users in 23 countries worldwide and is published in 12 languages. Its Dinner Spinner app has been downloaded more than 16 million times, making it the most downloaded recipe app in the world.
New projects: Allrecipes magazine launched late last year and now hosts a weekly segment on The Better Show, which airs on The Hallmark Channel.
Employees: 200;

Keela Robison, general manager, Urbanspoon
Year established: 2006
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: With 20 million users a month and more than 21 million downloads of the free Urbanspoon iPhone app, Urbanspoon has grown exponentially year after year. The restaurant review and reservation website is unique in that it aggregates professional reviews alongside blogger content while allowing diners to post reviews and photos, and rate restaurants by clicking a thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon. The Eastlake-based site now has restaurant content in every major city in the U.S., as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and the U.K.
new projects: International growth and new app features.
Employees: 40;

Gina Batali and Brian D’Amato, owners of Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
Year established: 1999
Place on list last year: 48
Because: With a last name like Batali, how can they not help call attention to Seattle’s food bounty? Started by Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad) as a retirement project, this small, lively Pioneer Square deli and cured meat operation is now owned by Gina Batali (Mario’s sister) and her husband, Brian D’Amato, who continue the family tradition by selling their artisan products nationally. You can find Salumi across the U.S., in shops such as Dean & DeLuca in New York City and hotels, such as the Four Seasons on Maui. New projects: Introduction of a new salami every year and a rotating menu for fortunate Seattleites
Employees: 14;

Mike McConnell, restaurateur and owner, Caffe Vita and Via Tribunali
Year established:
1995 with Caffe Vita (Via Tribunali, 2004)
Place on list last year: 4
Because: After securing a prime seat as coffee king and restaurant investor in Seattle, McConnell took his show on the road and opened Caffe Vita locations in New York, Los Angeles and Portland. (It’s one of a handful of independent roasters to open up national locations; among the others are Portland’s Stumptown, San Francisco’s Blue Bottle and Chicago’s Intelligentsia.) With 11 cafes nationally, he is primed to be king among the few small-scale and socially committed roasters to grow a national empire of caffeine-sipping devotees. On the local scene, McConnell champions other small owners with startup investments in many of our favorite eateries, such as Wandering Goose and Bourbon & Bones.
New projects: Expect to see more Caffe Vita cafés/roasters when you travel this year, with its plans to expand in Los Angeles and New York on the horizon.
Employees: 270;,

Keith Carpenter and Harry Hegarty, founders, Wood Stone Corporation
Year established: 1990
Place on list last year: 17
Because: Along with the company’s famed wood-burning ovens and the Josper, a charcoal broiler featured in New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s North End Grill, Wood Stone offers gas-fired and combination fuel-source stone ovens, tandoors, planchas, rotisseries and commercial ovens.
New projects: In the coming year, Wood Stone plans to launch a new line of custom grills.
Employees: 133;

Brian and Mark Canlis, co-owners, Canlis Restaurant

Year established: 1950
Place on list last year: 11
Because: This family business is now operated by its third, and some may argue most inventive, generation. While the young brothers excel at pushing the envelope with events that engage a broader audience, such as sending Seattle on a wild goose chase/scavenger hunt to commemorate its 60th anniversary, Canlis remains on the Seattle food map because of its iconic, special occasion status, sterling service and its deep local roots. Traditional dishes, an enviable wine cellar, exceptional service and stellar views over Lake Union easily send out-of-towners and Seattleites alike up Aurora Avenue for their dinner, while chef Jason Franey keeps the menu relevant yet comfortable.
New projects: It recently earned the prestige of becoming a restaurant member of Relais & Châteaux, an association of the world’s finest restaurants and hotels.
Employees: 88; (Photo: Julia Duffy)

