Le Panier

1902 Pike Place

Le Panier sign, Pike Place Market, August 21, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Baguettes, Le Panier, Seattle, Courtesy Le Panier
Kristi Drake and Thierry Mougin, Le Panier, Seattle, 1980s, Courtesy Le Panier
Thierry Mougin and Kristi Drake, Le Panier, Seattle, 1980s, Courtesy Le Panier
Bakers and baked goods, Le Panier, Seattle, 1983, Courtesy Le Panier
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Le Panier founder Hubert Loevenbruck began business in Oregon, bringing seven bakers from France to counteract a dearth of artisanal breads to accompany the cheeses and charcuterie he was importing. He jumped at the opportunity to add a Seattle bakery in such a dynamic setting, the only location remaining today. When this bakery opened its doors in 1983, rebuilding of the Stewart House (originally constructed in 1902) had just been completed.

Kristi Drake and Thierry Mougin (one of those original seven bakers) were on staff the day Le Panier opened. After following other pursuits for a spell, the two purchased the business from Loevenbruck in 1995. With 35-plus years on this prominent corner in the Market, Drake notes with fondness the community that exists among the merchants, saying many of them have become dear friends.

This is not just a bakery, nor even a French bakery, but a very French bakery — as its sign says. The aromas wafting from the front door attest to that, and to the fact that all those loaves of bread, buttery pastries, pretty macarons (of which they sell about 15,000 per week) and other temptations are baked on site. It adds a certain panache to your Market shopping trip, tucking a fresh baguette under your arm as you continue along your way.

Continue north on Pike Place, passing the early Starbucks shop (and the inevitable line formed out front). Starbucks first opened its doors in 1971 about a block to the north on Western Avenue. But the shop now at 1912 Pike Place has been operating since 1976, and retains the original logo, color scheme, and other nods to its roots. A couple of doors to the north, turn right just past The Souk and walk straight ahead toward your next stop.

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