West Seattle, Washington
Just got a note from Tony, longtime proprietor of West Seattle’s most illustrious coffeehouse brand, Java Bean. Tony is (#1) thanking everyone who donated to JB’s just-completed food drive — 200 pounds of food on its way to Northwest Harvest! — and (#2) offering to take turkeys over to the White Center Food Bank (urgently needed, as we mentioned a couple posts down). Tony says that if you drop a turkey donation off at Java Bean (on Avalon, just south of the bridge; here’s a map) BY NOON TODAY (Wednesday), he will take it to the food bank. Three cheers for Tony! (And for Java Bean, whose old cart at the pre-’97-fire Thriftway is where we first truly fell in love with lattes, guzzling intense triple-grande-nonfat from our old-school saucer-bottom reusable mug. Ah, the memories …)
There are two, in fact, in today’s P-I:
–The traffic columnist disappoints an impatient West Seattle driver by getting the city to go on the record, again, promising the “walk all ways with walk” status of Cali/Alaska is safe. (Personally, we don’t mind it, whether in the car or on foot.)
–Elliott Bay Brewery plays a big role in an odd little article promising to be part of a series themed something like “wow, parents actually
still drink in front of their kids.” EBB is one of many swell places in The Junction (yummy burgers), and it’s great to see the area get publicity, but since you can get a drink in a zillion restaurants where you also can bring the whole family (gasp, we’ve had the West 5 mai tai in front of a grade-schooler), we’re a little befuddled as to what makes this a trend. We would have liked to see them poll the patrons on whether they’re walking, busing, or designated-drivering. (Around here, they also could have focused on the creeping tendency to NOT let under-21s in, with both Talarico’s and Matador right there on the same side of Cali.)
123 stores for Tully’s, versus four-billion-kajillion for S(BIG)BUX. Yeah, I’d call that an underdog. So Tully’s is trying something new — according to the end of this story, it’s getting new treats from Alki Bakery. By the way, if you didn’t already know, two of those 123 stores are here in WS — the one on Alki (used to be a Taco Time), and the one at Morgan Junction (which once was a Cafe Starbucks).
Almost three weeks after the ex-Rainier Roaster/future-drivethru-Starbucks site near 35th & Fauntleroy closed, some signs of progress … a chain-link construction fence is up … more remodeling permits are in the works. Of course we feel compelled to mention you do have other options for drive-thru coffee in the meantime … including Red Cup in The Junction and Sleepless near Alki.
-Remodeling work’s over at the Morgan Junction SBUX. No sign of the “sidewalk cafe” (perhaps just a retroactive permit for the outdoor tables?), but the counter area’s been expanded and reconfigured for two registers. The decor and furniture have been swapped out too; no more wall hangings of coffee trees and Italian scenery, it’s all much more, well, non-coffee-related. I’d love to see the company’s decorating budget. Seems like they revamp “the look” at least every couple years.
-Keeping an eye on the ex-Rainier Roaster to see how soon the Starbucks signs go up. No sign of change Sunday, on Transition Day 1, but I doubt Schultz & co. are in that much of a rush.
We are by no means Starbucks-bashers. You’re bound to find us going thru the new WS drive-thru every so often (especially since it’s right on our path to the bridge). But just for grins, we want to give a shoutout to the many other fine non-mega-mega-chain coffee providers around town (including those for whom coffee is not the main business). This is strictly from memory (and Googling), so please leave a comment to let me know who I’m missing:
Caffe Ladro, Hotwire, C & P, Tully’s on Alki and in Morgan Junction, Diva, Red Cup, Capers, Freshy’s, Bird on a Wire, Al’s Deli & Espresso, Thriftway, Metro Market, Revolution Coffee & Art, Uptown in The Junction and on Delridge, Sleepless, Alki Bakery, Coffee to a Tea with Sugar, Easy Street, Bubbles, Homefront, Zatz, Bikes and Brew, PCC, Verite/Cupcake Royale, Infinity, Alki Mail and Dispatch, and of course the ever-salubrious Java Bean.
Months after we first got a tip that Rainier Roaster at Fauntleroy & 35th would be transformed into West Seattle’s first drive-thru Starbucks … it’s finally about to happen. After a reader wrote to tell us that RR has a sign up saying it’s closing as of this Saturday, we checked the city permits … and there it all is, plain as day. Let’s see … Alki, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Westwood Village, three Safeways, Westwood QFC, and the “half” would be WV Barnes & Noble. Don’t we need just a few more?
