News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

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New drive-thru Starbucks store now open on 15th

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on February 21st, 2014

The wait is over for local coffee fans as the new Starbucks store (at the corner of NW 53rd St and 15th Ave NW) opened its container doors for the very first time this morning.


The store, which is made entirely of reused shipping containers, offers locals a walk up/bike window and drive through service. A few parking spots are up for grabs and bike racks are also on offer.



The outside of the shipping containers are adorned with a map of our favorite neighborhood (Ballard of course!) that were painted by local artist Sign Savant. Sign Savant is the working name of Japhy Witte whose work can be seen brightening up many hot spots around they city including Neumos, Moe Bar, and Under The Needle.

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As well as the map, one container is decorated with the reasons behind Starbucks’ choice of building materials. Check out the text below:

Why did we build this? Starbucks relies on shipping containers for transportation around the world. We also rely on the planet we all share, and we believe in doing things that are good for the earth. This means finding solutions that keep things like old shipping containers out of the waste stream. So we’ve found a way to reuse them to make stores like this.

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The My Ballard team stopped by the new store this afternoon to check it out and met Store Manager Ama Groscup, who has worked with Starbucks for seven years. Groscup and her team are excited for locals to check out the new store!

“I’ve really loved how involved the community is with Starbucks and how well received this store has been in the neighborhood. We are so excited to be a part of the Ballard community,” says Groscup.

The store will be open everyday from 4:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. and will offer customers the usual free WiFi services.

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24 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 C. Knudsen // Feb 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm


  • 2 MAS // Feb 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    MyBallard continues to report on *$, but ignores the local independent coffee scene.

    During last year’s CoffeeFest, the winner for the best espresso was Ballard’s Tony’s Coffee. The winner for the best coffee shop was Ballard’s Slate Coffee. Huge wins for Ballard.

    Zero mention here. I provided the tip with links twice and it was ignored.

    Ballard is quickly moving to dethrone Capitol Hill as Seattle’s best neighborhood for indie coffee, yet not a word about this transition. Drive thru *$ is considered more important.

  • 3 Bill // Feb 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    One might wonder why, if Starbucks cares so much about the environment, they would open a drive through and encourage people to build their lives around cars…just like adding parking lots: any added car capacity automatically fills up and spreads kinda like cancer.

  • 4 Profile photo of DDF DDF // Feb 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I think it’s great. Drive-thrus are great too. You obviously don’t have kids you are driving around all day….in the RAIN.

  • 5 B'Ham // Feb 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Tony’s coffee is from Bellingham, not Ballard. FWIW.

  • 6 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Feb 22, 2014 at 12:13 am

    MAS, the tip response here is indeed often underwhelming. The Forum section is available for user posts — post your tips there. I for one would love to hear about interesting local coffee places.

  • 7 B'Ham // Feb 22, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Mondo, Unfortunately the forum is only available to those few who haven’t been caught up in the spam filter. The white-list response is underwhelming as well.

    -The Poster Formerly Known as Ernie.

  • 8 MAS // Feb 22, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Tony’s set up a training and educational lab in East Ballard which also operates as a mini cafe. That qualifies as a Ballard presence.

  • 9 g'ham // Feb 22, 2014 at 8:18 am

    what a crying shame.
    ballard does not need another starbucks.
    those that like drive-thrus can go back to Olympic manor or whatever car-centric place they reside.

  • 10 B'Ham // Feb 22, 2014 at 10:01 am


    Tony’s Coffee has been roasting specialty coffees in Bellingham since the 70’s, and they are an institution there. Today they still roast all of their beans in Bellingham, so if they win an award it’s probably more accurate to describe them as “Bellingham’s Tony’s Coffee” rather than “Ballard’s Tony’s Coffee”.

  • 11 Gin // Feb 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Micro roasters do have an important place in our coffee culture, so why can’t we support anyone we’d like? I’m happy that SBUX now has a drive thru presence in Ballard, and while I shop or walk my ‘hood, I always go to Equal Exchange, Makena, or other micros. I think people just like to hate SBUX. Too bad, really.

  • 12 Sam // Feb 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    “if Starbucks cares so much about the environment, they would open a drive through”

    What would you rather they build, a walk through?

  • 13 C. Knudsen // Feb 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Our city council is in thrall to developers who save big bucks by not having to pay to install parking for all of a building’s units.
    This Starbucks is around the corner from a single family residence being replaced by a 5-story, 50 unit building with NO parking.

    I don’t think all the cars to this drive will be from Olympic Manor.

    Be interesting to know how many cars are registered to inhabitants of the big new buildings around 15-Market, and how many parking spaces per unit they have.

    The city council and planning department are in a very tall building downtown and seem to have no clue about what’s happening down here on the street.

  • 14 MAS // Feb 24, 2014 at 7:50 am

    @B’Ham – I’m well aware of that.

    I mentioned the Ballard training facility as it was pertinent to the Coffee Fest win. The training in preparation for the Coffee Fest competition took place in Ballard.

    Tony’s decided to reboot their image and quality about 2 years ago. One of the first actions they did was to setup the training lab in Ballard, which goes back to the point I was trying to tell this blog. There is an incredible indie coffee story happening in Ballard now, which they have been blind to reporting, even when that information is handed to them.

  • 15 KJ // Feb 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I for one used to dis Starbucks coffee in general, but now I work there and I can tell you not only are they the cleanest food service places I’ve ever worked (I’ve worked in a ton) but Starbucks does in fact do a lot for local communities and for the environment, as well as all employees volunteering for numerous local charities/events throughout the year. I like their coffee now, because I researched it, where they get it, how it’s produced, how they treat workers. You can research it too if anyone would bother to read about it. I have never been treated more kindly in a job in my 35 yrs of working than here at Starbucks, whom I am grateful to for hiring a 50 yr old man with disabilities and will be giving me full insurance for working 20+ hrs a week. Whatever you think of Starbucks, they provide many jobs for people of all ages and abilities and are by far the most diverse and friendly place I’ve ever worked. I was worried too frankly, about the cars coming through all day as I live very close, but it’s no worse than the exhaust I breathe from 15th Ave every day, and they move through very fast. I encourage you all to come by and say hi. I am usually at the drive-thru or walk-up window. Dogs welcome to come have a “puppacino” (whipped cream on a cup lid).

  • 16 Cwalt // Feb 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Manager of Starbucks — named Groscup! It doesn’t get better than that :)

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