Sur La Table
Year established: 1972
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Seattle’s homegrown cookware shop began with one store in Pike Place Market (owned by Shirley Collins, although the chain is now owned by a private equity firm Investcorp and is headquartered in Georgetown) and has grown to 117 stores in the U.S., 25 of which opened in the last two years. Its cooking class program is also growing at a steady clip: Sur La Table held 18,835 cooking classes in 2013 and taught more than 195,000 students in 52 stores with culinary programs. In 2013, the company opened 10 new culinary programs, an increase of almost 25 percent over 2012.
New projects: Cities on the docket for new stores this year include Madison, Wisconsin; Boise, Idaho; and Alpharetta, Georgia.
Employees: 3,000;

Pinnacle Foods Inc., owners, Tim’s Cascade Chips
Year established: 1986
Place on list last year: n/a
The now iconic red-and-white-striped bag of locally made potato chips— founded in Auburn by Tim Kennedy, and now owned by Pinnacle Foods and made in Algona, Washington—are sold in Safeway stores nationwide, with international distribution in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. This year, Tim’s biggest growth markets were Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
New projects: New flavor include Hawaiian mango habanero and bold honey BBQ.
Employees: 100;

Joe Whinney, founder and CEO, Theo Chocolate

Year established: 2006
Place on list last year: 20
Because: A man on a mission, Whinney set out to offer organic, fair trade chocolate decades before it was cool to do so and has spent the last eight years singing the praises of his sought-after sweets. Theo recently joined up with Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo Initiative and has been sourcing cocoa beans from the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the past two years. Made locally in Fremont, Theo’s ethically sourced products range from bars to truffles and are available in stores throughout all 50 states and several Canadian provinces.
New projects: Ever the chocolate scientists, Theo Innovations, a division of the company, is at work using proprietary technology to extract the health benefits of cocoa to be used in drinks, food bars, supplements and more.
Employees: 95;

Kurt Dammeier, founder, Sugar Mountain
Year established: 1999
Place on list last year: 23
Because: Dammeier stretched his proverbial wings when he made the transition from investor to founder and purchased a herd of cows to open Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, anchored in Pike Place Market. That empire has since expanded to New York City and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport—greeting global travelers with melting cheese sandwiches or a bowlful of curds. More airport openings are being considered. Until then, Beecher’s cheese and products are available worldwide—in national retailers (such as Costco) and globally through parts of Canada and Japan. He also owns Pasta & Co., Bennett’s, Maximus-Minimus, Liam’s and founded Beecher’s Flagship foundation.
New projects: Fraunhofer Meat & Fish, his newly launched meat and fish wholesaler, is getting in on the distribution game with an exclusive offering of Mishima Reserve wagyu beef.
Employees: 350;

Nathan Myhrvold, co-author, Modernist Cuisine, founder The Cooking Lab

Year established: Began working on Modernist Cuisine in 2005
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Myhrvold is the godfather of Bellevue-based Modernist Cuisine. In 2007, he custom-built this epic kitchen/lab to research the science behind cooking, and went on to publish what is now the definitive tome on the subject. Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking’s 2011 release was well received, covered by all manner of the media, from The Today Show and Forbes to the U.K.’s Guardian. No surprise, given it contains six volumes and more than 2,000 pages in total, which have been translated into German, French and Spanish.
New projects: Will soon release Chinese- and Korean-language copies of the book, as well as an Italian-language version of (the more concise) Modernist Cuisine at Home.
Employees: 17; (Photo: Chris Hoover/Modernist Cuisine LLC)

Matt Dillon, owner, Sitka & Spruce, The Corson Building, Bar Sajor, Bar Ferd’nand, The London Plane

Year established: 2006, with Sitka & Spruce
Place on list last year: 2
Because: Recently, Chef Matt Dillon was tapped to collaborate with Willows Inn’s star chef Blaine Wetzel on a menu for visiting culinary royalty—namely René Redzepi (of Noma, one of the top restaurants in the world). And this was just one more log on the bonfire of evidence that he continues to set the tone for Seattle dining. This year, Dillon launched two major projects in Pioneer Square (Bar Sajor and The London Plane, the latter a bakery, restaurant and wine bar), and in doing so, he not only expanded his empire, but helped to revive a long-foundering neighborhood. The 2012 James Beard Best Northwest Chef award winner was featured in The New York Times (once for Bar Sajor, another time for cooking a giant bycatch octopus), and Bar Sajor was named one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in Bon Appétit.
New projects: The London Plane will finally realize its multiuse space purpose, hosting cooking classes, private events and speaking engagements, and will launch a CSA larder program, with food, bread, wine, flowers, books and housewares. Additionally, Dillon is looking for restaurant space in the Basque country of France, as well as in Paris; Vals, Switzerland; and in the San Juan Islands.
Employees: 85; (Photo: Jeni)

