Skillet Street Food: Paving the Way with the Perfect Bun

Skillet Airstream.Josh Henderson

A pioneer for food trucks, Skillet Street Food blazed the trail for mobile food across the nation. With Josh Henderson in the driver’s seat, Skillet has made its mark on the Seattle food scene with flawlessly executed diner fare served out of an Airstream trailer. Since its launch in 2007, Josh has opened Skillet Diner and Skillet Counter – brick-and-mortar locations featuring comforting classics enjoyed at a more relaxed pace. But, for Josh, it always comes back to basics: the cheeseburger.

In 1998, Josh graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York with an appetite for adventure but no direct route to get there. It wasn’t until an advantageous move to California that Josh found his calling.

“Right after school I moved back to Seattle,” explains Josh. “I was trying to make a living to support my family. Then I left Seattle in 2002 and moved to L.A. That’s where I started working in the entertainment industry on film sets.”

Traveling the country as a private chef for professional photographers on flashy photo shoots, like Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Porsche, Josh’s inspiration for Seattle street food was born. Feeling a bit homesick and ready for something new, Josh packed up and returned to Seattle to launch Skillet Street Food.

In the beginning, Skillet regularly parked down the street from Macrina’s SODO location, the perfect spot for Rebecca Early and Leslie Mackie to grab a burger for lunch. It wasn’t long before Josh, Leslie, and Rebecca were talking shop and dreaming up the perfect bun for Skillet’s burger.

“I’m a huge fan of Leslie and Macrina is an icon in Seattle, so I was stoked to have her come by. I think at the time we were just using a potato roll from the grocery store,” recalls Josh. “I think Macrina is one of the better bakeries in Seattle and it can really handle the volume. Eventually, Leslie, Rebecca and I came up with the SODO bun.”

With the SODO Bun a success, Skillet menus now also feature Macrina’s buttery Brioche Burger Bun and Rustic Potato Roll.

Now, Josh is keeping his eyes on the road ahead. With Westward and Little Gull Grocery opening this summer and Woodinville’s Hollywood Tavern relaunching under Josh’s direction, there’s no chance he’ll be slowing down any time soon.