April 4

Market Watch

The neighborhood’s biggest weekly food event is back, and it’s better than ever.

Food lovers, rejoice! The SLU Saturday Market returns to the neighborhood on 9th Avenue North, next to Denny Park, on May 5. The market, which mimics an open-air food hall, will be home to some of Seattle’s finest street food vendors, farm stalls, crafts, and more.

According to managing director Ryan Reiter, whose family started some of the city’s most popular markets, the SLU Saturday Market is meant to be all about community and food. “What we thought at the time was that we don’t have a market that really focuses on food, specifically street food. People weren’t necessarily in need another place to buy produce. What we wanted was to have a town-square feel with this market, a place where you could grab brunch with friends, and really enjoy this culturally diverse neighborhood. We also wanted to highlight food products we should see more of in Seattle,” he explains.

Last year’s market saw a number of rotating weekly themes, ranging from Island Style to the popular Ice Cream Social, which highlighted cold desserts from standouts like Susu Thai Rolled Ice Cream, Sweet Bumpas, and more. Patrons can expect a number of themes this year. Watch for an Urban Plant pop up shop, a taco-themed event, and yes, the Ice Cream Social will be back, too.

As the neighborhood continues to evolve, so does its institutions. Last year’s market saw more than 55,000 visitors over the course of its season, and this year’s attendance is expected to outpace that mark. “One thing we decided to look at was to find new ways to constantly refresh the market. Last year we created more pop-up themes where every weekend could be a different thing,” Reiter says.

One of 2017’s most buzzworthy events was a night market, and that popularity has translated into a new monthly event. Starting on May 19 this year, the SLU Saturday Market will be making night moves—the KURB Night Market will take the place of the regular Saturday shindig at the same SLU location. Once a month, expect a night market with foods like egg puffs from Puffle Up, fun, fish-shaped sweet and savory waffles from BeanFish, cheese raclette from Fire and Scrape, authentic pastrami sandwiches from neighborhood favorite Pastrome, and much more. Beginning in June, the KURB Night Market will join forces with Seattle Outdoor Cinema to add more entertainment elements to this outdoor affair.

Reiter is confident that the SLU Saturday Market will continue to foster community in growing South Lake Union. “This market will build on authentic street food that you can’t find elsewhere in Seattle, food that’s made by people that live and work in this city. We want everyone to have fun with food. People could really use a sense of community, especially in SLU.”

SLU Saturday Market opens on Saturday, May 5. Hours are 11am to 4pm, unless it’s a night market. Watch the market’s Facebook page for further details.

Story by Ethan Chung and Photography by Matthew Sumi.

At The Center

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