The Taylor family, owners of Taylor Shellfish Farms

Year established: Began farming in 1890, incorporated in 1969
Place on list last year: 21
Because: Even though Taylor Shellfish’s oysters and seafood (including clams, mussels, oysters and geoduck) are ubiquitous on local menus (150 Seattle-area restaurants are supplied by Taylor), 90 percent of the Shelton-based hatchery’s harvest is shipped out of state. The largest markets outside of Seattle are New York City, Chicago, Oregon, California (primarily San Francisco and Los Angeles) and Hawaii. Taylor also ships internationally.
New projects: A second Taylor Shellfish oyster bar will open on Lower Queen Anne this month, and several more are planned in the coming years.
Employees: 500;

Year established: 2007
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: The grocery delivery arm of changed how busy urban folks shop for groceries when it launched the beta version of AmazonFresh in the Seattle market. Restaurant and prepared food delivery was added to the Seattle-area AmazonFresh delivery roster in 2012. And last year, AmazonFresh launched first in Los Angeles (June) and in San Francisco (December) and added floral, spa products and local juices to the more than 500,000 items available for same-day delivery.
Employees: Not available;

Ethan Stowell, chef/owner, Ethan Stowell Restaurants

Year established: 2003, with now-shuttered Union (although officially as ESR in 2007)
Place on list last year: 3
Because: Stowell continues to add restaurants to his growing empire, and quickly! Two opened in 2013, and three more are slated for spring 2014. Nationally, he continues to be a Pacific Northwest “chef-resentative” and was named one of 25 Best New Chef All-Stars by Food & Wine magazine in 2013. His product line, Lagana Pasta, is sold throughout the Northwest.
New projects: Stowell is looking to sprinkle some magic on his two new joints in Madrona: Red Cow and the intimate, chef-driven Noyer, which showcases a prix fixe menu hand-cooked by Stowell four nights a week. And there’s one more spot opening in Ballard, next to Staple & Fancy: Chippy’s Fish & Drink, a U.K.-inspired fish fry eatery.
Employees: 200+; (Photo: Geoffrey Smith)

Jon Rowley, culinary marketing consultant
Year established: 1981
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Jon Rowley is the quiet thunder of Northwest food marketing, putting several products on the map over his many years in business, including Copper River salmon and, recently, Shuksan strawberries—often without direct credit for his efforts. As the patriarch of heirloom foods, he is an ardent supporter of all things local and has the finesse for getting them into the national market. He also worked with Metropolitan Market in putting together its legendary Peach-O-Rama.
New projects: While many of his projects are secret, Seattle-based Rowley is mulling over a symposium to support and spotlight heirloom apple varieties.
Employees: Hired as needed.

Charlie Billow, CEO, and Ray Bowen, president, Charlie’s Produce
Year established: 1978
Place on list last year: 9
Because: South Seattle–based Charlie’s ships 30 million pounds of produce to restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, cruise ships and schools in Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Washington every month. And the wholesale food giant continues to grow, averaging 15 percent over the last three years. 2013 saw a 25 percent increase in organic
food sales.
New projects: Charlie’s Farmer’s Own label continues to grow, with 35 organic farms in Washington and Oregon, allowing farms a direct route to selling their produce year-round.
Employees: 1,228;

