Not many people can say their business model was inspired by a Little League concession stand, but that’s where Edmonds resident Julie Malcolm got the idea for the Here and There Grill, a mobile lunch and dinner van that can be found at the corner of 4th and Dayton from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. every Wednesday.
Several years ago, Malcolm’s son was playing for Pacific Little League and she was running the concession stand. It occurred to her that providing grab-and-go food for a captive audience had applications beyond the baseball field, and the idea for the Here and There Grill was born.
It helped that Malcolm grew up in the restaurant business. “It’s in my blood,” she said, noting that her father, Charlie Korten, owned the former Harbor House restaurant on the Edmonds waterfront, and she and her siblings all had jobs there growing up. (The family tradition continues at the Here and There Grill, as Julie’s sister Laura Hardesty and Laura’s daughter, Emily, also work at the grill part-time.)
Malcolm graduated from college with a degree in business administration, worked in management at Denny’s, the Washington Athletic Club and Arnie’s, and owned her own place, The Cat’s Eye Cafe in West Seattle, from 1997-2002. Growing tired of the daily restaurant grind, Malcolm shifted careers and worked for a while in the mortgage industry. But her success in transforming the Pacific Little League concessions from a single-burner hot dog and candy stand into a full restaurant menu inspired her to roll up her sleeves and get back into the business.
She purchased a Matco Tool Truck on Craig’s List and then went to work, designing and installing a mobile kitchen that includes a commercial refrigerator and half freezer, a deep-fryer, a dual-oven range/grill/four burners, a char-broiler, a sink with three compartments and a hand sink.
It’s hard to miss the tomato-red truck with the inviting menu board, and Malcolm said she is enjoying a steady business at all three of her current locations: Wednesdays in Edmonds, Mondays at the University of Washington-Bothell campus and Thursdays at the Quadrant Business Park in Everett. She is working to find another spot to add to the rotation — preferably at a busy Seattle location like a hospital.
The menu, which changes weekly, includes gourmet sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes that diners can eat on the go, take back to the office or bring home for dinner. Malcolm is proud of the Grill’s focus on fresh, locally grown food and organic produce, and notes that she includes at least one vegetarian item on every menu. Meals are priced at $7.95 and $8.95, and there are soups, smoothies and cookies for those looking for lighter fare. In addition, the Here and There Grill offers catering for events.
A map of all Here and There Grill locations can be found on the website. You can also receive menu updates by following the Here and There Grill on Twitter — @heretheregrill.