Seattle Saveur: Jon Sue of Jonboy Caramels

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

Remember how I thought my sweet tooth had been satisfied by all those tasty Japanese sweets? Well, I was mistaken, my friends. Before long, I needed another fix and I knew just where to go for it: Jonboy Caramels. Well, okay, Jonboy Caramels isn’t really a place, exactly; it’s a delicious candy company founded by Jon Sue and Jason Alm, and rather than make you come to them, they go to where the people are: farmers markets, Whole Foods stores, and other locations around town. Lucky for me, I got to visit the actual kitchen where the caramels – and seasonal caramel apples!! – are made, along with awesome local photographer Greg Stonebraker, whose pictures you’ll see below. Lucky for you, “Jonboy” himself  was ready and willing to answer a bunch of questions about spreading the love (of caramel) in Seattle…

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

How and when did you become interested in making caramels?

Feeling cash-strapped and creative, I first made caramels for family and friends in 2008 as Holiday gifts.

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

How did you make the transition from making caramels for family and friends to making caramels for all of Seattle? What were some of the challenges you dealt with along the way?

The transition from making gifts to the idea of starting a business venture is all Jason’s. While it didn’t take much convincing on my part, he’s not only the visionary that saw the opportunity, but the current backbone of our operation.

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

What makes your caramels distinct from others in Seattle or around the country?

1. No corn syrup! Instead, we use organic brown rice syrup that lends a richer and toastier flavor profile. 2. We make ’em in small batches – mixed, poured, salted, cut and wrapped all by hand. 3. We use local, and/or organic ingredients.

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

What do you like best about making caramels and having a business in Seattle?

We LOVE seeing the response to our caramels first-hand. Honestly, watching people sample caramels at the farmers markets is the best gratification and affirmation one could ask for.

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

Do you have any plans for the “next phase” of Jonboy Caramels? What does the future look like for your business?

Our next phase consists of buying another farmers market set-up. We’re much more aligned with Edible Seattle than Fast Company, for example… and the future looks bright!

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

Please tell me your favorite things to do in Seattle. If you could plan the perfect Seattle day, what would you do in the morning, afternoon and evening?

Morning – Late breakfast hashbrowns at Five Spot, eggs benedict at Portage Bay Cafe or cheesy grits at Local 360 for breakfast, followed by an afternoon visit to Luther Burbank or Magnuson dog parks. A perfect late lunch would be a double order of Tamarind Tree rolls at the (ironically enough) Tamarind Tree in the ID, a house salad with feta dressing and Greek spaghetti at Olympic Pizza and Pasta on Roosevelt, anything at Pam’s Kitchen in the UD or Stopsky’s Deli on Mercer Island…but then there’s also Bellevue’s Mediterranean Kitchen. I guess the perfect Seattle day just might involve an imperfect ratio of food!

Want Localist to connect the dots to recreate Jon’s perfect day for your visit to Seattle? Well, just say the word (and by say the word I mean complete the Request a Quote form located here)! Also a HUGE thank you to Greg Stonebraker, who has elevated the photography on this blog by about a million degrees with these beautiful images. If you’d like Greg to take photos of your event, product, or people, you can email him at gstonebrakerphotography (at) gmail (dot) com

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This entry was posted in Ballard, Food & Drink, Fun, Things to Do in Seattle, University District and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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