Joe Bundrant, CEO, Trident Seafoods
Year established: 1973
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Trident Seafoods is the largest vertically integrated seafood harvesting and processing company in North America, consisting of a fleet of more than 40 vessels, including catcher boats, catcher-processors, freighters and support vessels that catch and process king and snow crab, Alaskan salmon, halibut, pollock, rockfish, Pacific cod, flounder and sole. The Ballard-based company also operates an “Innovation Center,” where professional chefs and food technologists develop new products for food-service, retail and national-account clients.
Employees: 6,000–7,000, seasonally;

John Gibb and Blaine Wetzel, co-owners, West Shore Hospitality (Willows Inn and Beach Store Café)
Year established: 1910 (although the inn gained national culinary recognition in 2010 with Wetzel’s arrival)
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Willows Inn is Washington’s foremost culinary destination, bar none, serving diners from as far away as Denmark, Israel and Hong Kong who’ve made the pilgrimage to Lummi Island in the San Juans just for chef Blaine Wetzel’s supremely original cooking. On any given night, about one in four diners is visiting from out of state or from another country. This year, the inn and restaurant were praised in Forbes, Outdoor magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, USA Today and Vogue. Wunderkind chef Wetzel was named a Best New Chef in Food & Wine in 2012, and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef award in 2013.
New projects: The annual First Harvest dinner in July
has become a destination-worthy event for the food obsessed; the first two years featured such superstar chefs as Grant Achatz (Alinea, The Aviary and Next in Chicago), Sean Brock (McCrady’s and Husk in Charleston) and Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco). And look for Blaine Wetzel and Joe Ray's book about Willows Inn, to be published
in late 2014 or early 2015.
Employees: 50 during the high season;

Mac Riggen, director of marketing, Chelan Fresh
Year Established: 2004
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: As one of the largest fruit marketing companies in the country, Chelan Fresh collectively markets cherries, pears and apples for Gebbers Farms and others fruit domestic and abroad. They distribute upwards of 16 million boxes of fruit annually across the country and to the UK, Europe, Asia, India, the Middle East, Canada and Latin America, and grow about 19 varieties of cherries and seven plus varieties of pear and over ten varieties of apples.
New projects: Chelan Fresh represents the beautiful Orondo Ruby, a new variety of cherry found in the orchards of Marcus Griggs near Orondo. The Ruby is an early yellow cherry with full red blush and super sweet in taste. A signal to all of us that summer has begun!
Employees: 60;

Kevin Klock, president and CEO, TalkingRain

Year established: 1987
Place on list last year: 26
Because: The beverage company is riding high on sales from its Sparkling Ice mineral water, which saw an increase of more than 900 percent, year over year. With distribution to 254 distributors nationally, as well as direct distribution to Japan, Mexico and Canada, the Preston-based company’s growth shows no sign of slowing.
New projects: Four new flavors—cherry limeade, peach lemonade, mango lemonade and strawberry watermelon—debuted this year.  
Employees: 229;

Dick Cantwell, head brewer, cofounder and co-owner, Elysian Brewing Company
Year established: 1996
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Capitol Hill–based Elysian distributes all over the West, including Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado, and on the East Coast in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Internationally, the beer is found widely in Canada, and in Taiwan. But it is Cantwell’s continued passion for collaboration that makes Elysian a known brand outside of Seattle, including continuing collaborations with New Belgium Brewing (Colorado), an upcoming collaboration with Wild Rose Brewery in Calgary, and last year’s trip to Manchester, England, for the J.D. Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival, where Cantwell brewed 720 barrels of his Avatar jasmine IPA on site.
New projects: The Elysian folks will open a new, more upscale pub (name still to be determined at press time) with a focus on cocktails and barrel-aged beers, to be located downtown at Second Avenue and Pike Street in 2014.
Employees: Approximately 300;

Renee Erickson, restaurateur and master pickler
Year established: 1998, with Boat Street Cafe
Place on list last year: 14
Because: Erickson, chef/owner of Boat Street Cafe, co-owner of Boat Street Pickles, and chef and co-owner of The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Barnacle and the Narwhal oyster truck, is the media darling of Seattle and consistently receives national attention. Barnacle, her most recent endeavor, with partners Chad Dale, Jeremy Price and David Little, was named one of the country’s Most Important Restaurants of 2013 by Zagat. Her book, A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus, is due out in September, and Boat Street pickles are distributed throughout the country and in Japan.
Employees: 80;;;;;;

