HIGHLAND PARK — The neighborhood’s first Starbucks – aka “The Most Depressing Starbucks in America” – is finally going to start seeing some of the changes the coffee store chain promised last summer after the outlet’s design met with heavy criticism.
Some residents have expressed their impatience by the lack of change at the York Boulevard outlet, a former hamburger stand that was converted into a drive-thru Starbucks last summer. “The communities are now left with the UGLIEST store ever built by Starbucks,” said Tina G. Miller in a Facebook comment. “When is the remodel going to happen???”
Starbucks spokeswoman Haley Drage said the remodel was delayed after it took longer than expected to receive the the necessary city permits. Those permits were issued at the end of last month, according to an online summary on the city’s Department of Building & Safety website. Drage said the changes should be completed by the end of March.
While the Highland Park Starbucks will still lack an indoor seating area, 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
Drage said the company erred on designing a Starbucks focused on drive-thru customers instead of one that would cater to sit-down coffee drinkers. “We did not create the right experience for that neighborhood,” she said.