As Andrew likes to point out…I have a knack for finding restaurants as they’re opening. I just think that if you spend enough time in food industry…you’re bound to come across some gems. Since I’ve been “off-the grid” from the Seattle food scene for the past year, I was pretty ecstatic about this discovery. So lucky you, I have something new to share with you! Storyville Coffee. Say WHAT? Another coffee shop in Seattle you say? But seriously, read on and find out why you should give it a shot.
I had just finished nabbing myself an internship (hurray I’m still working for free!) at one of my favorite organizations, Global Washington (yay me), and since I was already downtown, I decided to celebrate with an obligatory lunch at Matt’s in the Market. Who am I kidding, ANY time I’m in the market I’m either at Matt’s or Radiator. I’m practically racking my brain for excuses to go there. After fighting the horrendous summer crowd of market go-ers, I made my way upstairs to find a spot on the bench outside of Matt’s. Before I got there though, I noticed something different about the area. Oh yeah – there is a GIANT new coffee shop right down the hall. I was pretty sure it used to be some fancy schmancy french restaurant, and since I had time to kill, I sneaked my way over. (Also I apologize in advance for the lame phone photos…I didn’t have my camera that day)
It didn’t look quite open, especially with the printed sign on the glass that said something along the lines of being opened to the world on October 1, but there were quite a few people buzzing around. It did look awfully pretty and welcoming inside. I decided to retreat back to my bench before someone yelled at me or something, when a staff member of the coffee shop asked me if I would like to join in on the fun. Of course I immediately shared my enthusiasm but lamented that I had reservations at Matt’s and was meeting a friend. Turned out to be no problem, the guy asked for my name and said he would place my name on the reservation list. “Reservation list? For a coffee shop? Man…Seattle really is getting fancy with their coffee…” I thought.
While I had a delightful lunch of porchetta tacos and pork belly confit banh mi and talked about many hilarious subjects with my friend Andrew, I couldn’t help but feel excited about this mysterious Storyville Coffee. That’s saying a lot, because I am not a coffee fan. I know, born and raised in Seattle and NOT a coffee fan. That is…until I was introduced to pour overs from Stumptown right before I took off on my “world tour”. During my travels I became QUITE accustomed to Italian espresso, and it’s about the only coffee I drink, if ever. So I was excited to give Storyville a shot. I was even more delighted when Dan (owner of Matt’s) told me he was just there earlier that morning and said it was good. I trust his opinion on just about everything, so extra points for Storyville before I even set foot in their door.
We finally made our way over, and “checked in”. The place was beautiful. Carefully selected panels of wood (which I think may be recycled or at least meant to look that way). Comfy plush leather chairs, floor to ceiling drapes, and of course,t he priceless quintessential view of Pike Place right below. Oh and it smelled pretty damn good. Of sweet and salty pastries and of course coffee beans.
Turns out Storyville started a soft launch of it’s first ever cafe that day. Having been a roasting company from Bainbridge Island for years, it decided to finally take it’s product to a cafe format. Pike Place is just the first stop…I believe Queen Anne will be it’s next location. I admit I am quite impressed. Opening a place in Pike Place is no easy feat. Rent is not cheap, the market is competitive, and they weren’t even located in the tourist traps below. The last note, about not being located in the tourists traps is actually what I love most about this place. That third floor of the building, is my sanctuary from all the mayhem below and harbors my favorite restaurant and whiskey bar in Seattle. Now I could have an awesome coffee shop to boot? I’m sure the locals will appreciate this place.
The other good news is that Storyville does have quite a good product. I gazed at the menu and settled for an espresso (Andrew got a giant americano) and a wait for it…Goat Cheese and Peppered Strawberry Pastry. Oh yes. You read that correctly. Goat Cheese. Pastry. Strawberry. DROOOLLLL….My mouth WATERED as I read that. See below to the right.
I know this is a coffee shop and I really should be talking about the coffee, but can I please just RAVE about this pastry? This thing was SO AMAZING, i can’t even describe how heavenly it is. The pastries are made in house, the crust…so flaky…and buttery…and the filling was JUST the right amount. Not too rich, and the it was DELIGHTFUL. I could’ve eaten a whole pan of those. In fact…for days after…I craved it. I might try to recreate it at home sometime…but that’s probably a little too dangerous for me considering I probably would not be able to control how much I ate. For less then $3, this pastry is INFINITELY better than anything you’ll find at Starbucks. Why people wait in that stupid line down there…I’ll never understand. We also tried to salted caramel pastry…it reminded me of a caramel pull apart. Tasty, but nothing compared to the glorious goat cheese strawberry pastry.
Ok ok…the coffee. I’m no coffee expert, and I don’t claim to be. All I know is that 80% of the time I have had coffee in Seattle, it tastes burnt, dull, or just plain bland. Also, the portions of coffee sizes here I still can’t understand. You can’t even get a grande in Italy. Nothing above a tall even exists. The espresso I had at Storyville, while wasn’t particularly special…was particularly tasty. So that means a lot to me. It was smokey, but not burnt, oaky but not bitter, and bold in flavor. Sandy, the non-coffee expert but addicted to Italian espresso, approves.
What makes Storyville Coffee even better, is that they’ve developed a really interesting marketing campaign. Being the PR/Marketing dork such as myself, and the oddly too frequent market trips I take for someone who (unfortunately) lives in the suburbs, I found the campaign wonderfully inspiring. Whoever has been doing their marketing is doing it well…and I hope they receive the attention they’re looking for! Since their soft launch on Sept. 3, they’ve hung large banners on neighboring buildings showcasing just their logo, instagramming beautiful teasers, and even sent out a street team of snazzy dressed bikers with custom Storyville bikes. It’s simply and mysterious that leaves you wanting more. Now THAT’S cool and definitely a coffee company I wouldn’t mind working for!
So if you want to try to check it out, you can request an early invite where you will be treated with complimentary drinks and pastries. Do it now they seem to be at capacity every time I walk by…and then you can feel awesome and say you were there before it opened. 🙂
When it fully opens, I’ll go back with my real camera and do a proper review. But for now…that’s the scoop!