Islander King follows her dream to Kitchen & Market

Meal kits get customers cooking.

Stephanie King has always been hooked on grocery stores and often wondered what her dream shopping spot would be like.

Now she knows the answer — and it’s right in her own hands as the owner of Kitchen & Market, which will hold its grand opening on Nov. 6 at Pike Place Market.

The Mercer Island resident feels that shopping should be pleasant and easy, and she hopes that her vision will resonate with customers who visit her small-format, 5,000-square-foot shop packed with 1,000 items.

“You are getting a window into my pantry when you come into the store,” said King, adding that her team has curated and selected its products from primarily private labels.

Also on tap in the store are sandwiches, salads and an in-store chef who will get cooking with demonstrations and whip up samples in the sparkling kitchen situated in the center of the store. King said the store feels like home.

Kitchen & Market’s main feature on its robust menu are meal kits prepared from scratch with high-quality ingredients in its SODO commissary by executive chef Tori Mann and then sold at the shop. Customers take the kits home and get involved in the whole inspirational experience by stepping into the chef’s shoes and cooking the meals on their own.

Mann has incorporated some of King’s own recipes into the mix. Sticky sticky Hawaiian chicken, chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs and a Vietnamese noodle bowl are some of the meal-kit highlights that can help solve the “what’s-for-dinner?” issue, King said.

King — who formerly worked in private-label grocery building programs for national retailers — has been cooking her entire life and enjoys feeding her family and friends. She calls cooking her “love language” and is supplying customers with ingredients and recipes that she would be proud to serve at her own table.

“I feel like this grocery store is there to help make people, like myself, be able to feel successful at balancing our everyday busy lives with doing this one thing that makes everyone feel good, which is putting dinner on the table for your family or your friends or even just yourself,” said King, a mom, whose husband was born and raised on Mercer Island and whose father was raised on the Island. King’s husband played a major role in the start-up as the in-store builder.

King’s business idea popped into her head about five years ago and she decided to give it a go two years later. As King worked on her game plan, COVID hit and one of her friends asked her to do a Mother’s Day brunch to test her meal kits as a fundraiser for Mary’s Place, a nonprofit organization that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services for women, children and families. With her daughter — then a Mercer Island High School senior — helping her launch Kitchen & Market, they served 250 meal kits and donated $10,000 to Mary’s Place.

Seattle restaurateur Ethan Stowell played a key role during that time by letting King take over his Cortina kitchen — which was vacant because of COVID — to produce the meal kits. She continued delivering her popular meal kits in Seattle, on the Island and across the Eastside and that paved the road to her opening Kitchen & Market.

“It’s insane and I’m so excited. I made my dream happen and it feels amazing,” King said. “I tell people often that I am very aware that I am one of the very few people who I think was able to actually build something through COVID. I feel really lucky and grateful for that because I know it’s been very hard for a lot of people.”

King sung the praises of her Mercer Island friends and network who have supported her over the last year or so. She wants to open a Kitchen & Market on the Island when the right location comes into view.

Her location at Pike Place Market is ideal because the market is associated with food and it attracts customers from all over the region. Her loyal Seattle customers are nearby along with Islanders who rolled up Interstate 90 to visit the shop during its soft opening.

A crucial part of Kitchen & Market’s infrastructure is its strong team of women that run the show, from King to Mann to director of marketing Andrea Lee to director of purchasing and merchandising Rachel Dykes.

“I think it shows through the entire customer experience that this is a grocery store that was built by women,” said King, adding that she’s lucky to have her female colleagues by her side. “I’ve always laughed that grocery is a male-dominated industry and yet the No. 1 customer is women, so I’m kind of trying to change that.”

Kitchen & Market is located at 1926 Pike Place (next to Pike & Western Wine Shop) and will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The grand opening will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 6.

For more information and to order Thanksgiving meal kits, visit