Day 2: The Coffee Thief
Day two of the coffee shop challenge takes us from Burien to West Seattle. That’s right, it’s time for Caffe Ladro. Despite the fact that I’ve driven past this cafe on a regular basis for more than 3 years now, I had yet to set foot inside. First time for everything, right?
I’m a little biased since I *heart* West Sleazy, but Ladro is located in a pretty rockin’ spot. It’s walking distance to the Morgan Street Junction (read: Zeek’s Pizza and the ultra cozy and literate Beveridge Place Pub) but far enough away to have a neighborhood feel and decent parking. Did I mention the adirondak chairs out front year-round? Excellent.
Christina discovered some fascinating Ladro lore on the interweb. “Ladro”–which is Spanish for “coffee thief”–is representative of the history of the local coffee chain. The story, in a written-by-someone-else nutshell:
You can read Sean Nelson’s full story from the Stranger here.
Perhaps because it’s Friday–or maybe because I spied an oversized jar of butterhorns, my fav treat, the second I walked in the door–but Ladro really wowed me. The oh-so-close locale didn’t hurt either. Regardless of the reason, my morning at Ladro was delightful and productive.
- Address: 701 California Ave SW (just south of the Morgan Street Junction)
- Parking: Loads of free parking–definitely not an issue
- Walkability: Let’s just say that every other customer was on foot, most with a furry friend in tow
- Neighborhood goodness: Most of what made my Ladro visit so enjoyable was the neighborhood feel. The all-female barista crew cheerfully greeted people by name and customers seemed to know each other. I nestled in next to what must have been a daily meeting of an old boy’s club and the conversations that ensued were hilarious
Bevvies and snackums
- Eats: They had me at butterhorns. Couple that with Ladro-made biscotti, granola, a large cookie and muffin assortment, quiche, and cupcakes, and your every sweet-tooth need is basically fulfilled
- Java: Sumptuous. Most importantly–I discovered there’s a name for my drink of choice (double americano with soy foam topper)–yankee dog. Hot damn!
- Workstations: Pretty decent. Bar seating on the window, couches in the back, bench seating along the south wall, and small tables sprinkled about the middle. The tiled tabletops weren’t the most mouse-friendly thing in the world though
- Outlet-to-table ratio: Fair, but could definitely be better. The captain of the old boy’s club informed me there was one behind the couch in the back, but I didn’t need power enough to warrant a check
- WiFi speed: Just fine. Couldn’t connect at first, but once connected I couldn’t complain
- Ambiance: Ladro was the perfect mix of young and old, professionals and students. It was hip without being pretentious, and cozy despite the lack of my requisite fireplace. Great feel and great music rotation (Cat Power? Yes)
- People watching potential: Exactly what you’d expect of West Seattle: a mix of trendy young parents, granola middle-aged professionals, retirees, and everything in between. Plus, there were a disproportionate number of adorable (and very well-behaved) young children that walked through the door
- Coziness-factor: Definitely the kind of place that makes you want to settle in and stay awhile. The chairs could be a little more cozy, but the comfy couches in the back offer an alternative
Ladro won some instant bonus points: after ordering my drink, I reached into my bag to realize my wallet hadn’t made it out of the house. I tried to cancel my order, but the barista–without batting an eye–assured me I could just pay next time. Ladro ladies, I salute you.
It was the kind of morning that made me feel good to be a part of a neighborhood like West Seattle. Despite the fact that I hoped for slightly better workspace, Ladro was comfortable and comforting. I will definitely be back. Caffe Ladro, you weighed in a 9.5 out of a possible 10. Kudos.
I *think* that’s a wrap for the week. I may venture out tomorrow for a study sesh, but don’t get your hopes up. (You were! Weren’t you?) If nothing else, we’ll pick back up on Monday:
Day 3: Monday, January 17th
Destination: Victor’s Celtic Coffee Co (Redmond)