Skillet Street Food serves up some of the most amazing burgers and gourmet street food Seattle has ever tasted. The man behind Skillet? A music major from Western Washington University. Yes, the music community’s loss is the food community’s gain, as Josh Henderson’s Skillet is experiencing a meteoric ascent to the upper echelons of Seattle’s food scene due to Henderson’s great skill in the kitchen.
“Music is so subjective. You can be the best at what you do and people aren’t going to know about it or maybe even like it. As a chef, it’s very easy to know if your food is good and if people like it,” says the soft-spoken Henderson at his Skillet Diner on Capitol Hill, where every table was occupied with diners devouring their food. Judging by the success Skillet has experienced in just 4 years, the people of Seattle like the new music Henderson is composing.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, Henderson bounced around the food industry in various capacities before settling back in to Seattle, taking a chance on introducing gourmet street food to a city whose taste buds didn’t have many choices for mobile eats. In 2007, the iconic silver Airstream was born and became a staple on the streets of Seattle. Four years later, a permanent location—Skillet Diner—opened on Capitol Hill.
Part of what makes Skillet’s burger so amazing is their heavenly bacon jam, elevating the grass-fed Painted Hills beef burger to legendary status. The combination of rendered bacon, onions and spices blended to a smooth consistency is phenomenal. The bacon jam is available online and at select grocers and specialty stores for the scores of fans everywhere.
Riding the wave of bacon jam’s success, a savory pumpkin sauce was introduced to their retail line up this fall. Available in three flavors, the sauce is a seasonal creation used like a ketchup and would make an incredible meatloaf, or a perfect burger condiment.The menu is built around what’s fresh, local, and available in season. Because of this seasonality, Henderson estimates that around 40-50% of their menu rotates throughout the year with new items created weekly, reflecting the bounty of the local food system. The menu in the diner is broader, while the truck focuses on a select few staples such as the to-die-for burger and “chicken sammy.” A second truck hits the streets soon and will be available to eager late-night diners.
With two trucks roaming the streets, a thriving catering business, a second bricks n’ mortar Skillet Counter at The Armory at The Seattle Center, and bacon jam and pumpkin sauce on grocery shelves, Henderson’s Skillet has taken off and that’s music to any food lover’s ears.
Bryan Mills is a Seattle-based writer, photographer and traveler of life with no fixed plans and is never intent on arriving.