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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

June 5, 2009 at 4:03 PM

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Vivace roaster and baristas launch Watertown Coffee in old glassblowing gallery

Posted by Melissa Allison

Watertown1The beautiful marble bar with brass footrail is in use again at James Nowak's old glassblowing gallery across 12th Avenue from Seattle University's baseball field. (The sign above the door still says RGB Design.)

Used to serve coffee there years ago, the bar now serves as the ordering point for coffee, food and alcohol at a new coffeehouse started by three former Vivace employees.

Watertown Coffee opened about four months ago with espresso drinks and an interesting vegetarian and vegan menu -- macaroni and cheese with garlic bread ($6.95), vegetarian chili with cornbread ($6.95), barbecued seitan with potato salad ($6.66 --get it?).

Last week, it started selling beer, wine and liquor. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Behind the bar today was Daniel Perry, who roasted coffee with Espresso Vivace owner David Schomer for seven years and worked as a barista there.

Watertown2Today's cook was a very busy Amy Vanderbeck (left), who has made coffee in Seattle since 1985, beginning with a Nordstrom espresso cart and moving in 1989 to Vivace's original espresso cart outside Washington Mutual on Broadway. That's just a year after Schomer started the cart, back when espresso drinks were still fairly new to Seattle.

Their partner at Watertown is Amy's sister, Katy Vanderbeck, another longtime Vivace barista.

Perry said that glassblower James Nowak still works his magic behind the coffeehouse, and some of it is on display in Watertown's light and airy digs.

Laura Klingenstein, a student of international studies and French at Seattle University, said she comes about three times a week. "It's a really good study space -- open, good lighting, free and good wireless," she said. She and her friends like the board games, too, which they play when they're not studying.

watertown3This afternoon, Klingenstein ordered a "Laura Palmer" -- half lemonade, half iced tea and a dash of vanilla syrup over ice. The name is a play on a fairly well-known drink called the Arnold Palmer, which is half lemonade, half iced tea, no syrup. Laura Palmer is also the name of a character in the 1990s television series Twin Peaks, which is set in a small fictional Washington town. Laura is found dead in the pilot show, but it's no reflection on the drink.

Here's a picture from the outside, and a map to Watertown:

watertown4

View Watertown Coffee in a larger map

(Thanks to Coffee Club of Seattle for the tip about this new place.)

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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