Go Eat! KuKuRuZa -- fun to say and eat

Go Eat! KuKuRuZa -- fun to say and eat
KuKuRuZa: it's the Russian word for popcorn and the name of a new gourmet popcorn shop in downtown Seattle.

"We tried to create a shop in sort of an early Americana, 1920s, 30s, 40s feel. We have the music of the era playing and just the look and feel and smells and sounds of the shop all kind of bring you back to yesteryear," says owner George Marema, who got the idea for KuKuRuZa about seven years ago.

"I was in a movie theater one day and everybody around me was eating popcorn. I don't know why, but it just sort of hit me, 'They have gourmet pretzels and coffees, why not popcorn?'"

That's when he approached his friend chef Robert Hicks who owned a restaurant in Arizona.

"I said, 'Hey, want to be my partner and open a popcorn shop?' and we did it. We had a shop in Arizona in a mall down there for about the past five years."

The guys recently moved their operation to Seattle, launching the grand opening just last weekend.

Robert, a classically French trained sous chef, says the world of popcorn is much more fun.

"The fun part is developing the different flavors. We use a lot of different chocolates and so forth, so, there's a lot of culinary background in it."

Made in small batches with high-quality ingredients, KuKuRuZa offers more than two-dozen flavors, including a daily special.

"We have probably 40 or 50 different flavors that we can do. We have a margarita salt, we have a five pepper cheddar; we're always trying to create new ones."

There's also a handful of holiday flavors.

"We have a candy cane caramel, which is just candy cane tossed in with caramel to melt so you can still get tiny pieces of the candy cane. We have a festive peppermint krackle corn -- it's green and red, Christmas colors. The last one is eggnog with brandy chocolate."

Speaking of brandy, there's an entire "After 5" collection spiked with liquor, like Raspberry Chambord and Amaretto Almond.

"It's a caramel corn which is flavored with a amaretto and then we use a custom roasted salted top-notch almond with that."

If you're not smiling when you arrive at KuKuRuZa, chances are, you will be when you leave.

"It's hard not to have fun with popcorn."

Places George likes to Go Eat!: Belle Epicurean

Places Robert likes to Go Eat!: Belltown Bistro, Belltown Pizza

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