Highland Park’s Depressing Starbucks closed for remodeling therapy

Renovations are expected to be completed by the end of March | Nathan Solis

Renovations are expected to be completed by the end of March | Nathan Solis

HIGHLAND PARK — Will the Highland Park Starbucks – aka “The Most Depressing Starbucks in America” –  go from sad to fab? We will find out soon. The York Boulevard store was recently shut down for renovations designed to address some of the criticism that was directed at the outlet after it opened last summer.

Getting the necessary city permits and approvals took longer than expected, delaying the start of the renovation, according to a Starbucks official. The changes should be completed by the end of March.

The company pledged to make several changes following stories in The Eastsider and other media sites:

  • Additional storefront windows where customers order which will increase contact with employees. There will be one window to order and another to pick up.
  • Relocating and screening the bathroom door
  • Removing salvaged windows and installing roll-up doors
  • Converting the planter in front to sidewalk seating and creating two pedestrian entrances of the sidewalk.
  • Replacing the roll-up metal doors with two large recycled wood doors that slide barn door style.
  • Enhancing the side patio experience through a trellis and lighting
Photo by Nathan Solis

Photo by Nathan Solis


  1. They might also consider giving a thorough cleaning to ALL the other Starbucks in town (and across the country)…

  2. I will actually buy a cup of coffee from them after they complete the renovations. I was boycotting them before, as I was disgusted at their shoe box design before, but they listened and didn’t ignore us, so I’ll buy a latte as a nod.

    • I would hold off on offering them any of your hard earned money until you see how the actual renovation turns out. Most of these upgrades sound pretty nominal and I doubt adding an extra check cashing style pick up window is going to make this location considerably attractive or inviting.

  3. Good on starbucks for actually listening and attempting to offer a better experience for their customers. I wish the same can be said about Big 5 who just erected a ginormous sign on their roof that everybody in garvanza can see from their friggin backyard!

  4. Contact Huizar’s office on the Big 5 signage. Isn’t there an ordinance on size and aesthetics in the area? I can’t believe it’s legal.

    • Jose Huizar care about oversize signage? I wish. He’ll just pocket their contribution and have them plaster his name up there.

  5. If you are going to drive through, go to MacDonald’s. They have better coffee at a MUCH BETTER PRICE. Plus, you’ll avoid the creepy Starbuck’s crowd of wannabees.

  6. At the LH Mcdonald’s the day before yesterday (only coffee open at 4AM when I went to the Hollyhock House opening) my medium coffee was $2.39, That is pretty much in line with Starbucks drip coffee prices. Its a wash as to which one tastes better.

  7. Starbucks serves bad coffee and is full of pretentious a holes. Why does anyone go there?

  8. We can’t complain when businesses don’t listen to us and then not support them when they actually close down shop to fix their mistakes and LISTEN to the community. Does it mean I will stop supporting smaller, locsl coffee houses? No, but I also want to support Starbucks for not dismissing the community’s concerns.

  9. Who cares about the aesthetics. It’s a fricken Starbucks. All this pettiness and making them close for remodeling is making their employees lose money.

    • “Who cares about the aesthetics?”
      A whole lot of us do! We care what and HOW buildings are built in our community. Gone are the days of throwing up cheap, stucco boxes with no regard to design, sense of history, respect for community, spending the least amount of $ on aesthetics cuz it’s a poor neighborhood where folks don’t notice anyways. Folks are sick of that attitude. There’s a LOT of us here that actually care.

      • It’s an old ugly building that Starbucks re-purposed and, according to some, was doing quite a bit of business as is. Still, they are responding to complaints.

        • The previous building looked 10000 times better than the prison yard motif monstrosity Starbucks replaced it with. At least the original spot had some architectural style, windows, and felt mildly inviting. This shithole Starbucks decided to build in its place is thoroughly insulting to HLP. It shows complete contempt for what they imagined the neighborhood to be.

          • I’m not familiar with the location but understood from what I read here that it was just a converted drive thru. In Echo Park I think the only Starbucks we have is in Lucy’s Laundry. I could be wrong about that. I also read that the Starbucks that everyone’s upset with was doing okay business wise.

    • Starbucks makes run of the mill coffee for slightly higher than run of the mill prices. It is also invariable packed. I can only believe that the sole reason people go to Starbucks is for that plastic vaguely upscale aesthetic. If i went to Starbucks I would be up in arms too.

  10. This is GREAT news. We were given a cheap and depressing store, we complained, Starbucks listened, and they are making changes for us. This is how corporate America should work.

    Gone are the days when cheap, easy, and ugly will pass for acceptable in HP. It’s a new day here and business need to live up to higher expectations on every level.

  11. Honestly Classic Burger had indoor seating; they didn’t change the layout of the building very much at all for the initial design. Yes, it would have been small and not offered much in the way of seats, but it would have been better than an ill-advised outdoor overhang and hiding the baristas behind bullet-proof glass. Holding further judgment until the remodel is done, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be all that different.

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