"I grew up going to vacation on the boardwalk. The salt water taffy that we sell is from the beach that I used to vacation at in Delaware," says 23-year-old Ashley Jones, who opened Popcorn Pavilion in Bellevue Square with her husband Grant nearly two months ago.
"Grant and I both have worked on the recipes together. A lot of them are my initial ideas, but he's done a lot of the tweaking to make them really, really great."
There are 16 flavors to chose from.
"Butter and Sea Salt, Kettle Corn, and some more unique flavors such as Green Tea and Sea Salt which is made with organic Matcha powder," says Grant. "We did Pumpkin Spice Pecan in the fall and now Peppermint Cocoa is our winter offering."
Their most popular flavor?
"I believe we have the best caramel corn in the world," Grant says.
Ashley agrees. "It's an entirely different experience. It's warm when it comes out and people are always amazed by that. The first they say when they taste it is, 'Oh my gosh! It's warm!" It's just something you can't get anywhere else in this area at all."
The young couple met while attending the University of Washington, both ditching their respective majors (English and Psychology for Ashley, Philosophy and English Lit for Grant) to pursue their popcorn dream after graduation.
"My aunt has a great way of making popcorn on the stove and so, we never really were into the microwave popcorn or movie theater popcorn," Ashley says. "I really started getting into culinary stuff a few years ago and I started playing with popcorn because it was just already there as part of my food background."
Grant says their popcorn is superior because of the ingredients they use.
"As soon as it goes into your mouth you understand. It's a different type of popcorn, right down to the kernels we use. They're really big. They call it the largest expansion rate of popcorn, so you don't get any popcorn that's bigger than this.
"And then the way our equipment works, everything just coats perfectly well and so you just get this really nice popcorn experience," says Grant.
As head chef, Ashley gives us a glimpse into her passion for popcorn, "The product creates this mentality of being a kid again and having fun and not having any worries."
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