MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — It’s a meat market where you can find the rub of your dreams.
What’s up with that?
Double DD Meats has 3,000 hot sauces, 1,000 barbecue bastes, 500 dry rubs, 400 marinades, 50 flavors of sausage. And about every kind of meat and fowl, tongue to feet, that inhabits the Pacific Northwest.
“You find things here you won’t find anywhere else,” owner Kim Nygard said.
There are cheeses, candies, sodas, scented candles and funny dish towels. Aprons with “I Love Big Butts.”
After all, a store with the same name as a bra size better have a sense of humor.
It’s a family butcher shop, at heart.
After 68 years in business, word gets around. Double DD Meats doesn’t advertise. Reputation fuels the store, 5602 232nd St. SW, in the plaza with Diamond Knot Brewpub and about a block from the Mountlake Terrace Civic Campus complex.
There are 43 people on the payroll, including Nygard’s sons, Jeremy and Justin.
Customer traffic was brisk mid-morning on a recent Wednesday. Some came with a purpose: a pound of meatloaf mix and a few center-cut pork chops. Others perused the sauces, lingering over the labels as if books on a library shelf.
Aisles lined with colorful bottles devoted to sauces, spices and jellies take up about half of the store’s 6,000 square feet. A side wall cooler has elk, rabbit, chicken feet, beef liver and such, neatly wrapped in white paper.
In the front, two long glass counters boast dozens of shades of pink meat, sold by the pound or slab.
You can see sausage being made in the back. It’s really not as bad as it’s rumored to be, once you get past the part that the casing is pig intestine.
Meat is from state cows and pigs.
“We’ve been getting the same local meat in forever,” Jeremy said. “We know exactly what farms these animals are from and that they are fed the right things. That’s information we can pass to our customers.”
The market was started in 1955 by John Dallas and Dan Murray, hence the Double DD name. Nygard’s dad, Les Palaniuk, got a job doing cleanup as a teen in 1957. He bought the store in the 1970s, commuting from the family’s Stanwood home over the years.
Nygard, 54, and her four brothers began helping out in high school. She planned to pursue fashion design, not to wear Double DD shirts the rest of her life.
“Absolutely not,” she said.
Her brothers did other things. She married Tom, a Stanwood dairy farmer, and worked on the farm for seven years. That wasn’t for her. Back to the store she went.
Nygard later bought the market when her father retired in 2014, eight years after the death of her mom, Bonnie. Those Double DD shirts are actually quite fashionable and for sale.
Her sons started behind the counter as teens, with plans to not still be there as adults.
Jeremy, 25, studied environmental science at the University of Washington. Justin, 30, spent two years in China, earned an MBA and is a certified Zumba instructor.
Know where to find the sons now?
Jeremy is in the back cutting meat and twisting sausage. Justin runs the business operations end (and he teaches Zumba two nights a week, at a gym not the store).
Both are engaged. Justin’s fiancee is a vegetarian.
When Mom retires, which isn’t likely to be anytime soon, the sons plan to carry on the business.
Changing the name was never considered. Are you kidding?
“It’s fun to make Double D jokes,” Nygard said. “People will say, ‘Gosh, your chicken breasts are so huge,’ and I go, ‘Yeah, they’re Double Ds.’ But we’re not all about breasts though.”
It’s the go-to place for gifts and necessities.
“We probably sold hundreds of dish towels for Christmas,” she said.
A man came in to buy a candle after a winter windstorm left him without power.
Steven and Wendy Day come often from Lake Stevens for meat and more.
“We stock up the freezer,” she said.
Dark chocolate malt balls were a find on a recent visit. Ground beef with bacon and cheddar was another score. The Days planned to add a new sauce to the shopping basket.
Nygard’s parents stocked hot sauces years before it was trendy.
“They just started adding and adding. It kept growing and growing,” she said.
After a 1990 fire destroyed the shopping plaza, Double DD rebuilt and expanded, adding more shelves for sauces. It made the shop stand out.
The sauces keep getting hotter. Beating the heat is a competitive sport on shows such as “Hot Ones.”
“We get a lot of people doing their own competitions at home, and they’ll get 10 different ones,” Nygard said.
A poster explains heat levels.
Some of the labels are spicy in a different way.
“Some are so bad we have to put them on the top shelf,” Nygard said.
Yep, they are that bawdy.
Justin doubted her when she said the store had over 3,000 kinds of hot sauce.
“So we had a bet. I stopped counting at 2,500. And I lost $5,” he said.
The priciest bottle is $100.
“It has gold flecks in it,” Nygard said. “It is for collectors.”
She knows where every bottle is.
“Customers will come and say, ‘Where’s this?’ And she’ll say, ‘That aisle, four steps in, third shelf,’” Justin said.
You can bet on it.
Is there a person, place or thing making you wonder “What’s Up With That?” Contact reporter Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
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