Seattle, Washington. The anchor city of the great Pacific Northwest has always been a fantasy favorite of mine. I have admired the hearty, northwestern cuisine- the plank roasted salmon, the grilled halibut, the day-boat scallops caught off the coast of Alaska, often as large as softballs, accompanied by mashed Yukon Golds, along with sautéed slices of pluots, all as picturesque when presented as the shoreline of Whidbey Island.
Ironically, I had never stepped foot in the city. Rain, mist and wind – propelled fog have never been close friends. Tuesday that changed. Sitting on the deck at Ivar´s Salmon House, overlooking Lake Union, waiting for my grilled salmon, the anticipation of tasting Seattle ran high.
But it was more than just getting a taste of this city that intrigued me. I wanted to find out how tough the competition was between restaurant owners. Who catered to the tourists, who catered to the locals? How can that many coffee companies survive?
What I found was interesting. It has to do with branding and name recognition, and who your customers really are and then catering to what they are looking for.
In Seattle, theater comes into play. As owners, we often forget that the clientele we serve enjoys the art of the plate, but often looks for the theater of hospitality. This was apparent at Pike´s Place Market and other venues throughout the city. Next week, we´ll take a closer look at Seattle and see what the industry in the great Northwest has to offer.