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As we enter the new year, there’s one thing that’s already clear: We’re going to need our energy to get through it. And what could be more energizing than a carefully crafted cup of coffee from a local South Seattle coffee shop?
Independent coffee shops are so much more than the coffee they serve. Pre-pandemic, they were our go-to meeting spots when we wanted to catch up with a loved one, community organizing spaces, and where we set up our office for the day. It may be awhile until we can fully embrace everything these special neighborhood spaces have to offer, but for now, we can still enjoy a delicious drink made by people who genuinely care.
Beacon Hill’s The Station coffee shop has long been a hub of community activity and advocacy, hosting everything from meetings to artwork to a free pantry. Now it’s home to Washington State’s first Short Story Dispenser, courtesy of the Seattle Public Library (SPL) and French publisher Short Édition.
The owners of four beloved South Seattle cafes — Beach Bakery, Cafe Avole, Cafe Red, and The Station — recount the stories of their opening, discuss the impact of the pandemic, and look cautiously towards the future.
Beach Bakery’s proprietor, Amy O’Connell, has been around the block and back in food service, whether it’s waiting tables, cooking diner food, bartending, washing dishes, or cooking gourmet cuisine. She’s sought further insight, travelling on a shoestring budget to experience the food cultures of various countries in Europe and provinces of Mexico. Amy’s also been to hell and back. Fortunately for the South End, she eventually figured out exactly how she wanted to express herself in the industry: “The more down to earth, the more comfortable food is, the more comforting food is, the better I am with it, and the better I am sharing it with other people.”