Seattle's Best Coffee Launches Cute Mini-Sized Red Drive Thrus!

IMAG3387 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee dt with the Starbucks hq peaking out at a distance
IMAG3387 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee dt with the Starbucks hq peaking out at a distance

Seattle's Best Coffee (a subsidiary of Starbucks /fully operated by Starbucks) is launching little tiny drive-thru only stores all over the country.  I understand that there will be about 300 of them, from what I have heard - look for one near you! Before I go any further, I want to say that I had BLAST experiencing this.  A total blast.  I write this article sitting at home, smiling.  Today is  Saturday, and I was out with a good friend, and we were returning home to Seattle from something we'd both just been to in West Seattle.  My friend was driving her car.  This is an important little piece of information because normally, I don't get to go through drive-thrus at all.  At the moment, I don't have access to a car, and I haven't for the past couple of months.  And even before that, because of some mechanical problems with my old car, I would not use a drive-thru.  So this was a special occasion for me:  It's the first time I've been through a drive-thru in quite a while.  My last drive-thru experience might have been the shipping container Starbucks which opened in December 2011.  And I think  I may have only used the walk up window during my visit to the shipping container store.

In fact, I'd previously planned to take the Link Light Rail to the SODO station and walk to the new Seattle's Best Coffee drive thru, but this was much more of a treat to experience this spontaneously with a friend in a car.

My friend and I were driving northbound on Fourth Avenue South.  We saw the little drive thru, and pulled in and first parked so I could take a few photos.  Here's the what the store looks like as you approach from Fourth Avenue South, heading northbound:

IMAG3364 24Nov2012 South wall of the new Seattles Best Coffee DT sodo neighborhood
IMAG3364 24Nov2012 South wall of the new Seattles Best Coffee DT sodo neighborhood

I walked up to the walk up window and ordered an "Iced Birthday Cake Latte."  This was surprisingly good.  It was very sweet with lots of vanilla flavor, and had fantastic toppings.  The curls on top tasted like shaved white chocolate.  And the sprinkles were fun too.  I can see how people get hooked on these sweet drinks!  Trust me, it wasn't a true "coffee" experience but it was a delicious experience.  I had tons of fun ordering, and since I didn't know what to get, the helpful partner (all the people working in company-operated SBCs are called "partners")   in the red apron suggested this beverage as one of his favorites.  He was super nice.  (I think he said his name was Sam.)  And then I took some more photos from the front of the SBC drive thru:

IMAG3375 - 24Nov2012 Iced Birthday Cake Latte drink at Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3375 - 24Nov2012 Iced Birthday Cake Latte drink at Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3371 - 24Nov2012 West wall and walk up window of the new Seattle's Best DT in the sodo neighborhood
IMAG3371 - 24Nov2012 West wall and walk up window of the new Seattle's Best DT in the sodo neighborhood

By the way, this SBC drive thru is so close to the Starbucks Support Center (Starbucks calls their headquarters the "SSC," which stands for the "Starbucks Support Center.") that you could see the top of the Siren peaking out at us.  (It's most obvious in the very first photo in this article).

Then the two of us went through the drive thru.  My friend and I both ordered vegetable pockets.  They were pretty good.  My friend thought the inside texture was a bit too 'doughy' for her, but there were still good.  When I was at the walk up window, I did inquire about the breakfast sandwiches.  For a long time, SBC has offered a very nice basic egg and cheese sandwich that I like much better than the Starbucks breakfast sandwiches.  It somehow tastes fresher.  Those are still available.  There is a variety of food and drink items available.  The guy working the drive-thru appeared to be having a blast.  I snapped a cute photo when my friend leaned forward to grab some money!

IMAG3398 - 24 Nov 2012 Rose and I are at the drive through new Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3398 - 24 Nov 2012 Rose and I are at the drive through new Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3362 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee DT menuboard sodo neighborhood
IMAG3362 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee DT menuboard sodo neighborhood
IMAG3361 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best DT menuboards
IMAG3361 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best DT menuboards
IMAG3402 Veggie pocket from Seattles Best Coffee dt 24Nov2012
IMAG3402 Veggie pocket from Seattles Best Coffee dt 24Nov2012

  If you want to visit this little Seattle's Best Coffee, the address is 2990 Fourth Avenue South, Seattle, Washington, 98134.

