Meet Alyssa Anderson, owner of Pinoyshki Bakery + Cafe, nestled in the heart of Capitol Hill.

Pinoyshki offers a delectable array of traditional Eastern European flavors as well as inventive pastries inspired by Alyssa’s Filipino heritage. From classic piroshkis to innovative dessert delights, each bite tells a story of cultural fusion and culinary creativity. 

Learn more about Alyssa and Pinoyshki’s delicious creations in this week’s Small Business Spotlight! 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you start your career in baking? 

I started baking when I was 7 years old. I really liked to eat, and I was taught by my big sister how to feed myself. “You want to eat all the sweets? You can make it yourself.”

I started out baking some banana bread. I loved it so much that I wanted to make a career out of it, so I went to culinary school and the rest is history.

Tell us a little bit about the evolution of the business which started as Piroshki on 3rd and is now Pinoyshki? 

I ran across this small bakery in downtown Seattle known as Piroshki on 3rd – it was like a little hole in the wall. 

I met these amazing immigrant, East European women, and I could see how passionate they were about their craft. I wanted to get in on that too. As an immigrant myself, I felt like we were kind of like kindred spirits of some sort. 

The product itself was delicious. It’s like empanadas to me, like Filipino empanadas. So, after I took over in 2016, I slowly (very slowly!) started incorporating some of my culture. 

I asked permission from these wonderful women – my babushkas – for help. We recipe tested all together. Slowly but surely, we started adding more and more of my Filipino heritage into the piroshkis. 

That’s how the “pinoyshki” was born. Now, after adding more and more employees from different walks of life,  we’re all getting creative and adding our own spin into the recipes. It’s been really fun.

What inspires you day-to-day at Pinoyshki? 

Seeing the employees, the staff that I work with. We have so much fun here. I’m always looking forward to seeing what we’re going to come up with.

What are you the most proud of? 

I’m just really proud of the environment that we created. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet all these wonderful employees, all the wonderful staff, and all together we create this fun and creative environment. Obviously there’s still going to be ups and downs, but it’s always fun to bounce ideas off of each other, bring new things to the table, and see and taste everything.

How did the bakery end up on Capitol Hill ? 

Our lease was about to finish, so we started looking for a new space to move into, and I just ran across this space right next to Linda’s and asked the landlord, like, is this space for restaurants? What’s the plan? 

We’ve been open in Capitol Hill for 3 months. Being new to Capitol Hill, it’s been an adventure for all of us. We’re still trying to find a groove. And we still have a lot more things planned, and we’re excited to slowly show them to you. We’re slowly putting out new products for you!

What’s your favorite part about being up in Capitol Hill now? 

I like how alive it is. The people here are so happy. It just seems like they love life here.

What was it like being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

It was kind of surreal. I didn’t really believe it was happening until I saw (Guy Fieri). 

It was so fun to see the process that goes behind an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It took us two days and they filmed a lot of B-roll. 

I can tell you that Guy Fieri’s reactions are always genuine – he refuses to taste the product until the camera is rolling. And what you see on TV – that’s his genuine opinion on what he just ate.

Why do you feel like it is important for people to spend like it matters?

Small businesses are the life of every city. Every single cent really goes back into the business  – I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself. 

Our story isn’t the only story out here – every single one of these small businesses have their own stories that they want to be told. Spending like it matters helps keep those stories alive! 

If you are a first-time customer coming to Pinoyshki, what should you try?

If you’re a first-time customer, I would recommend trying two piroshkis just so you kind of get a feel. Go for one of the simpler ones –  like the more traditional ones, like the beef potato and cheese or the potato if you’re vegan. And then try another one of the pierogies, which are a little more adventurous, which are a little more creative so you kind of get the feel of what a range of flavors are. 

If you’re still hungry after eating two piroshkies, I would highly recommend trying one of the desserts, like the honey cake which is a favorite Eastern European dessert. The ube sticky bun has really been a favorite among our customers, so I would recommend that too.

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