Gary and Nancy Figgins, founders, Figgins Family Wine Estates; owners, Leonetti Cellar

Year established: 1977, with Leonetti
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Produced by the first winery to open in Walla Walla, in the late 1970s, Leonetti Cellar wines—the original cult wines of all Washington wines—can now be found in 40 states and in Canada, Japan, China, England and Denmark. This year, Leonetti Cellar 2010 Reserve received a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and president and winemaker Chris Figgins was the subject of a feature in Wine Spectator titled “The Prince of Walla Walla.”  
New projects: The family will release the first bottling of Pinot Noir under the brand Toil Oregon this month. The wine is made in Walla Walla from grapes grown in the Willamette Valley.
Employees: 25;

Murray Stenson, bartender extraordinaire
Year established: Began bartending in 1976
Place on list last year: 33
Because: Stenson is one of a handful of nationally renowned bartenders, thanks to features in Playboy and Esquire magazines, and having earned the title of Best Bartender in America at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2010. He’s a bartender who still insists that customer service—not the bartender’s ego—is the primary concern for any bartender, and that’s a mighty refreshing attitude nowadays.
New projects: Stenson is cagey about where he’ll be bartending next month, let alone next year. But there’s a persistent swirl around Stenson, who fuels the fire by teasing about a possible downtown bar project he’s hoping to open in the fall.

Fran, Dylan and Andrina Bigelow, owners, Fran’s Chocolates
Year established: 1982
Place on list last year: 47
Because: Fran Bigelow can be credited with introducing gray salt caramels to gourmands across the country—those mind-bendingly delicious and oft-copied confections. Over the years, Bigelow has been featured on The Food Network, Martha Stewart and in many print publications—and gained a presidential fan in Barack Obama—even though her three retail stores sit in the cozy confines of the Pacific Northwest. Specialty chocolates are available nationwide at Whole Foods and Sur La Table.
New projects: After 22 years of being headquartered on Capitol Hill, Fran’s is moving its production facility to Georgetown this year, expanding into a whopping 31,500 square feet of the old Rainier Beer Brewery.
Employees: 65;

Brown & Haley’s Almond Roca
Year established:
1912, Brown & Haley; 1923, Almond Roca
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: It’s one of the largest confectionery exporters in the U.S., with 40 percent of its candies landing all over the U.S. and in 63 countries worldwide. It’s been cranking out beloved toffee and almond logs from Tacoma since 1914.
New Projects: In 2012, the privately owned company paired up with the Northwest-based, family-owned Precept Wine Company to create Almond Roca Cream dessert wine.
Employees: 250;

Shauna James Ahern, writer/baker/photographer, Gluten-Free Girl
Year established: 2005, began blogging
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Back when blogs were called “weblogs,” a young voice emerged over the tech airwaves and revealed a girl coping with life, love and living with celiac disease. Now more than 750,000 people a month flock to Ahern’s blog for information and respite. And all three of her books (Gluten-Free Girl, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day), produced with her husband, Daniel Ahern, are distributed nationally and overseas.
New projects: A weekly supper club at a 10-acre farm on Vashon Island, where the couple have their work studio, Milk & Honey Kitchen, along with a product line of flour mixes, which will be distributed nationally via their website
Employees: 2;

Molly Wizenberg and Brandon Pettit, owners of Delancey and Essex
Year established: 2004, launched Orangette; 2009, with Delancey
Place on list last year: n/a
They are Seattle’s reigning food couple: Wizenberg is the author of a book, A Homemade Life; a blog, Orangette; as well as columns and articles in Bon Appétit, Town & Country, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Art of Eating—and now a podcast, Spilled Milk. Pettit is the pizza master at Delancey, which has been praised in The New York Times, Sunset, Food & Wine and other publications. Together, they also own Essex, a craft cocktail bar next door to Delancey, which was named one of 2013’s Best Bars in the Country by Playboy.
New projects: Wizenberg’s second book, Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage, publishes next month, and Delancey has added a second wood-burning oven to provide neighboring bar, Essex, with an expanded menu of roasted vegetables and meats. The Pantry cooking classes continue to grow and expand in popularity.
Employees: 16;,;

