The historic Sorrento Hotel has perched atop Seattle’s First Hill since 1909. It has long been known for standout cuisine and old-world elegance; two phrases you might not think of when you picture a bustling diner in Burien. But, it is there that you could lose the plot, until you meet Stephen Whippo and taste his scratch-made desserts for which Huckleberry Square has become B-Town famous. You see, Stephen served as the Pastry Chef at the Sorrento Hotel for about a decade. 

Pastry Chef Stephen Whippo.

“I was a line cook,” he said, “I spent time in California in various restaurants and at the Hyatt. I found it was cheaper to move back to Seattle, with family ties. I found that hotel work was a little more stable. I came back to Seattle and I knew a guy, Conan, who taught Saber fighting, he was pretty well known in Seattle…used to ride a bike around town with two swords strapped to his back. One day Conan’s roommate didn’t show up to work at the Sorrento. His boss called looking for him, we got talking and he asked me if I wanted to show up at 6 a.m. tomorrow…well, pretty soon he asked me if I wanted to train as a pastry chef and I said ‘sure.’ I flunked pie crust, but I got better…” His eyes twinkle behind his distinctive spectacles, as a gentle, easy chuckle wells up from his chest. 

The Huckleberry Cinnamon Roll.

It was there he learned that, as he says, ”Baking is chemistry. Cooking is taste.” He honed skills in the art of the cheesecake, the secret to flakey mouthwatering piecrust, and the importance of real ingredients, simple, with no shortcuts. Perhaps that’s why they still peel fresh apples for the apple pie and use real butter at Huckleberry Square, while most places will buy a premixed frozen filler.

“It’s rewarding, making things people love,” Stephen said of his work. ”It’s the finale to the meal. The visceral reaction.” Stephen waxes a bit philosophical as he points out “-sugar, it’s the first addiction, really.” And addictive is what fans of “the Square” call his creations. Lured out of retirement, Stephen has been baking and creating at the Huckleberry Square  where he has garnered a loyal following. “I like being here,” he said, “there’s a commitment to continuous improvement and quality ingredients.” Stephen grew up in Burien, attending Shorewood Elementary, Sylvester and Highline High School, and he even recalls eating at Whiz Burger, which eventually became the Huckleberry Square. No matter where he has been, he has found that “customer service remains the heart of your business.” At the Huckleberry Square, he finds the warmth of a familiar place. 

Huckleberry’s Maple Bacon Cinnamon Roll..

Highlights of his dessert menu include the delectable cheesecakes, classic with a hint of lemon zest, namesake huckleberry cheesecake and any number of others, as well as a monthly specialty cheesecake of seasonal inspiration. Pies of all sorts are a favorite, each with an appropriate crust.

“You gotta use something different for the cream pies. Not the same as the fruit pies,” Stephen said. Striking the balance between soggy and hard is a tricky tight-rope to walk for just the right pie texture. And of course, the signature Huckleberry Pie. Real huckleberries, a precious commodity which only grows wild, fetching $18.00 a pound. They’re worth it though, bringing a distinctive flavor to their very popular Huckleberry scones known for their light and satisfying texture and balanced sweetness derived from the precious fruits.

Huckleberry’s Classic Cinnamon Roll.

The huckleberries are also a defining difference in a new cinnamon roll you will find only at the Huckleberry Square. The Huckleberry cinnamon roll is part of a new collection of oozy, fragrant, and well balanced cinnamon rolls inspired in part by Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery cinnamon rolls from Portland, Oregon. Huckleberry Square management and Stephen have been experimenting and adapting to create a “Destination Cinnamon Roll,” something you will drive for, drool over and return to again and again. Their ambition is to have a scratch made roll with the correct ratio of cinnamon to dough, well risen and perfectly glazed. Including a Classic, Maple Bacon and of course a signature Huckleberry version. Enjoy a Classic anytime, breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner for a satisfying and not ‘too sweet’ treat.  The Maple Bacon brings a “breakfast” fragrance with a hint of salt to fill the mouth with a savory and sweet complexity. Finally, the Huckleberry version is destined to be a signature piece in the dessert menu, worthy to join the beloved Huckleberry cheesecake, scones and Huckleberry pie as a crowd favorite.

Ready for a treat? Thanks to the dedication of Stephen and the staff of The Huckleberry Square, you are sure to enjoy a sweet ending to your meal. Come try them today.

Location:

Huckleberry Square Restaurant
14423 Ambaum Blvd SW
Burien, WA, 98166

Hours:

  • 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Daily

Menu:

Contact:

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