Capitol Hill is losing a long-tenured coffee shop to redevelopment at the end of the month. Kaladi Brothers Coffee — the only outpost the Alaska-based coffee company has in the lower 48 — is closing for good on July 29.
The coffee shop opened in 2006 and has moved a couple times but always occupied a space on the block of Pike Street between Belmont and Summit. That property has been slated for a redevelopment project since 2020 that will replace it with an eight-story mixed-use building, so this closure isn’t wholly unanticipated, but it will leave a hole in Capitol Hill’s landscape.
Longtime Kaladi manager Erika Zumwalt has been very intentional about creating a welcoming space for LGBTQ people on the Hill. The cafe has links to community nonprofit Gay City, which at one point shared a space with Kaladi Brothers. In 2018, then–executive director of Gay City Fred Swanson told Seattle Gay Scene that the idea was to create a “queer living room” in the heart of the historically LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood. Kaladi highlighted the work of LGBTQ artists on its walls, and Zumwalt made sure to hire and train queer and trans employees, according to an Instagram post from Vanishing Seattle.
Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported that the coffee shop considered closing last summer but took the offer from the landlord, Hunters Capital, to remain open until 2023. (Gay City has already relocated a couple blocks away.) There are no plans to relocate or reopen.
A notice on the door lists the Venmo handles of the 11 staff members who will be looking for new jobs, encouraging customers to donate. It also has a message for the community: “We’ve had the pleasure of growing with Seattle and now the time has come for the new Seattle to do its thing. We’re gonna miss you.”