For a moment, allow yourself to measure vibrancy by the delicious sweetness of an excellent treat. And, why would you not? Pike/Pine, the very model for vibrant, urban renewal, sports a fleet of shops dealing sugar and butter concoctions. This week, there’s an uptick in vim on north Broadway. While gearing up for a big June 4th grand opening celebration, The Confectional, quietly, is already open for business near the intersection with Roy. And there is plenty of butter and sugar inside.
“It’s been a very slow start,” Confectional co-owner Paul Verano tells CHS. “We get these great little rushes. People are very excited.”
These aren’t the words of a complaining business person. Verano and co-owner Destiny Sund decided to open last Thursday to give the cheesecake shop a chance to acclimate to its new Capitol Hill environment. Their first store has been doing business in Pike Place Market since December 2006. While the menu of cheesecakes and drinking chocolates is the same you’ll find at the market, logistical issues like hours require some local experimentation.
Operating outside the market where merchants face strict rules about what they can sell will open up some new avenues for Confectional but most important is the new, much larger bakery space.
The newly renovated Broadway shop has a small sit-down area, a display counter full of mini cheesecakes and truffles and a huge kitchen where production for the Confectional business has shifted. The $115,000 construction budget of the former 4,400 square-foot retail space has created a working bakery in the middle of Broadway that will produce anywhere between 500 and 1,000 cheesecakes on a give day. Four new employees joined the business with the Capitol Hill expansion. Verano says this time of year their wedding business is just starting to settle down.
They found the location, Sund said, out of luck when they were first starting their expansion plans and still looking to buy a space. They had a tough meeting at Roy Street Coffee where they learned it wasn’t going to be easy to find what they were looking to buy. Walking back to the car, they saw a “for lease” sign hanging at 618 Broadway E.
It was the end of a long search. “We looked everywhere in Settle for over two years,” Verano said. “We looked in Georgetown, we looked in Wallingford.”
Verano also said he considered Pike/Pine. “I don’t want to be there competing with frozen custard, Molly Moon’s and pie.”
As far as the competition does go, Confectional puts up a pretty good fight. The shop typically offers 14 different varieties of cheesecakes ranging from basic NY-style to Mexican Chocolate. There’s a sugar free variety and customers can special order gluten-free crustless cakes. Going vegan, however, is another story.
Sund said they are also considering teaming up with other local restaurants and businesses on Broadway for “proprietary” flavors. Apparently there’s already something underway with the across-the-street De Luxe. Confectional’s northern neighbor Poppy could also be a candidate.
Verano and Sund say they envision visits to The Confectional as a brief stay to enjoy a treat or, better yet, grabbing a cheesecake to eat on a stroll down Broadway. Verano also promises frozen hot chocolate shots — like a rich Fudgecicle — in summer.
For now, you’ll find The Confectional open for business during most days as the June 4th grand opening approaches. Hours, like we said, are still being worked out.
You can learn more at http://www.theconfectional.com/