This store's grand opening was November 14, 2012.

(By the way, I don't recall where I heard that there would be about 300 of these new concept drive-thrus, so if anyone has more definite information, please let me know.  I do think it's cool that they are planned to be all company-operated stores!)

I realize this little Seattle's Best Coffee blog is very quiet!  Please leave me a comment and "like" the blog!

Thank you!

A Close up Look at the New Seattle's Best Coffee Concept Drive thru in Illinois

2  - 4 - Front of Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 4 - Front of Seattles Best Coffee drive thru

One of my regular readers (over at my other blog) recently sent me a series of photos he took while out on a visit to the new Seattle's Best Coffee concept drive-thru store.  This is a great opportunity to get a much closer look at the store that I wrote about in an article last month.  Here's the March 19, 2012, article about the new store.  By the way, I am eternally thankful for sending me these great photos! Here's the address of this Seattle's Best Coffee:

101 W. North Ave Northlake, IL 60164

(708) 562-0535

I have to say, there really are lots of things about Seattle's Best Coffee that I find fun and exciting.  Those who know me, know that I am not a fan of the drive-thru but I still love all the whimsy, and fun, and variety of products available at a Seattle's Best.  By looking at these photos, and based on my experience, it looks generally speaking that the food and baked goods at a Seattle's Best are pretty good quality.  I kind of like that it is a business that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Below are the menu boards from the drive thru.  One thing to point out is that the cookies and baked items are baked on site.  That's certainly interesting in light of Starbucks' recent experimentation with baked in-store items too.  Also, it looks like from these menu boards, that the stores tend to "feature" some very sweet espresso-based beverages.  You can buy a "Birthday Cake Latte" and a "S'Mores Mocha"!

2 - 1 - 4 drive thru menu drinks Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 4 drive thru menu drinks Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 5  drive thru Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 5 drive thru Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 2 - 2 Frozen drinks Seattles Best Coffee
2 - 2 - 2 Frozen drinks Seattles Best Coffee
2 - 3 - 5 - Snack drive thru menu Seattles Best Coffee Illinois
2 - 3 - 5 - Snack drive thru menu Seattles Best Coffee Illinois

One more thing I wanted to point out was the simplicity of their "loyalty" program.  Seattle's Best Coffee has a basic punch card.  You buy 10 drinks, the 11th one is free.  There is something to be said for a non-complicated loyalty program.  Funny thing is, I don't recall seeing these punch cards at my local Seattle's Best Coffee here in Seattle.  I will have to go take a closer look.

2 - 8 - 13 Seattles Best Coffee punch card
2 - 8 - 13 Seattles Best Coffee punch card

Here's are the rest of the photos.  My friend who took these really got some great photos!  Though it appears this store mostly has a drive thru business, there is a limited amount of interior seating too.  My understanding is that this is not a franchise store, but rather a company-operated location (meaning that the employees are partners.)  Hope you enjoyed all these pictures!   Please let me know what you think!

2 - 10 - 17 Red Verismos Seattles best coffee Northlake Illinois
2 - 10 - 17 Red Verismos Seattles best coffee Northlake Illinois
2 - 5 - 10 - Snacks at new Seattles Best store
2 - 5 - 10 - Snacks at new Seattles Best store
2 - 6 - 11 cold case Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 6 - 11 cold case Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 7 - 12 Seattles Best Coffee drive thru interior
2 - 7 - 12 Seattles Best Coffee drive thru interior
2 - 9 - 15 Interior seating Seattles best Coffee Illinois
2 - 9 - 15 Interior seating Seattles best Coffee Illinois
2 - 11 - 21 Seattles Best Coffee new store Northlake Illinois April 2012
2 - 11 - 21 Seattles Best Coffee new store Northlake Illinois April 2012
2 - 12 - 23 exterior seattles best coffee northlake illinois April 2012
2 - 12 - 23 exterior seattles best coffee northlake illinois April 2012