FOOD HALLS AND INDIE GROCERS LONG AGO INVADED BIG CITIES across the country. Now this trend is bringing residents and visitors in smaller urban centers closer to locally sourced foods. Washington State’s capital, Olympia—a small city of 51,000—has a food-hall centerpiece, 222 Market, that has become a destination all its own.
Within its walls, hungry visitors find an eclectic array of local treats. Stopping for a bite at as many establishments as your appetite will allow is the way to experience the best of what 222 Market is dishing up.
Start with a nutritional boost at the Salt, Fire & Time Broth Bar, where you can sample your choice of small-batch-made bone broths adorned with a sprinkle of add-ons. Try the lamb broth with a pinch of alder-smoked salt and pile on other additives such as chickpea miso, grated turmeric root and braised beef tongue. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Next, step around the corner for some briny protein at Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar. Executive chef Austin Navarre has created a wide-ranging menu with everything from gazpacho to shrimp tacos. But you’re here to taste what local Chelsea Farms of nearby Eld Inlet is all about. Order up a fresh-shucked halfdozen of the Gem and the Bonita, both delectable Pacific oysters right off the farm. Ask your server to suggest a nice glass of bubbly to wash down the morsels.
It’s time for a digestive, so step across the hall to Blind Pig Spirit’s tasting room for a sample of moonshine made on site. The apple pie shine is a must. You’ll be tempted to buy a bottle for yourself and gift one to all your friends.
Ready for a main course? The food at The Creperie is as authentic as you will find outside of Brittany. Savory or sweet fillings wrapped in a warm, thin buckwheat blanket amounts to the ultimate comfort food. Select a choice from the menu or build your own crepe creation.
When it’s time for dessert, have two: one at The Bread Peddler and one at Sofie’s Scoops. Too many choices can be a good thing when it comes to artisan-baked goods, and the bakery case at The Bread Peddler presents choices galore, whether you’re in the mood for a cookie, a buttery sweet pastry or a slice of pie. Sofie’s Scoops scoops up scratch gelato made with fresh milk from a local dairy. There are always new flavors, making staying away from Sofie’s Scoops for very long difficult.
You’ll find 222 Market at 222 Capitol Way North, Olympia; check hours at 222market.com.
Another Foodie Stop
At the corner of Capitol Blvd SE and O’Farrell Ave SE, you’ll find the Wildwood Building, which houses four food purveyors worth the stop. Local owners, local growers, local makers are what this intersection is all about. Fuel up on roasted perfection at Olympia Coffee Roasters; satisfy your pizza cravings at one of the best pizzerias in the Northwest, Vic’s Pizza; grab a gourmet sandwich of artisan-made ingredients at Lucky Lunchbox; and, finally, cruise the pantry shelves at Spud’s Produce Market for locally made condiments, sauces and preserves.