Marx Foods Opens First Brick-and-Mortar Specialty Store on Western Ave

Owner Justin Marx with
first customer Marco

Marx Foods, an online retailer of a large, eclectic collection of specialty foods, has opened its first brick and mortar store in the Lower Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood. Owner Justin Marx, recently profiled in Food & Wine, aims to serve as the “culinary concierge” for both Queen Anne residents and Seattle at large. The store will serve as a shop where you can get unique food and condiments, as well as advice, suggestions, and in-house tested recipes of how to best enjoy and make use of them. Some of the items offered, such as fine charcuterie, cheeses, balsamic vinegars, and olive oils will be familiar to most, but with some of the less common items, a knowledgeable staff and test kitchen are sure to come in handy.

I spoke with Justin Marx about the new retail venture, and asked him why he decided on Lower Queen Anne/Uptown – he said he hopes to bring something to Queen Anne that is unique to Seattle, something that doesn’t exist today… well, almost today, as Marx Foods opened its doors yesterday morning at the corner of Western and John Streets. (note: the signs are going up in the next couple of weeks, but it’s easy to find, as it’s directly across from the PI globe at 144 Western Ave with street parking available and free after 6pm)

Marx has run the online business from his Lower Queen Anne office for just shy of five years, all the while watching the neighborhood evolve with new housing developments, the Thomas St Pedestrian Bridge, and new and varied local vendors and restaurants. As the neighborhood evolved, he decided his business should too, and made the jump to a retail storefront. Marx finds the items he offers for sale by traveling the country, visiting farmer’s markets, and running culinary question marks by his tasting panel of local food bloggers and chefs to see if they pass muster. With only about 20% meeting the tasting panel’s standards, you should expect the items to be as good as they are unique. While the online store has over 1,200 items, the retail shop will have 300-400 products, but for the extraordinarily adventurous, special orders are welcomed and encouraged.

A liquor license is in the works and for summer, Marx is planning to offer ready-to-go picnics with items such as sliced charcuterie and cheese. Future events, some co-hosted with their neighbor Fat Cork, a boutique champagne purveyor, are also planned, so stay tuned for more as the new year ticks over.

So what will you find when you visit? They carry a range of game meats and birds; meats you see on menus but not in stores – boar, elk, pheasant, and even more unusual meats such as antelope and kangaroo. Other items include edible flowers, a wide variety of dried mushrooms and peppers, chili sauces, pastas, snacks both savory and sweet, and probably more than a few things you’ve not had the chance to try before.

I asked Marx to narrow down a list of his personal favorites – a tough task, but here are the essentials: Chicaogi Chipotle Chili Sauce, butternut squash seed oil, aged balsamic vinegars, Pistachio Cream, Denver Vegetable Leathers, Cocomels coconut milk caramels, Ramp Vinaigrette, and local marshmallows that are cup-size – perfect for hot cocoa.

“We’ve curated a selection of products that we feel is very special – the majority of products on the shelf are direct from the producer, with only one or two items from the producer. What I’d love is for people in the neighborhood to visit, get recipes ideas, gift ideas. Building a relationship with customers is key, we want to be their culinary concierge.” – Justin Marx, owner Marx Foods

If you’re looking for specialty food items, gifts, and treats that you can’t find anywhere else, stop by Marx Foods and welcome them to the neighborhood!

New York Pizza & Bar coming to Lower Queen Anne

A New York style pizza place is going into the Lumen building in Lower Queen Anne, in the same complex as QFC and Genki Sushi.

According to a notice on the door, New York Pizza & Bar is renting the space at 500 Mercer Street, Suites 2-4, and is currently doing construction in preparation for opening.

New York Pizza & Bar currently has two locations in Washington State – one in Bellingham and another in Lynden. We’re waiting to hear back from the owners on when they plan to open the new Seattle location.

* Thanks to Patrick and Jenn for the tip!

Pottery Northwest presents exhibition of alumnae

Pottery Northwest will hold an exhibition of new works by several recent artists-in-residence alumnae beginning Saturday, April 9 in their studio just south of the KeyArena. The exhibition, called Flashback, will feature work by John Ellefson, Bill Evans, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Julie Lindell, Stephen Sullivan and Tami Rubin.

The show will run until April 29 in the South Gallery of Pottery Northwest at 226 First Ave. N. A public opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.

