Up-to-the-Minute Food News

The shop that started it all. Photo via Beecher's Facebook page.

Beecher’s founder Kurt Dammeier is a busy guy. The Beecher’s outpost in New York is humming along, the airport location remains one of the best food options in the Horizon/Alaska terminal, and the Pike Place Market original is consistently packed. 

But Dammeier's company, Sugar Mountain, has several new projects in the works—two restaurants, a bakery, and a potential meat project. Let's break it down, shall we?

Dammeier has set a firm opening date—October 20—for his 150-seat, 4,800-square-foot restaurant, focusing on adult-friendly platters of protein or vegetables, meant to pass around and share. This is also becoming a testing ground for Dammeier's ardent interest in sausages. He's quite taken with the humble tubesteak’s ability to take an entire plate’s worth of flavors, protein and garnish and sauce, and condense them inside a casing. A freestanding grill on the patio will have a walkup counter and serve up items like, say, a salmon sausage containing dill, parsley pesto, fried capers and red Fresno peppers—a dish currently in rotation at Dammeier's restaurant Bennett's on Mercer Island. 

As the name implies, this restaurant in the former Autosport garage across from Whole Foods in South Lake Union will be similar in spirit to Dammeier’s renowned Maximus Minimus food truck, but not identical. The focus here, he says, is “meats cooked with fire—smoked and grilled.” The restaurant won't open until next year, perhaps around April; Eater Seattle has some details on the menu and layout. Dammeier has three sons; Bennett, already has a restaurant named for him, so dad is finally evening things up for siblings Max and Liam.

Sugar Mountain Bakery
Local pastry doyenne Lucy Damkoehler recently joined the Sugar Mountain empire, and will ultimately land at this store within a store at Max’s. The bakery will be more of a patisserie, says Dammeier, located in the “prow” of the triangular building. According to Eater Seattle, the bakery will also dole out sandwiches made with the meats served up at Max's. Meanwhile, Dammeier says his similarly surnamed pastry chef has “revolutionized” the dessert menu at Bennett’s (think cheesecake with caramel corn, or a strawberrie cookie ice cream sandwich with raspberry freezer jam) and has moved on to Pasta and Co. to “drag us kicking and screaming out of the ‘80s.” Next up: She’ll be on the opening team at Liam’s. 

Fraunhofer Meats and Fish
Recently I was chatting with Shane Lindsay, the founder of high-end Lynnwood meat distributor NW Earth and Ocean (and the guy who helped Luke Donald bring home his Miyazaki cow). He mentioned that Dammeier had recently bought his company. It turns out the new owner has visions of a wholesale retail frontage somewhere close to downtown Seattle, in the spirit of the amazing Big John’s PFI. What might be sold in said retail frontage? Why perhaps Dammeier’s own line of branded sausages. Nothing is confirmed yet, but products like this will be sold under the name Fraunhofer Meats and Fish, after a relative of Dammeier’s who had a cattle ranch in Montana. 

He’s also got 10 heritage piglets out on a farm in Monroe; his friends own the farm, sell their alfalfa to the Beecher’s dairy farmer, who then feeds it to cows that provide Beecher’s with milk for cheese. Finally the company packages up the remaining whey and sends it back to that original farm to feed the pigs. In addition to all the pastoral synergy, Dammeier is hopeful that salty whey will create some flavorful pork.


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