Highland Park gives Starbucks store a second shot

Before …



HIGHLAND PARK –– After Monica Alcaraz visited the neighborhood’s newly opened Starbucks last summer, she left disappointed from the rather bare bones store. “It was not what I thought we were going to get,” said Alcaraz of the York Boulevard outlet that was soon derided as the “most depressing Starbucks in America.” But on Tuesday, Alcaraz  was back at the Highland Park store after it was remodeled in response to criticism. “It’s a huge difference,” said Alcaraz, who is president of the neighborhood council. “It’s so open and inviting.”

Alcaraz along with other residents got a sneak peak at the remodeled store on Tuesday in advance of today’s re-opening for walk-up customers. While the outlet still lacks an indoor seating area, the semi-enclosed front entrance has been opened up to allow more light and tables; a restroom door has been moved away from the order window and replaced by artwork; reclaimed wood siding now warms up the exterior; metal security bars have been removed and a modern, metal trellis has been installed over a side patio. These and other changes pleased those who attended the preview.

“They really rose to the occasion,” said Harvey Slater, chairman of the neighborhood council’s planning and land use committee. “They really didn’t have to do anything. They really showed good faith to the community.”

Starbucks district manager Tim Douglass said the changes are intended to create a more welcoming environment for patrons who arrive on foot or on bike and want to “sit around and unwind.” The Highland Park Starbucks, a former hamburger stand that was remodeled last year, had originally been designed primarily for drive-up customers, who are already lined up when the store opens at 5 a.m. on weekdays.

“We have to make sure that we please both groups,” said Douglass.

Remodeled Highland Park Starbucks 3-10-2015 3-55-14 AM

Remodeled Highland Park Starbucks 3-10-2015 3-56-37 AM

Remodeled Highland Park Starbucks 3-10-2015 3-59-35 AM

Remodeled Highland Park Starbucks 3-10-2015 3-55-05 AM

Courtesy Starbucks

Courtesy Starbucks


  1. So much better! Like night and day!

  2. SO MUCH BETTER. Still not an inside location but at least it doesn’t feel like the 3rd world anymore.

    • Is there something about Highland Park that seems non-aligned to communism or capitalism to you? That term became obsolescent after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  3. WAY better. However, it appears that this remains the only Starbucks in the known universe where one is not allowed to put cream and sugar in their own drinks. Why?

  4. Thanks Goodness for the community outcry demanding a better looking Starbucks!!!

  5. Wow.

    You know the neighborhood is gentrifying when people can say “Hey, Starbucks, your new store isn’t good enough – build us a better one.”

    Way to go HLP on flexing your gentrification muscles! Work it out!

  6. Congrats HP! You have blindly embraced Starbucks faux-culture so much that you begged for more of it. You actually begged for more. Pleaded for more. Commented for it! So there you go, you asked for more of faux culture and you got it! Have you no dignity? I thought HP was legit until this pathetic and depressing act of human depravity occurred.

  7. Very nice. but no place to sit inside. But there is plenty of room outside for the community to come together and meet. Very nice design. Kudo’s to Starbucks for making it right.

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