Cheese, Greens and Ice Cream at Chophouse row


Nicole Schlaeppi

Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

Those who frequent Melrose Market know that it’s kind of a community wonderland. Different permanent vendors make space to sell their wines, meats, beeswax candles and anything else you can package into a mason jar.

Liz Dunn, co-developer of Melrose Market, has put together a new project on Capitol Hill. It’s called Chophouse Row, and it boasts a collection of small businesses that are just now starting to open.

Nicole Schlaeppi  •  The spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

Chophouse Row, located on 11th and Pine, is a new european style Market place with many different shops, restaurants, and picnic spots.

Chophouse Row is partially located inside one of the old buildings amidst the block of construction off of Pike Street and 11th Avenue. In 1919, the Chophouse building was initially an auto parts store. It’s more recent history is that it was rented out to musicians as a place to practice and play. The nearly century-old building is now being reawakened once again.

Chophouse Row is basically a pathway into a courtyard, with entrances to shops and restaurants all along the way. Dunn has kept some of the bare structure as a baseline, but accentuated it with planters and other touches, breathing new life into old bones.

Overhanging the courtyard are ancient-looking arches, and a slatted metal staircase leads up to a second layer of shop access. Climbing up and down the iron rungs makes you feel a bit like an urban monkey, but also like you’ve arrived in a magical little nook that couldn’t possibly be in the middle of a city.

Chophouse Row features several new shops, but also a lot of old favorites that suddenly have a new access point. For example, Cupcake Royale now has a back porch on the second tier of the Row. Pacific Supply Co. and La Spiga also have new vantage points.

Among the newcomers are Upper Bar Ferd’nand, (Lower Bar Ferd’nand is a resident of Melrose Market), Niche Outside, a cute little odds-and-ends store, and Kurt Farm Shop.

spotlight on Kurt Farm Shop

Kurt Timmermeister actually had no intention of opening up an ice cream parlor. Kurt Farm Shop is one of Chophouse Row’s featured inhabitants, and unlike some of the other shops, it is opening its doors for the first time in this little corner of the Hill.

Nicole Schlaeppi  •  The spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

Chophouse Row, located on 11th and Pine, is a new european style Market place with many different shops, restaurants, and picnic spots.

Timmermeister has owned other food ventures for years, and has long tended a farm on Vashon Island. While he wasn’t necessarily looking to become an ice cream expert, when he heard that Liz Dunn was designing another market, he wanted to be a part of it.

“I told her I’d lease these three hundred square feet, and then I had to go and find something to do with it,” Timmermeister said.

The shop is small, with a little space in front to order ice cream or cheese, and a kitchen in the back, where Timmermeister makes the ice cream. The shop’s doors connect with the vendor on its other side, in true market fashion. The ice cream is made the same way he makes it on his farm, and the cheese is sourced from his farm and other local vendors.

Among the ice cream selections are flavors like rhubarb, salted lum and Flora’s cheese. All are both locally and seasonally based. And fresh. My personal favorite of the ones I tried was Flora’s Cheese—although you might not initially think that cheese crumbles in your ice cream would make for a good flavor, it was just creamy enough to work, and to work really well.

While munching on my ice cream, I noticed a selection of started plants out front for purchase. Fresh ice cream, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce make for a friendly cohort of products that all pass forward the same theme—fresh is better, local is better.

And why is it superior? According to Timmermeister, it is essentially due to one reason: it just tastes better. And he wants to share that.

Scoops are mildly pricy, but worth it. If you’re going to spring for good ice cream anywhere else on the Hill anyway, you should definitely swing by Kurt Farm Shop.
“There are great farms around here, and there is great food,” Timmermeister said. “And we should look inward first and see what is available within our county or adjoining counties as well.”

Lena may be reached at [email protected]