An example of one of the charcuterie platters Amazing Graze offers. Courtesy Photo

Local charcuterie catering business opens sandwich shop in Poulsbo

Women-owned business located on Viking Avenue

A local charcuterie catering business that started last year has now opened a sandwich shop on Viking Avenue in Poulsbo.

Amazing Graze is located in the Mobile gas station near Les Schwab in the old space that Subway was in. The space had been vacant for two years, and it only costs the owners about $700 a month to rent.

“He gave me the most incredible deal on rent that I couldn’t pass it up,” co-owner and founder Amy Gouldthread said. “I have so much room, and I have the oven here. I can do everything. It’s a lot more than we had before, and we can operate efficiently without banging into each other.”

The business is made up of four women — Gouldthread, Karen Schwarz, Cindy Santana and Deborah Riley. Gouldthread and Santana are life partners while Riley is Gouldthread’s ex-partner. Gouldthread and Schwarz used to work for the same company, and they quit their jobs to start the business. Those two own the majority of the business while the other two own about 15 percent.

It was Gouldthread’s dream most of her life to open a restaurant. She had worked in the food industry before but never as an owner. About 15 years ago, she tried to open a chicken wings place in downtown Poulsbo but the city denied it due to issues with the building.

Gouldthread told Schwarz about her new idea, and they both started diving into the possibilities. Santana joined in on her partner’s idea to create new items and help design charcuterie boards. Riley was the final piece of the puzzle as she brings over 20 years of experience in the food industry, managing inventory for convenience stores, prep and cooking food for AIDS hospice patients, and baking pastries in a couple bakeries.

The catering side of the business was formed in April last year, and they started catering for events by August, mainly on Bainbridge Island.

“I owe my life to that first customer, Realogics Sotheby’s Internation Realty on Bainbridge Island,” Gouldthread said. “I do the art walk every month for them. Since then, I’ve gotten about 80 percent of my business on the island from their referrals. Now I have four real estate companies who call me to do open houses.”

Around the holidays last year, the business did well, but then things began to slow down after the new year. Gouldthread told Schwarz they needed to get the sandwich shop going soon. Initially, they wanted to open it at their nearby business office where they conduct catering business but ran into building permit issues with the health department. They were actually open for two days before they were told to shut down.

“It got to the point where we couldn’t do this,” Gouldthread said. “We can’t put a hole in the floor to put a mop sink. We’d have to tear out the flooring where we’d put all the equipment. We just said forget it.”

Soon, they found their spot at the Mobile gas station on Viking Avenue. Amazing Graze also does pop-up events at Echoes Brewing every Tuesday and will be doing some at Valholl Brewing starting in June.

“Now, we’re doing over $1,000 a day,” Gouldthread said. “Our goal is to bring a true deli sandwich place to the community. It’s not your typical processed meats. People think a great sandwich is Jersey Mike’s. We could not find anything that we were used to. It’s working, people are loving it.”

For charcuterie catering, they get their house meats mainly from Peterson Crafstman Meats, which gets imports from places like Italy and France. They handcraft their own charcuterie boards using scraps from walnut, alder and maple trees.

“The catering that I do is unique,” Gouldthread said. “It’s set up like a grazing table. It’s not like you’re chasing dishes.”

For sandwiches, they use house-roasted meats from places like Minder Meats and Chef’Store. They also make their own Dutch crunch bread, salads and soups. At the shop, you can only purchase sandwiches but you can preorder charcuterie to pick up. They also have boxed meals that need to be ordered two days in advance and require a $50 minimum order for delivery.

Amazing Graze caters for events across Kitsap County and even in some places across the Hood Canal Bridge. Eventually, they want to hire more staff and want a new space for their catering business.

The sandwich shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at 19623 Viking Ave. NW, Suite 100. For more information, visit amazinggrazenw.com.

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