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For the first time in 20 years, a back-to-school Monday without Tully’s at 19th and Aloha

For the first time in 20 years, the kids from Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy don’t have anywhere to hang out the first Monday morning of back to school after the Thanksgiving break.

Messages from longtime customers and staff were one of the few things left on the walls Sunday night as the process to pack up and move out the Tully’s Coffee at 19th and Aloha began.

CHS broke the new earlier this month on the financial difficulties behind the Seattle coffee chain that led to the lost lease after two decades of business at the corner. The Seattle PI has also reported on the financial problems.

Tully’s founder Tom O’Keefe told CHS the 19th Ave E and Aloha cafe opened October 23, 1997. Previously, it has been home to the storied Surrogate Hostess and, old timers say, was once a Red Mill Burger.

CHS does not have information on what comes next for the space. Meanwhile, company officials at Tully’s have not responded to our requests for more information about the closure and a string of shutdowns and lost leases in the region. Tully’s also has not said if it was able to offer positions to the employees from the 19th and Aloha cafe.

UPDATE: Other recent Tully’s closures include:

The Capitol Hill coffee shop, meanwhile, is one of the few in the area with a dedicated parking lot. It was often bustling with busy parents in the midst of drop-offs of the young women who attend the prestigious Holy Names Academy and the kids who go to the St. Joseph School across the street.

Sunday night, a message could be viewed through the shop’s windows on the chalkboard where the day’s trivia or specials would normally be listed:

Thank you for 20 years of making this store the best example of what a community coffee shop should be. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you. We will miss you all.


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15 thoughts on “For the first time in 20 years, a back-to-school Monday without Tully’s at 19th and Aloha

    • OMG. Only in Seattle would someone be against a small parking lot, one of the very few remaining on Capitol Hill. Just want to remind you that not everyone is able to walk, take a bus, or a choo-choo train. Some of us still need a car due to a handicap. Smh.

    • Remember, boys and girls, every remaining parking lot is just one more impediment to total, car-free self-righteousness! We must destroy them all.

    • I agree with Josh. For years I walked by that intersection with my kids to Stevens, and countless times I saw kids walking along the sidewalk almost get run over by folks zooming in and out of that parking lot in their Tesla/Mercedes/Beemer, in a hurry to get their coffee on their way to Microsoft. Especially dangerous on dark rainy winter mornings. I wouldn’t mind a reincarnation of the Surrogate Hostess, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing a new building replace the entire lot with retail on the ground floor and several floors of apartments above.

  1. Background on the building’s 30 years as a Red Mill:

    “The original Red Mill was located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle and opened in 1937. It closed in 1967. It was known as a diner and ice creamery with table and counter service. The current Red Mills were opened first in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood in 1994 and the second location in the Interbay neighborhood in 1998.”

    From “Growing up on Capitol Hill” (, 2009:

    “We sometimes went to the original Red Mill on Friday night with our aunt and uncle so we could have fish and chips and not have to go home to a kitchen that smelled like fried fish.”

  2. I lived in the neighborhood when the Surrogate Hostess used to be there… still miss that neighborhood hangout that closed just as suddenly as it seems Tully’s has.

    • Fuel has 1/4 of the seating and established clients. Not going to count as Tully-sitting.

      And nice classism to suggest Microsofties mowing down kids. Most were parent picking up said kids.

      Change is inevitable but this change is hard.

    • Ah, yes. Remember when it was de rigueur to blame Microsoft employees for everything, instead of Amazon employees?
      Good times, good times….

  3. Thanks Jim. That was a good one. I was about to launch into some rant about people wanting to kill parking lots when what you said was just. Perfect.