As luck would have it, a few weeks back one of Your Sprudge Editors just happened to be in Seattle for the soft opening of Caffe Ladro's drop-dead incredible stunning new cafe at 1800 9th Avenue, in the South Lake Union / Paramount Theater / bus station district. South Lake Union is growing, bumping, infused with a heaping heck-load of Paul Allen cash and Amazon.com employee offices, plus all manner of techy start-up droog rooms and arguably the world's most lavish Whole Foods. It's a happening part of town, and now Ladro is right in the mix.
Longtime Sprudge readers may already be familiar with Ladro's story, but for those who aren't, here it is in a nutshell:
Caffe Ladro founder Jack Kelly had enormous success with his chain of 13 Caffe Ladro cafes throughout the late 90s and 2000s, but the coffee was something of an afterthought. At some point, Mr. Kelly got tired of visiting other people's cafes when he wanted good coffee, and so in 2011 he enacted enormous changes at Ladro. This included hiring staff like Jared Linzmeier (former Intelligentsia), Laila Ghambari (former Stumptown), and Dismas Smith (2002 North American Barista Champ) to oversee sourcing, training, and roasting, respectively. Their coffee is much better now.
In less than 2 years, Ladro has gone from an afterthought on the Seattle specialty coffee radar to a major player with presence. Their frankly stunning new cafe is yet another bump in that direction. Let's oogle it together, shall we?
It's in the lobby of the 1800 Ninth building, and was designed by LMN Architects, a Seattle design firm. “This is our opportunity to do things a little differently”, Ladro's Director of Education Laila Ghambari told Sprudge. “A lot of changes have happened in the last 2 years, but we've been around for 20. This space is like a chance for us to start over in many ways.”
There is no menu at this new Ladro, and no blenders. Here we see a hunky young bar back going “shake shake shake” on a delicious looking iced beverage.
The cafe's manager is a Mr. Ryan Bisson, who has worked previously with Ladro as an educator at their Upper Queen Anne store. Mr. Bisson was a 2013 Northwest Regional Barista Competition competitor, and is a veteran of Torque Coffee Roasters. The cafe is anchored by a dreamy refurbished 2005 La Marzocco Linea 3 group, powder coated white.
There is no menu at this new Ladro, and no blenders. Their filter coffee service is anchored by a Wilbur Curtis Co. Gold Cup brewer.
Original photography by Alex Negranza for Sprudge.com