Justin Marx, CEO, Marx Foods
Year established: 2004 in Washington state
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Marx took a fifth-generation New Jersey family business national when he opened up a West Coast leg of its wholesale meat business and tread into new waters, offering restaurants hard-to-find ingredients alongside a curated selection of meats (many exotic). Marx Foods counts Chicago’s Alinea, Eataly in New York City and Chicago, and several notable wineries and breweries, such as Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, as clients. For Seattle food lovers, it opened a small retail shop (for home chefs) on Lower Queen Anne in 2012.
New projects: Championing Washington-produced products nationally and heading Down Under for its exclusive import of New Zealand Merino lamb, which was spotlighted in Food & Wine magazine this January.
Employees: 22;

Mark and Michael Klebeck and Joel Radin, cofounders and owners, Top Pot Doughnuts
Year established: 2002
Place on list last year: 18
Because: They started the doughnut craze in Seattle, and built cafés and a must-stop spot on culinary tours combining old-fashioned Americana with excellent coffee and a hipster vibe. From 2005 to 2011, they sold their doughnuts in Starbucks stores across the country, proving they weren’t just local yokels. Today, Top Pot Doughnuts can be found at major grocery-chain bakeries in Portland and across California, and can be delivered to your door in the Puget Sound region, courtesy of AmazonFresh.
New projects: They’re looking to open café locations in New York.
Employees: 225;

David Holcomb, founder, Chef’n Corporation
Year established: 1982
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: With a wizard’s mind, David Holcomb elevated culinary gadgets (think garlic choppers and collapsible measuring cups) by creating ergonomic kitchen tools that cooks didn’t realize they needed, such as its most popular heritage item, the Pepperball, a one-handed pepper grinder. With global distribution to both mom-and-pop shops and large retailers, such as Target and Sur La Table, Chef’n gadgets keep us all safely and happily at work in the kitchen.
New projects: Look for the downtown Seattle-based company’s new product at Williams-Sonoma this May: the Sweet Spot ice cream maker, which promises small-batch ice cream in minutes.
Employees: 47;

Andrew Stout and Wendy Monroe, founders, Full Circle Farm

Year established: 1996
Place on list last year: 19
Because: Over the last 15 years, Stout has morphed from tractor driver into businessman and turned his local North Bend farm’s CSA program into a national home delivery service for organic food. With small-town roots and big intentions, he expanded the market into Spokane, Boise, the Bay Area and Alaska, where Full Circle has 250 pickup locations and also delivers to several bush communities.
New projects: Look for geographic and product expansion in 2014, in addition to handy insulated tote bags.
Employees: 115;

Miles Thomas, owner/founder/principal, Scrappy’s Bitters
Year established: 2008
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: This former bartender turned bitters connoisseur transformed his passion-driven project into profit when he launched Scrappy’s Bitters from a small space in the basement of Tavolàta. Today, Fremont-based Scrappy’s sells as many as 10,000 bottles a month, and ships them worldwide. The potent bottles of bitters are sold in 20 states (and have achieved cult status among shops such as The Meadow in Portland and major bars like Death & Co. in New York City), and internationally in Australia and six other countries.
New projects: Thomas is working on opening a bar on Capitol Hill, where bitters will certainly prevail on the menu; he is also pursuing distribution partnerships in Russia and Colombia.
Employees: 10;

Sharelle Klaus, founder and CEO, Dry Soda

Year established: 2005
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Pioneer Square–based Dry Soda tipped the bartending scales when it first launched, offering anyone on the wagon an elegant “cocktail” alternative. While this fizzy beverage was originally only available in high-end bars and luxury hotels, it now quenches the masses with national distribution to Fred Meyer, Wegmans, Fairway and some Whole Foods.
New projects: Dry is currently at work with chef Richard Blais, past Top Chef winner, on new flavor development.
Employees: 17;

Randy Smith, chair, Tree Top Inc.