Caffe Ladro is closing at 5 tonight for some sort of annual employees’ event. This is bound to be especially disappointing to West Seattle’s Finest, some of whom take coffee breaks there many a night. (What is it about CL? The fine coffee, or the convenient parking right on Cali Ave, easy pipeline to the next call? Just curious.)
A little more info on what’s up at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, which has applied for a “sidewalk cafe” permit … West Seattle Blogger Spouse says it’s posted as closing at 8 pm every night for the next few weeks (a couple hours earlier than usual for this time of year) for “remodeling.”
Trivia for newcomers: That Starbucks location used to be a drugstore. Overall, Morgan Junction was fairly lowkey for our first few years on this side of WS; then came the Great Thriftway Fire of 1997 (we were out of town on vacation; seeing the smoldering debris on our return was quite the shock). The wonderful rebuild turned the store to face California instead of Fauntleroy, and things in the neighborhood really started jumping.
According to the city’s latest semi-weekly Land Use Info Bulletin, there’s a permit request for a “sidewalk cafe” adjacent to Starbucks at Fauntleroy and California. Considering it’s got several outdoor tables now (and a few by the back door), wonder what that’s all about …
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to go into the beer business, you’ll be fascinated by this ongoing tale told by West Seattleites getting ready to go public with their microbrew. (“Schooner Exact,” if it doesn’t ring a bell, is a WS-appropriate name, since that was the ship the Denny Party sailed to Alki.)
Hotwire, In-Out, Capers, Coffee to a Tea, Easy Street, Cupcake Royale, Bikes & Brew, Infinity, Uptown (who are we forgetting?) have a new fellow member in the Junction coffee club: Starbucks. Didn’t know the franchise-mad mermaid had swum into that zone until we took an e-mail tipster’s advice and wandered into the newly remodeled Jefferson Square Safeway — and there, we found a Starbucks kiosk, just like the ones in the Roxbury Safeway and the Westwood Village QFC (which is just steps from the standalone WV Starbucks). At the very least, this is a reminder — as more grocery stores prepare to move into The Junction — that they’re more than grocery stores these days; most include banks and coffee stands, both already in abundant supply in the neighborhood.
I try to avoid prattling about the mechanics of keeping a blog, but it’s worth noting that one aspect of tracking incoming blog traffic allows you to see how people find you — certain search terms, for example. One search that brought somebody here today reminded me it’s time to check on some of the “in-the-works” businesses headed to WS, such as the ex-storefront north of the Junction that applied for a liquor license as “Divina Cantina.” My own subsequent search turned up this online entry that seems to suggest the Cantina will be a “Uruguayan wine bar” with live music, opening in late August. There’s something fresh! Also in the wine-bar realm, we noted on a semi-recent stroll that a wine bar was in the works next to West Seattle Cellars. Its website now says a 2007 opening is in the works – and offers a mailing-list link if you want to stay updated.
Made it over to get a closer look at “Al’s.” Sorry I got it wrong while driving by the first time — it’s Al’s CAFE and Espresso, not “Deli.” Small hand-lettered sign promises “soups, salads, sandwiches.” It was closed by the time we got there, so I can’t vouch for any of that myself. An interesting sighting nearby, though — a couple doors down, next to West Seattle Cellars, a liquor-license notice is posted for “Vino Verite” — with a handwritten sign promising “Wine Bar Soon!” (I see it’s got a Web site too.) Makes sense, but I’m wondering what’s up with all this “Verite” — that’s the real name behind the Cupcake Royale people, too.
Just noticed somebody new’s moved into the former Bubble Lounge Caffe (that’s the way they spelled it) on the east side of Cali Ave, a few blocks north of Morgan Junction. Big “Grand Opening” sign for “Al’s Deli and Espresso.” Didn’t have time to stop in to find out more — will wander by as soon as feasible.
New liquor license application filed for something called the “Divina Cantina” at 4212 SW Genesee, just north of the Junction. A search on that address comes back right now withÃ‚Â some sort of drywall business. No time right this moment to drive by and have a peek — but isn’t that the church zone?