From Pottery Northwest:

Founded in 1966 as a non-profits arts organization, Pottery Northwest is a long time and vibrant source of programming in the Seattle arts community. World class professional artist residencies,  exhibitions featuring traditional and contemporary work, community classes and an engaging lecture series spanning many years are all features of this fixture at Seattle Center. Artists from around the world come to Pottery Northwest in the spirit of artistic dialog and as a formative step in their professional career.

Queen Anne wins new Molly Moon’s shop in July

Yes, you read that right – Queen Anne is going to have a brand new ice cream shop come this summer, a la organic, seasonal, locally sourced, hand-made ice creamery Molly Moon’s.

Back in December Molly Moon’s launched a competition between three neighborhoods – Queen Anne, Ballard and Madrona – to determine which ‘hood to open its third shop in. The local ice cream chain, which already has bustling locations in Wallingford and Capitol Hill, named Queen Anne as the winner of the competition Monday.

The competition was run through Facebook page campaigns, to gauge community interest in a new shop in each neighborhood. As of Monday evening the Queen Anne page had 462 ‘likes’. Madrona came in second place, with 163 ‘likes’.

Molly Moon’s has not yet finalized the location for the Queen Anne store, but they plan to open the shop in July, just in time for the summer heat. The ice creamery will also be opening a “micro-shop” in Madrona. To celebrate Molly Moon’s will be giving out free ice cream scoops to kids out of its truck, which will be parked at 2231 Queen Anne Ave. N., on Sunday, March 20, from noon to 2 p.m. Here is the full press release:

Molly Moon Neitzel today announced that she is expanding her ice cream family this summer with a new scoop shop in Queen Anne and new “micro” concept shop in Madrona.

Neighborhoods for the new locations were selected by Molly Moon’s enthusiasts during the three-month long “Shop 3, where will it be?” campaign that encouraged Seattle’s ice cream lovers to, despite the frosty weather, visit Moon’s ice cream truck while it set-up shop in their respective ‘hoods.

“I’m so excited to be welcoming two new neighborhoods in to our Molly Moon’s family” said Neitzel. “I love that Molly Moon’s is a place where families and friends can create memories and I can’t wait for Queen Anne and Madrona residents to have the opportunity make the new shops a part of their communities.”

Queen Anne, Seattle’s most-devoted ice cream eating neighborhood this winter, will be receiving its well-deserved scoop shop in July of 2011. Stay tuned, as the location is still being solidified and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Madrona, the runner-up in the “Shop 3” campaign, will be awarded a Molly Moon’s micro-shop in May of 2011. This petite version of a Molly Moon’s scoop shop will serve pre-packaged pints and scoops of Moon’s delicious ice cream, sorbet-sicles, and ice cream sandwiches.

In celebration of this exciting news, the Molly Moon’s ice cream truck will give away kids scoops this Saturday, March 19, from Noon to 2 p.m. while parked at Buggy in Madrona. The kids in Queen Anne will receive free scoops on Sunday, March 20, from Noon to 2 p.m. while the truck is parked at 2231 Queen Anne Ave. N.

For additional information about Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, please log on to

Correction 12:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this story stated that Molly Moon’s is organic, when in fact not all of its ice cream flavors contain organic ingredients. Here is more information from the website:

Are all of your ingredients organic? No. My priority is to purchase locally-grown ingredients from great Northwest suppliers. I try to use local AND organic, but when faced with situations where I have to choose, I choose healthy local options that are not always certified organic. Some of our organic ingredients include organic vanilla, peppermint, maple, ginger, and orange extracts, organic coconut, organic lavender from Sequim, Washington, organic baby beets, carrots, and rosemary from Full Circle Farms, organic Meyer lemons from the Napa Valley (as close to us as they grow), organic mint and cantaloupe from eastern Washington, organic bacon and cherries from Vashon, organic sugar cones and cake cones, and organic sprinkles.

Flame merges with Elliott Bay Pizza Co., new business starts renovations of old Flame spot

If you’ve walked by Flame on Queen Anne Avenue N recently, you may have noticed the paper covering the windows and the sign on the door directing patrons to Elliott Bay Pizza Co. two doors down.

That’s because the two restaurants have merged, according to an Elliott Bay Pizza Co. employee who spoke to us over the phone this morning.

