Older, wiser — and bigger — Capitol Hill’s Victrola Coffee once again finds itself neighboring the global ambitions of a coffee giant.
“We’ve always found being on Capitol Hill, we’re a landmark location for people who want to see Seattle as a coffee mecca,” the company’s Joshua Boyt says of Victrola’s longtime 15th Ave E cafe and its now seven-year-old Pike cafe and roastery. Boyt expects that pilgrimage to only grow as the old Pike/Pine auto row shifts to a new coffee bean row.
Last week, CHS broke the news that Starbucks is moving into the former art store and Volvo dealership just 200 feet down Pike from Victrola’s front door to open a cafe and roasting facility of its own. At 15,000 square feet, the new project is a massive investment from the Seattle-based coffee giant in a concept a company spokesperson called a “neighborhood coffee roaster.”
In the summer of 2009, CHS talked with owner Dan Ollis who had only recently acquired Victrola as Starbucks launched the first of its “indie styled” neighborhood cafe concepts just down the street from his Victrola 15th Ave E. “We’re doing fine,” a diplomatic Ollis said at the time. “It’s a beautiful store. They’ve clearly spent a lot of money and we’re flattered to have been imitated.” By 2011, the Starbucks 15th Ave Coffee & Tea experiment was over.
Boyt said he expects the latest move from Starbucks will be a little longer lasting.
“Small roasters have grown underneath them — slowly we’ve kind of lifted them out of the water,” Boyt said. Taking a smaller, more local approach to its beans could be one way to keep the massive Starbucks ship on course.
Boyt said Victrola isn’t worried about the plans and sees the development as nothing but positive for the street. In the meantime, the Pike roaster has grown to also prepare beans for Victrola’s sister company Whidbey Coffee and continues to emphasize education and connoisseurship with its regular cupping events and classes. Boyt said when the Starbucks project finally opens up in the next year or two, there’s even the possibility for an “ultimate roaster crawl” up the Hill.
“It’s never fun when the rich kid’s dad buys all the expensive toys,” Boyt said. “At the same time, we’re not bitter.”
Victrola’s roaster and cafe is located at 310 E Pike. You’ll also find a Victrola in Beacon Hill at 3215 Beacon Ave S. Its original cafe is located at 411 15th Ave E.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- The street food dreams of Felafel Salam are about to come true at Pike and Broadway. Owner Shimi Kahn says that starting October 2nd, the food truck space at the Broadway Shell Station will be active through the week with food trucks including Felafel Salam, How Pickle Got Out of a Jam, Poke´ to the Max and Skinny Phoenix.
- Mezcaleria Oaxaca is planning an early 2014 opening on the Hill — CHS told you about the sibling to the Queen Anne original and Ballard’s La Cara de Oaxaca taking over the former Autopro garage here earlier this year:
Mezcaleria Oaxaca’s second location on Capitol Hill, on the corner of Pine and Summit, is set to open at the beginning of the new year. The project is led by Seattle-based Graham Baba Architects (Melrose Market, The Kolstrand Building, Revel and Quoin, The Walrus and The Carpenter) and Dovetail General Contractors (Oddfellows Cafe, Momiji, Molly Moon’s, Sitka and Spruce). Maintaining the integrity of the single-story building formerly housing an auto repair shop, the 3,000-square-foot space (about the size of the current Mezcaleria Oaxaca and La Carta de Oaxaca combined) will feature a rooftop area for alfresco dining and will offer the same extraordinary authentic Oaxacan food that has garnered international praise, paired with the most diverse nationally noted selections of mezcales in the city— with many of these mezcales will not be available anywhere else in the country.
- CHS advertiser Poco is transitioning its focus once more with a move to feature tapas:
After nearly seven years as a New American restaurant, we have decided that a proper tapas bar is right for Capitol Hill, and right for our establishment. Our executive chef Christopher Coan is pulling on his years of training in Madrid & Barcelona to create a 100% new tapas menu for you to try.
Expect a launch of the new offerings later this month.
- Scott Shapiro, part of the partnership behind the development of Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market and recent microhousing developer, is making plans for a Queen Anne Melrose-styled market.
- This guy now owns parts of the Capitol Club. You have until October 5th, by the way, to enjoy Bauhaus at its original Melrose and Pine location.
- Mark your calendars: the Depressed Cake Shop and Dine out for 522 both on Capitol Hill this week.
- Get you geoduck cleaned on Capitol Hill.
- Downtown: tough place for a cocktail bar.
- Central District: good place for homemade beer.
- 1) Vita has a chef 2) He’s cooking at Farestart on October 10th.
- This $175-a-plate October 6th dinner at Stumptown is also the launch of a new food and drink events company created by a “longtime” (he’s only 24!) Hill barista/barman.
- Here’s what Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe’s newly hired manager likes to read.
- D’Ambrosio Gelato Capitol Hill is baking its own biscotti.
- “Mom of the moment” — Volunteer Park Cafe owner Ericka Burke.
- Last Tuesday, CHS introduced you to new Capitol Hill restaurateur Eric Stapelman and some of the unsavory legends of his past. On Friday, we talked with him.
- Imagine going up against Starbucks for a lease on a one-of-a-kind Capitol Hill property.
- Recen October milestones, etc: Altura, Oola’s distillery and Momiji all opened in the same week in 2011. So did the shuttered Bako — now Bait Shop. Here’s what we said about the award-winning Altura at the time. Cafe Pettirosso returned in 2012. The Wandering Goose debuted in 2012, too. In 2010, Starbucks unveiled its overhauled E Olive Way cafe. Tiny Vero took over its North Capitol Hill cafe space and Pike Street Fish Fry got a new owner. Less recent? You tell us.
- Lost Lake calls it a cro-dough.
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