The playful, design-forward URL Coffee at 524 Broadway just opened in mid-March, and despite being sandwiched between a couple other cafe options at Sharetea and QED Coffee, URL is already carving out a unique space on First Hill. Launched by wife and husband duo Zoey Jung and Ethan Choi, URL aims to provide a “healthy pleasure,” that begins with coffee, and expands beyond just caffeination alone.
Jung studied art in South Korea, running an art studio there, and Choi worked as a vintage designer furniture collector, but both had shared interests in coffee and food. After they moved to Seattle, they started searching for a café location in November 2019. After three months, they decided on the roughly 1400 square foot space on Broadway, signed the lease, and shortly after that, the pandemic hit. Jung said they endured “endless delays, in every single step” of the buildout.
Now open for business over a year later, either for takeout or limited seating at 25% capacity, the café boasts a stylish interior of eclectic tastes.
“We wanted to create a unique mood at URL by gathering the beauty that we have imagined, all in one place,” Jung said. “We mixed mid century modern designer furniture with contemporary furniture . . . URL presents new beauty by bringing together old, established things, Eastern and Western things, and things from different times and spaces.”
The URL name was chosen by Choi originally for a personal brand while he worked as a furniture collector. “We thought a simple, fun, scalable name would be good to explain and express our brand story,” Jung said. “URL is an internet term that everyone knows, and because it has nothing to do with coffee, people may not predict that this is a coffee shop.”
Tables and shelves are by the Italian designer Enzo Mari, the colorful stools by Martino Gamper, and vases and other objects by South Korean ceramic artist Hee-jin Jo are also on display. The space includes a large kitchen, perfect for Jung’s menu that will feature sandwiches, housemade desserts, and other offerings slated to debut at URL’s grand opening next month.
URL is part of the Zig Apartments development. Years back, the corner of Broadway and James was home to the El Mestizo restaurant. Neighboring tenants these days include another Instagram-busy venue — Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon.
At URL, the specialty coffee comes by way of Portland’s Coava Coffee Roasters. They have a café menu with espresso drinks, matcha lattes, and mochas made with an in-house chocolate recipe. Cold brew coffee is prepared through a Yama Cold Brew Tower. Their two signature drinks are Mischief, an espresso topped with housemade cream and cocoa powder, and Walk to Work, an iced latte topped with cream.
“People like it a lot,” Jung said. “Those who have tried our Walk to Work say they can’t have a whole week without it, it’s so delicious.”
Those who order the Walk to Work on their literal walk to work, are mostly Seattle University students, or staff at Harborview or Swedish Medical Center.
Jung said URL is still getting off the ground, in the process of fine-tuning their menu in response to their customers, and perfecting their food program before next month’s debut.
The next time you’re in the area, grab a Walk to Work to go, or sit in one of the Italian-designed stools and enjoy a Mischief for yourself.
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