While the sign on the door at Flame says it is only closed for renovations, adding “Y’all kin get yer got juicy delicious flame broiled burgers next door at Elliott Bay Pizza,” in fact the restaurant changed ownership this week, the Elliott Bay Pizza Co. employee confirmed.

The man who owned both Elliott Bay and Flame decided to consolidate the two restaurants – and their vastly different menus – and sell the Flame location. The renovations inside are on the part of the new owner, he said, adding that he does not know what the new owner plans to do with the restaurant.

A call to the new owner has not yet been returned. In the meantime, most of the original Flame menu (burgers, fries and onion rings, chicken tenders, BBQ sandwiches, and salads) can be found at Elliott Bay Pizza Co. alongside its existing pizzas, pastas, salads, calzones and subs. The only items not available in the new merger are Flame’s tacos and shakes.

And as for the fate of Flame’s old homestead, we’ll keep you posted as we learn more about what will be moving in.

Zaw artisan pizza opens today

After a few months of preparation, Zaw artisan pizza is opening its new Upper Queen Anne location, at 1635 Queen Anne Ave. N., at 2 p.m. today, Saturday, April 10.

This it the fourth Seattle store for co-owners Greg Waring and Greg Scott, who decided to open a bake-at-home pizza joint that focused on seasonal, local and organic food and drink after years in the restaurant and consulting business.

“Zaw was our mid-life crisis,” Waring said. “If it doesn’t have a bit of soul, it doesn’t go into a bite of Zaw.”

Greg and Greg opened up the new shop yesterday for training, creating a few practice pizzas for Queen Anne-ers free of charge. They will also be extending their hours for this particular location based on community feedback (2 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday).

“We had a lot of Queen Anne residents who were driving to Ballard or South Lake Union,” Waring said. “We got a lot of requests. So when this location became available, we snapped it up.”

Zaw is using the opening of the Queen Anne location to introduce a number of new products, including bake-at-home cookies (in classic chocolate chip or double decadent chocolate), as well as new local drinks, wines and beers.

Every Zaw pizza has the option of whole-wheat or gluten-free crust, and is wrapped in a cardboard circle with plastic wrap and baking instructions (10 minutes to cook), reducing the pizza box waste by 3/4.

The Maxwell Hotel now open

After months of construction in Lower Queen Anne, The Maxwell Hotel finally opened at 300 Roy Street on Monday, March 22.

The Maxwell is owned by Columbia West Properties, the company behind the University Inn, Ramada Seattle and The Watertown Hotel. It has 140 rooms, and according to, exercise facility, meeting spaces, espresso bar and an indoor pool with tiles painted by local children (I contacted Columbia West Properties to verify this several months ago and have still not heard back). The hotel also has four spaces for ground-level retail, which as of yesterday appeared to still be vacant.

QA’s newest taco spot: Barracuda Taqueria

Barracuda Taqueria, located at 159 Denny Way (#109), opened exactly two weeks ago today, bringing “real, south of the border, street food” to Lower Queen Anne.

The new Mexican food spot has a lengthy and inexpensive menu, that boasts “freshly prepared, locally sourced ingredients.”

Barracuda is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Has anyone tried them out yet? What did you think? (P.s. we’ll be adding Barracuda to the restaurant guide soon!)

New shop ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ opens today, bringing handmade bags & animated hats to the hill

Emma Roscoe has been designing colorful handmade and custom bags through her line, Red Delicious, for seven years. Two years ago Lynn Rosskamp left a job in social work to create funky fun fleece hats through her business PingiHats. Both are Queen Anne residents and vendors at Pike Place Market. And as of today, Tuesday, February 23, they are Queen Anne’s newest shop owners!

Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous (whose website is still in the works), located at 6 W Howe St Suite #2 (on the second floor) just off Queen Anne Ave N., is the brain child of Lynn and Emma, who decided to open the joint studio and retail space together, though they admit to having very different styles.

“Our work matches because it’s very different,” Emma said, noting that both love to splash lots of color into their work. “It comes from the same place in our hearts–a love for design.”

Emma’s handbags are crafted with designs and colors she selects to fit her style. You won’t find plain old black and white bags with boring lining here. Everything she makes is bright and cheery, sprinkled with upbeat colors and patterns. Why? “Life is too short to have boring bags,” she said.

