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Kitchen & Market, part 2

European-style neighborhood groceries

Last month we shared how Stephanie King took her dream of a perfect grocery shopping experience and made it a reality. This month we'll learn more about how it has bloomed.

In November 2021, their flagship Kitchen & Market store opened in the Pike Place Public Market. "We could tell who had already bought meal kits from us because they came in and asked for the ginger scallion sauce and put five in their basket. They'd loved the sauce so much they wanted it on its own. Our recipes are the ones my kids grew up on. My daughter had to have pancakes every morning; our pancake mix is called Hannah's Everyday Pancakes because of that. I've made a lot of granola and I don't like a lot of stuff in it, so it's very basic. I actually got an investor from the granola; they liked it that much."

Granola and more on Mercer Island

They offer three ways to shop:

1. Meal kits. Groceries are packed with everything needed (minus things like salt, pepper, oil which most people have at home), along with the recipe. You don't have to think about what to get. Everything is prepped, so you cook it according to directions and it can take as little as 15 minutes. "Meal kits are a great way for people to try our products and find out what they like. We don't put sauces in packets that you have to rip open."

2. Recipe wall. You can find recipes in several places around the stores. "We put some recipes near the wine because people think about pairing food and wine. The recipes include the shopping list on one side and the instructions on the other. People can customize their meals and put whatever they want in their basket."

3. Choose an adventure. "For people familiar with our products, they can just come in and pick up what they want. It might be protein, a pre-made salad or just lettuce, pasta (made by Ethan's pasta company) and one of our sauces or Ethan's slow-simmered Tavolàta Bolognese sauce. We also want to make it easy to look ahead: they're there to get something for dinner, but they might need a quick breakfast for the family and a lunch for themselves. There is cut fruit, veggies, hummus, sandwiches, tomatoes, avocados, salad dressings, cheese, wines from Ethan's collection. We have that ready to be picked up from the shelves.

"We're all about local ingredients, supporting small producers, and getting organic when we can. Many small farmers do farm organically but can't afford certification. And honestly, it's more important to me to support small, local farmers than to always buy organically. Also, we can't always get organic produce. So we don't call it out on the products because they might be organic now and not later. We put a sell by date on products. Once taken home, they have a shelf life of 3-4 days. No preservatives. Everything with the Kitchen & Market label on it is made in our commissary kitchen in SoDo. Our beef is grass fed from St. Helen's Beef, our pork from Carlton Farms, our flour from Walla Walla. Sourcing is always a balance. We get better as we scale up.

"We're different because our food is really good. Real meals made from scratch. Soups taste like they're made in your kitchen with real, quality ingredients. While we focus on busy families, we have a lot of empty nesters who don't want to cook but really just can't do one more night of take out. They want a home cooked meal. Friday family pizza and movie night is wonderful, but you don't want to do it on Tuesday and Thursday, too. You want a full meal on the table so the family eats together. This team is almost all moms, and we say we know our customers because we are our customers. We all shop here.

"I grew up in Seattle and my mom did regular grocery shopping at Pike Place Market until Larry's came in (sushi!). For me to open a store in Pike Place Market is a dream." Their Pike Place flagship store is about three times the size of their new Mercer Island store and has a kitchen demo station. "We like doing events to feature others. If someone does an event with us, like Bite Society or a vendor in the Market, and their product(s) sell, we may add them into our stores. After we moved into Pike Place, I met the woman who owns Armistice Coffee. We partnered on a coffee blend, and we also use it in our cold brew tiramisu."

Kitchen & Market delivers to the Seattle and Bellevue areas and does its own delivery so there are no third party costs. Delivery is on Tuesday, and the ordering deadline is Sunday at midnight. Subscriptions aren't offered because its demographic doesn't know if they'll be able to use something they will automatically receive on a certain day.

Its customers are over the moon. "I'm a lazy cook, I like shortcuts and making things easier," says Stephanie. "I've had customers tell me they're learning how to cook from us." One customer stopped Stephanie mid-store to tell her Stephanie had changed their family life. They now cook and eat together, and it's made a huge difference for them.

"I have big dreams and ideas. We have the Pike Place and Mercer Island locations now. We'll be going into the old Big Fish restaurant in Kirkland, but it's a big project and we're in the permitting phase now, so it's a year out. We're also going into the Eastlake neighborhood. The landlord owns office buildings there and he wants to offer amenities to them. We're taking over a gym and the Grand Central Baking location (they're moving across the street) and reconfiguring the parking area. There will also be a restaurant going in. We have a third location in the works coming next February, but I can't share details right now."

Connie Adams/December 2022

Click to read Part 1

Kitchen & Market

1926 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101

7635 SE 27th St
Mercer Island, WA 98040

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