Year established: 1960
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Selah, Washington–based Tree Top became successful by using the apples that weren’t up to cosmetic standards for its label’s juice and apple sauce, ubiquitous in grocery stores. In 2008, this co-op of apple growers (85 percent in Washington) moved to pressing only USA-grown apples for juice. Its products are most popular in the U.S. and Mexico, but are available worldwide in faraway places such as Laos, Finland, Trinidad and many other countries. Washington, alone, accounts for 15 percent of the company’s total sales.
New projects: Tree Top recently launched a line of fruit purées, Good to Go Fruit, which is a portable pouch of flavored applesauce for kid snacks on the go. For grown-ups, it will soon debut FruitFull—a 100 percent fruit smoothie for sipping on the run.
Employees: 1,000+;

The Robbins family, Hama Hama Oyster Company
Year established: 1922
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Hama Hama has been putting Northwest oysters on the map for generations (now helmed by president Kendra Robbins, with Lissa James Monberg and Adam James managing the shellfish business) and counts major accounts in Boston, New York City and San Francisco among its clients. Half of its harvest is shipped to high-end restaurants, such as Meritage in St. Paul, and Le Bernardin and the Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan. Its Blue Pool oyster was featured in Bon Appétit last year as one of the “Nine Oysters You Need to Know Now,” and the Hama Hama oyster farm will soon be spotlighted on National Geographic Wild’s show Jobs That Bite.
New projects: Oyster shucking/tasting/cooking classes, timber tasting huts on the Lilliwaup farm (that allow for sheltered beachfront dining of just-shucked oysters and bowls for steamed clams from the retail store) and spring harvest events during which people can harvest, shuck and gorge themselves on the bounty of the Hamma Hamma tide flats.
Employees: 32; (Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit)

Autumn Martin, owner and chocolatier, Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
Year established: 2008
Place on list last year: n/a
From farmers’ market darling to national distribution—who knew the country would go gaga over molten cakes in baby-size glass canning jars? Northwest native Autumn Martin has seen her star grow brighter over the years with her confectionery line and those signature molten chocolate cakes, which are now sold at Whole Foods throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. Ballard-based Hot Cakes gets additional props for showcasing the best ingredients the Northwest has to offer, such as its juniper-infused caramel and alder-smoked chocolate chips.
New projects: Continued national distribution of its sauces and molten cakes and creation of a “Molten Cake Field Guide,” with instruction on baking these cakes while on the go—over campfires, at barbecues and in other outdoorsy venues.
Employees: 26;

Demitri Pallis, president & CEO, Gourmet Mixes Inc.
Year established: 1988
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: Before bartenders were “mixologists,” Demitri Pallis created his own mix of Bloody Mary spices for the New Orleans restaurant in Pioneer Square. The recipe caught on, and he soon was making the mix for other bars and eventually sold his product nationwide. Today, his award-winning mixes, made in Renton, can be found at Costco, Whole Foods in New York and New Jersey, and major restaurant chains such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and P.F. Chang’s across the country.
New projects: Current focus is on production and distribution of newly released products—a margarita mix, plus a 38-calorie margarita mix; four new flavors of Bloody Mary Seasoning; and a new bacon rim salt.
Employees: 5;

Chris Young, Grant Crilly and Ryan Matthew Smith, cofounders, ChefSteps
Year established: 2012
Place on list last year: n/a
Because: As three collaborators on Nathan Myhrvold’s epic six-volume Modernist Cuisine tome, Crilly, Young and Smith are three preeminent experts on modern cooking. And less than two years after launching their online modernist cooking school—with classes in sous vide cooking, spherification and how to use whipping siphons—the site’s traffic continues to grow at a rapid pace. As of January, there were an average of 100,000 unique visitors each month, 92 percent of whom live outside of Washington state, and 45 percent of whom live outside of the United States.
New projects: A ChefSteps recipe-viewer app is in the works.
Employees: 18;