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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Empire Espresso

Empire Espresso in Columbia City is now open in earnest and I recently spent the first of what I hope to be many afternoons working away on my computer while Tino, the friendly coffeeshop visionary and barrista served me up delicious food and drinks.

Tino has three paninis on the menu (and a seasonal variety to be announced), including a very satisfying vegetarian sandwich layered with roasted red peppers, a thick pack of fresh spinach, salty feta with the option of horseradish on delicious rosemary bread from Macrina bakery. In addition to the veggie sandwich, he has one with turkey, one with salami, and a $3 breakfast panini with eggs and Havarti. He also has vegan donuts from Mighty-O, and some tasty looking chewy sesame seed pastries that I look forward to tasting next time around, and the rumor of both sweet and savory scones coming soon from Macrina.

Warm, crisp toasty panini with plenty of tasty fillings

On this particular day of record breaking temperatures, I decided to go the route of people in hot climates all over the world and beat the heat with more heat in the form of a cayenne mocha. Let me say: I love heat, both on my tongue and on my body… and this drink was the perfect blend of shaved bittersweet chocolate and just enough cayenne to fill my insides with a delightful swell of warmth.

Cayenne mocha, made, to my great pleasure, without the common touch Cinnamon

Tino is highly conscious of the relationships he builds with both his customers and other local merchants and really strives to do everything the best way he can. He gets his coffee from Seattle Coffee Works, his teas from Teahouse Kuan Yin, the chocolate for his mochas and hot chocolate from Chocolati, his baked goods from Macrina and Mighty-O, etc. The result is a well thought out, delicious menu that feels both socially responsible and well connected to the community. Tino's vision includes keeping his prices low, and once he becomes established, donating a percentage of his profits to local charities.

Delectable slivers of melty Chocolati chocolate in the final most coveted (and saddest) sip

I know there has been some discussion about whether this part of the city needs more coffeeshops, and I'd argue that we are actually lacking in dedicated coffeeshops and that this place is a welcome and needed addition in that way. I really appreciate having another local spot (other than Cafe Vita, which I also very much appreciate) with an environment conducive to normal coffeeshop style staying- staying to sip, staying to chat, and in my case, staying a couple of hours to compute (there are plenty of outlets, and a dedicated WIFI connection).

I am thrilled about the emergence of Empire Espresso, and sure hope it succeeds!

Empire Espresso
(206) 659-0588
Columbia City
3829 S Edmunds St
Seattle, WA 98118
www.empireespresso.com

Empire Espresso on Urbanspoon

EMPIRE ESPRESSO, take 1
Written 7/16/09

It was with great pleasure that I discovered the emergence of a new coffee shop in Columbia City: Empire Espresso in the old Villa Victoria space.

It isn't quite fully opened yet (the grand opening is set to be Monday July 27, 2009), but they generously and temporarily opened their doors today with free iced coffees as part of the Light Rail celebrations.

I am really excited about this place! For starters, the space is going to be lovely. Today, with the grand opening still over a week away, wood was still unfinished and the walls still bare, but the bones were clean, light, modern and with the chic industrial flavor of a coffee shop owned by somebody with architects in the family (as is the case here). A cool detail is that the long narrow space opens via a giant windowed garage door at the back end to a quiet, off street courtyard with outside tables and chairs.

Still in the finishing stages of construction, but mighty promising!

The consumables hold just as much promise: the coffee is roasted by Seattle Coffee Works, donuts will be from the delicious (and vegan!) Mighty-O, and there is a heavy duty panini press waiting to be brought into service. Tino, the friendly and engaging owner is still ironing out the details of his menu, and is open to talking to customers about what they want to see.

I'll write again once these guys open their doors for real, but wanted to post a heads up in the meantime. I just love seeing good and inspired people following their dreams in the world of independant food and drinking establishments, and have high hopes for this one!

The sweet friendly face of Tino, the owner, barista, coffee aficionado and passionate mastermind of a great neighborhood hangout. Go say hello!

Empire Espresso
(206) 659-0588
Columbia City
3829 S Edmunds St
Seattle, WA 98118
www.empireespresso.com
http://empireespressobar.blogspot.com/
(blog documenting the progress of the cafe, real website to come later)

Empire Espresso on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

T. Clear said...

Man, I hope they can make it in this location. Columbia City already has its share of coffee shops.

~traci said...

Actually we don't have a true coffee shop. The bakery is always mobbed, because it's really a bakery and Tutta Bellas is truly a pizza place. Empire is a coffee house true to form. Coffee is great. Atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. We are very excited to have them in our hood. They could use better sign's, but hope that's to come!

Rassamee said...

i agree with traci and it seems like columbia city is agreeing too. empire has already had its fair share of rushes. i love that this is a cool spot to sit and get some work, reading, or studying done. the other places to get coffee in co. city don't give you that option.