Pybus Public Market opened last May, adding 20 more reasons why the city of Wenatchee makes a great getaway location. The market, which is adjacent to Confluence Park and has a great waterfront view, has 20 upscale restaurants and retail tenants that bring a bit of chic to the farming community.
The building itself is a renovated steel warehouse that was built by Wenatchee pioneer E.T. Pybus in 1946. When the Port of Chelan County purchased it in 2010 it had been vacant for about 40 years. Visionaries researched public markets on the West Coast and came up with a modern industrial look that is reminiscent of The Ferry Building in San Francisco, although it is billed as a mini Pike Place Market.
Here are some highlights of what you will find in Pybus Public Market. Don’t go to Wenatchee without checking it out!
Diners at Pybus Public Market can choose Latin, Italian or French cuisine from three of the finest restaurants in the state. The focus is on fresh, local cuisine – and when you’re located in Wenatchee that means food within a 10-mile radius, or in this case, just a few doors down at your neighbor’s venue.
South serves South and Central American cuisine just like its owner’s original restaurant in Leavenworth. It is located in the corner of the market with a balcony that overlooks the entire floor, providing the best seat in the house. Appealing to the palate of those who enjoy Latin flavor, it offers unique dishes that are not easily found in our region
Fire and Ice, owned by the folks who own the fine Italian dining restaurant Visconti’s, is a duo of venues placed side-by-side. Fire serves wood-fired, Napoletana-style pizza made with locally cured meats and cheeses, along with artisan salads. The authentic Italian pizza is lighter than America’s version and extremely flavorful. Next door, Ice serves authentic Italian-style gelato made fresh daily on site, locally roasted Caffe Mela espresso, and fresh off the griddle crepes. It’s a delightful dessert spot and equally wonderful for a morning espresso and crepe.
Pybus Bistro, the inaugural restaurant of Frank Dennis and Michelle Lak, is truly an American dream come true. Dennis and Lak grew up together in Wenatchee, moved to Seattle and Portland where they were trained as chefs, and returned home to open this superb “blue-collar” French bistro. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, and it is divine, from the pomme frites with aioli sauce to the artisan salads and sandwiches to the Pluot Clafouti – a custardy pie baked with fresh fruit, served with an enormous scoop of freshly whipped cream. And that is only part of the lunch menu; there are many more delicacies, all authentic and locally sourced.
Although there is a florist, a shop that sells home décor, and Country Store, which features the best of the seasonal vendors who occupy the space outside of the market, the majority of merchants at Pybus Public Market focus on food and drink. Visitors will enjoy the German-style roasted nuts of Almond Blossom Roasted Nuts; locally-raised beef, chicken and pork, and fresh seafood, as well as smoked meats and cheeses at Mike’s Meat & Seafood; family-grown produce, along with 10 kinds of freshly-made salsa and guacamole, at Royal Produce; wine at Jones of Washington; tea and spices at Cha; and sodas and candy you can’t find anywhere else at The Sweet Spot.
D’Olivo, a shop that sells imported flavored vinegars and infused oils, has been a big hit at the market. Boasting the highest quality, award-winning extra virgin olive oils and vinegars, sea salts and unique spices and rubs not found anywhere else in Eastern Washington, it offers samples that will knock your socks off. There are limitless combinations of oil and vinegar, and the staff knows what works well to enhance what you’re cooking for dinner. This is a definite treasure trove of culinary delights, not to be missed.
Another treasure unique to Pybus Public Market is Auvil’s Select Fruit, the only retail store run by this pioneer of the apple industry in the Wenatchee Valley. Auvil’s has exported their finest apples and cherries to Asia and high-end grocery stores for 85 years; and believe me, this store alone is almost worth the trip over the mountains. It sells small Honey Crisps for a dollar a pound, and if you are an apple lover, you have to try the Aurora variety – one of the tastiest apples I’ve ever eaten, only grown by Auvil’s.
Open year-round, Pybus Public Market makes Wenatchee a destination spot worthy of attention for more than its fruit harvest. For more information, visit www.wenatchee.org and www.pybuspublicmarket.org.
Photos by Elizabeth Griffin
Trip sponsored by Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce.