Seattle's Food Establishment: Inaugural List

Seattle magazine's inaugural list of the 70 most powerful players in the Seattle food scene.
seattle magazine's food establishment list

40. Michael Teer
Owner, Pike & Western Wine Shop and Soul Wine

Est.: 1980, when he started working at Pike & Western; he bought it in 1991. Because: With a keen palate and a knack for promoting promising boutique wineries (both in Washington and in Europe), Michael Teer is easily one of the most respected wine guys in town. The nearly 40-year-old Pike & Western is thriving in Pike Place Market, and last year, Teer opened Soul Wine in a South Lake Union space he shares with Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie and Serious Biscuit. Employees: 5.;

39. Jason Stratton
Executive chef and partner, Spinasse and Artusi

Est.: 2008. Because: The restaurant that taught Seattle how to pronounce “tajarin,” the supple, impossibly fine-cut egg noodle, remains the most lovely Italian cascina in town. Since taking over as head chef, Jason Stratton has been named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs. Last year, Stratton designed Spinasse’s attached aperitivo bar, Artusi, and doubled the square footage of the restaurant itself. New projects: Stratton told us to “keep an eye out for special collaborative events at Spinasse and Artusi, with guest spots from others within the food community.” Employees: 37.;

38. Kathy Casey
President, Kathy Casey Food Studios, Liquid Kitchen and Dish D’Lish

Est.: 1988, founded as “Kazzy & Associates.” Because: Behind Casey’s folksy, fun persona lies a folksy, fun, razor-sharp businesswoman. She was an early leader in the cocktail craze, developing specialty drink menus years before every corner restaurant was talking up bitters and extra-big ice cubes. These days, she’s creating cocktail programs for hotels from Dubai to Cairo to Kuala Lumpur—good thing the globe trotter also runs Dish D’Lish, a rare haven of edibility at Sea-Tac airport. New projects: She’s finishing her 10th book, D’Lish Deviled Eggs; shooting a new season of her Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen cocktail show on the Small Screen Network; adding hand-crafted sodas to Dish D’Lish; and working on concepts for a Liquid Kitchen bar.

37. Andrew Stout and Wendy Munroe
Full Circle farm

Est.: 1996. Because: They built a 5-acre farm into a tristate organic delivery service that proves you can maintain quality even while increasing quantity. New projects: Adding a home delivery service, including not just their own fruits and vegetables, but grocery partners such as Theo Chocolate, on top of their omnipresent farmers market presence. Achieving a voluntary national government certification for food safety in two areas: good agricultural practices and good handling practices. Expanding into California, working with growers in the Bay Area. Employees: 100–150, depending on the season.

36. Chateau Ste. Michelle

Est.: 1967. Because: Washington’s oldest winery is the leading Riesling producer in North America. (The Los Angeles Times rated the wine the best it tasted in a 1974 blind tasting, bringing much acclaim to the then-young winery.) But it’s not all Riesling: The winery produces 2 million cases of its various wines—including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and numerous blends—each year. But it’s winery CEO Ted Baseler’s dedication to Washington wines in general—not just his own—that has endeared Chateau Ste. Michelle to wine lovers of all stripes; after a catastrophic freeze and crop failure in 2004, Baseler supplied grapes to at least a dozen hard-hit wineries, essentially saving the season. Employees: 800.

35. Dick Spady
President, Dick’s Drive-In

Est.: 1954, when the first Dick’s opened in Wallingford. Because: After almost 60 years in the fast-food business, the Spady family is still going strong: Last year they opened the sixth Dick’s, in Edmonds. The company is iconic, its base salary and benefits package admirable, and it still promotes the family ideals so many of us feel wistful about. Employees: 180.

34. Chuck Bundrant
Chair, Trident Seafoods

Est.: 1973. Because: Trident is the largest vertically integrated (meaning: catch and process) seafood company in North America. In the past six years, Trident has expanded from providing food to restaurants to adding club stores, such as Costco, and retail to its list of clients. Employees: 7,000–8,000; seasonally.

33. Terry Halverson
Founder, owner, president and CEO, Metropolitan Market

Est.: 1971. Because: At the age of 16, Terry Halverson began working at the Queen Anne Thriftway (which later became Metropolitan Market) as a courtesy clerk. Now president and CEO, Halverson, along with Dick Rhodes, transitioned six existing grocery stores to Metropolitan Markets beginning in 2003, including the Queen Anne Thriftway, which is shuttering late this summer. New projects: In recent years, Met Market launched its own wine and champagne labels; in 2010, it expanded to the Eastside, opening a store in Kirkland. Met Market was chosen Grocery Store with Best Selection of Washington Wines in Seattle magazine’s Readers’ Choice Best of 2011 awards. Employees: More than 700.

32. Molly Moon Neitzel
Owner, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream

Est.: 2008. Because: In 2011, Molly Moon’s added three locations; in just four years, the company has grown to include five ice cream shops and one ice cream truck. New projects: The Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream cookbook (Sasquatch Books) will be published next month, and although she doesn’t supply details, Neitzel told us to watch for “an exciting partnership between Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream and Sur La Table in 2012.”
Employees: 35 in fall/winter, 60 in spring/summer.

31. Fran Bigelow
Founder, owner and president, Fran’s Chocolates

Est.: 1982. Because:  Before there was salted caramel everything, Bigelow was making her sensational caramels dipped in milk or dark chocolate with fine grains of sea salt placed atop. (She now sells caramels with smoked salt, too.) The quality never wanes, likely due to the fact that Bigelow is still running the show (now with the help of her daughter, Andrina, and son Dylan, a chocolatier). New projects: A larger production facility is needed to keep up with demand; the company had its best sales last year. In June, the company celebrates its 30th anniversary. Employees: 65.