“I hadn’t sewn in about 20 years when I started making bags. I was looking for the perfect bag and I couldn’t find it,” Emma said. “I’ve never used a pattern–I design bags to suit me, and if it suits me, it suits a lot of other women.”

(Red Delicious bags range in price from $12 to $100. Customers may choose from one of Emma’s designs, or have their own custom-made).

Lynn brings the same unique design to her hats, which range from colorful adult winter-wear, to customized hats designed to look like your pet (just bring in a picture!), and even a Halloween-themed zombie with a detachable ear (for realism, of course). Everything is made out of polar fleece, which Lynn has dubbed “the play dough of fabric,” because it’s fun and easy to mold into interested shapes and styles. (PingiHats vary from $22 to $34 each).

If you want something a little less eye-catching, Lynn says “You can go to Old Navy or Fred Meyer. I dare you to find a zombie with a removable ear!”

“It definitely assures people that they get something they won’t find anywhere else,” Emma said.

And though their styles often draw in different crowds, the pair say they share a lot of the same customer base. “There are people who buy both,” Lynn said.

Lynn and Emma held a soft opening at their new shop on Saturday, where they showcased their own work and that of a few other market artists who will have displays in the store, including Kim Sun Designs.

Both Lynn and Emma will be splitting their time between Pike Place Market, where their main clientele are tourists visiting the popular city landmark, and the new Queen Anne store, which they hope to make their more permanent, local crafting home base. Though opening up shop in the current economy was certainly a risk, both agreed that the chance to connect to Seattle and the local Queen Anne community was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

“The market is a business incubator for homemade crafts people,” Lynn said.”People in Seattle get that if you buy local, everything stays local.”

“If you look up and down Queen Anne Avenue, you can see the community is very supportive,” Emma said.

What’s most important is that it gives both of them the time and space to move out of their home offices and expand their businesses. Up until this point, Lynn has been using her attic as a craft room, while Emma’s been working within the confines of a small closet.

“This is a chance to move my work out of my house and make my cats less sad,” Lynn laughed.

Absolutely Fabulous will be open from noon to 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, February 23. Because Lynn and Emma have irregular schedules due to the market, the shop will not have definite hours each week. Check their website, Facebook page, and the sign post outside for an up to date schedule.

Opal Bistro reopens as 21+ Flow Lounge

First the signs in the window read “Watch for the Monkey,” Then the monkey told us to “Watch for the flow.” After months of debate as to what would follow the late Opal Bistro, which closed back on Halloween night, I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of the monkey mystery at the corner of Boston and Queen Anne Ave N. The former Opal Bistro has reopened as Flow, a 21 and over cocktail lounge.

Flow Lounge

I spoke with owner, Orrapin, who said that after two years in Queen Anne, Opal Bistro just wasn’t working.

“Fine dining doesn’t work up here,” she said. “I think in this economy anything that pricey just isn’t going to work. I’m trying to accommodate the community.”

Instead of closing up shop Orrapin, who also owns Orrapin Thai Cuisine next door, decided to reinvent the corner spot and make it into something new – a cocktail lounge with an array of drinks, small bites and a much cheaper menu.

Orrapin describes her vision for the new restaurant as “A place where you can have a drink, bring a friend over, have a small meal.” She decided to make Flow 21 and up because she says Queen Anne “has enough family restaurants.” She wanted Flow to be an affordable place for patrons to “wind down” after a long day.

Flow Lounge

The two level interior is decked out with tall tables, stools and creative couches, and is, as most lounges, dimly lit. Drinks range from $3 bottled beers to $10 for the pricier cocktails. The menu offers three salad choices, a variety of appetizers (or “small bites”) including seared scallops ($6) and lemongrass pork satay ($5), a handful of bigger meals, and a daily selection of desserts. The most expensive dishes on the menu? Grilled wild salmon served with sauteed veggies, and a 6 oz rib eye steak with sauteed mushrooms, both at $12 a pop.

Flow also has a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. daily that boasts red and white wines for $4 a class, the cocktail of the day for $5, $3 garlic fries, and a $5 mini cheeseburger, to name a few.

Flow had its soft opening on Saturday, January 30. They’re open daily, from 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

As for the Monkey? Orrapin laughed as she explained the mystery behind the very demanding monkey hanging in the window all those months. “The monkey is my sign,” she said. “That’s me! Without using my name, when it said ‘Watch for the Monkey,’ it was saying watch for me.”