Plan for ‘European style’ Capitol Hill Sunday Market takes shape

(Images: Fremont Sunday Market)

(Images: Fremont Sunday Market)

Ryan Reiter already has Seattle foodies buzzing about a summer street food festival coming to Capitol Hill but it’s the other project stemming from his family business of Seattle markets that might make an even more lasting impression on the neighborhood.

“We like being dropped right in the middle of the neighborhood,” Reiter says of a plan he is pulling together to bring a new “European style” Sunday market to Capitol Hill to complement the weekly Broadway Farmers Market with a venue for artisans and shopkeepers to sell their creations, special finds and one-of-a-kind items.

This Sunday, the Broadway Farmers Market opens its 2013 season and has big plans for expansion including transitioning to a year-round schedule and eventually being part of an open plaza being designed into the nearby Capitol Hill Station when it comes online in 2016.

“We want to offer creative people an affordable storefront for the day,” Reiter says of his family’s markets. They’re the force behind the Fremont Sunday Market and the Ballard Farmers Market. What he envisions on Capitol Hill is something akin to the Fremont effort with a mix of vendors paying either a flat rate or a capped percentage of sales to be part of a weekly street festival somewhere in Pike/Pine.

“What we’re looking for right now is a place to hold it,” Reiter said. And they’re looking in a hurry. The market and event promoter tells CHS he expects to pull together the first Capitol Hill market this summer.

Connections forged with the Pike/Pine nightlife entrepreneurs — Neumos’ Mike Meckling has partnered with Reiter in the past — and Hill community groups will help.

The Street Food Festival planning diagrams

The Street Food Festival planning diagrams

Seattle Street Food Festival comes to Capitol Hill
To convince the various powers that be at City of Seattle agencies that 11th Ave along Cal Anderson was a suitable home for a Seattle Street Food Festival this August, Reiter said he first had to convince the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Cal Anderson Park Alliance, the community group that helps protect and enhance the park, to support his project’s move to the Hill.

On August 10th, that effort will pay off with a one-day street food extravaganza featuring a planned 50+ vendors.

“The festival is for showcasing chefpreneurs — people who are showcasing their heritage, their family business and making great food,” Reiter said.

Here’s more from

The festival is set to highlight the best food carts, booths, restaurants and trucks for a one day festival in Seattle’s own vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood on Saturday, August 10th. This new festival is aimed at offering Seattle an urban picnic style food court along Cal Anderson Park that is free to the public showcasing the culinary talents of Seattle’s most talented new chefs and entrepreneurs

The festival will include over 50 street food vendors, small batch beer + spirits festival, kids court and night market with local chefs teaming up for charity in collaboration with The One Night Only Project (

The chef driven pop-up diner portion will be an «al fresco» served family style with some of Seattle’s top chefs like Josh Henderson (Skillet and Westward/Lil Gull) , Ethan Stowell (Staple & Fancy, Rione, Bar Cotto) and others for a fun cook-off to raise money and awareness for their favorite charities.

“This year will be kind of a test to see how it works,” Reiter said. “I think it’s going to be another nice addition. It’s just a big urban picnic.”

The first annual event takes place Saturday, August 10th from 3 PM to 11 PM.

149410_10151653401916328_1118236682_nBy then, it’s possible we’ll already be enjoying the fruit of Reiter’s labor to create the weekly Capitol Hill market.

Important friends
Key to making it happen could very well be support, Reiter says, from the guys behind the Capitol Hill Block Party and the soon-to-open Lost Lake diner to name a few of their Pike/Pine-related ventures. Reiter said he’ll need support from local restaurants, bars and merchants — if nothing else, gaining their support for closing off a street for the marketplace but also, to make the whole thing fly, possible financial support to augment the $50 to $250 or so the market will collect from its vendors to finance the venture. Reiter says Jason Lajeunesse and Dave Meinert are among those interested in making the market happen.

The annual Block Party could be one possible source of neighborhood funding to get the Capitol Hill Sunday Market started. As part of its efforts to be a better neighbor, the three-day music festival has been looking for ways to give back to the business community around Pike/Pine to help mitigate some of the losses businesses like salons and studios suffer during Block Party. It won’t be an easy sell for everyone, however, as some merchants have already let it be known they wouldn’t welcome the market regularly blocking off their street.

532198_10151651788866328_1645745475_n“There’s a vibrant nightlife scene here — how do we create something that is inviting to families and locals during the day?” Reiter asks.

Vintage and flea market shopping was already a strong part of Capitol Hill culture before Professor Macklemore made it super-famous. To date, the Hill’s market attempts have mostly been small and funky — Century Ballroom’s indoor market, Badwill, Hangover Flea Market, Artache, the dry cleaner guerilla market, and, yes, even the annual Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day, to name a few.

[mappress mapid=”40″]The most logical candidate for hosting a market might just be 11th Ave between Pine and Pike. CHS won’t speak for the businesses that call the stretch home but we will say that a bunch of treasure hunters out for shopping would likely be right up Value Village’s alley. No pressure Purr, Grimm’s, Barca, Vermillion, etc. You, too, Crypt and whatever new retail moves in when the Sunset Electric construction project wraps up next year.

For Reiter, a Capitol Hill extension of his family’s 23 years in the Seattle market business makes too much sense not to pursue. He says it took Fremont nearly a decade to reach critical mass — today it draws a few hundred thousand shoppers a year. With more planning and the Hill’s demographics, Reiter said he thinks a market here could reach Fremont’s size in three years. But it won’t be a totally new effort — he says his father tried to do this before about 10 years ago on Broadway.

“That didn’t last,” Reiter said. “I guess the area wasn’t ready for it. It’s changed.”

Follow the Capitol Hill Sunday Market Facebook page for updates.35025_10151654752956328_1323535785_n

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

8 thoughts on “Plan for ‘European style’ Capitol Hill Sunday Market takes shape

  1. Excellent. I hope the whole neighborhood comes out in support of this. Thousands of people on the streets in our hood on a Sunday. Very cool. We should really just shut down E Pike between Broadway and 12th Friday at 5 until Sunday evening every week. This market as well as all sort of other happenings could take place, and it would be much safer Friday and Saturday nights. Either way, this idea is a great first step.

  2. Not a replay really, but it is not necessary for everything in the city to be on the same three blocks. A permanent market, if one is built has lots of good locations but they should be east of the Pike/Pine business district. 15th and Madison would be good, as would 22nd and Madison. Another better location would be at about 11th and Union, in the triangle. Another good location would be the roof of the SCCC parking garage, or even on the SU campus. Lot’s of locations that are far more suitable than in the Pike/Pine corridor.

  3. Thank you for the early feedback. We are simply looking for a long term home or place that offers high street visibility and can grow in the future years. So part of this whole article is to ask, where would the community most enjoy it.

    This is for the community and must serve it as well. So we are always open to discuss and share thought collectively. Our neighbors feedback is greatly valued.

    Thanks and please feel free to email me with suggestions at

  4. Or it could be on a street that is central, developing, and near things like restaurants, a book and record store, and a park. Something that drives daytime business in Pike/ Pine would be very welcome.

  5. Pingback: Seattle Street Food Festival at Cal Anderson Park takes shape with first look at restaurant, food truck and pop-up roster | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  6. Pingback: Seattle Street Food Fest at Cal Anderson — first look at restaurant, food … « Street Food Locator

  7. Pingback: CHS Pics | The Seattle Street Food Festival comes to Capitol Hill | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  8. Pingback: CHS Pics | The Seattle Street Food Festival comes to Capitol Hill « Street Food Locator