Life as Story: Storyville

” When the ladies returned to the drawing-room, there was little to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, which she did without any intermission till coffee came in, delivering her opinion on every subject in so decisive a manner as proved that she was not used to have her judgment controverted. ”
-Janes Austen, From Pride and Prejudice

After sharing my last post, a friend told me about a new coffee shop in Pike Place Market. I had other plans for my next post, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? I scored a sneak peak at Storyville Coffee before it opened, and now you get to hear about it.

Storyville is the product of Jon Phelps, Jamie Munson, and Kris Rosentrater. The business began as a mail-based bean retailer. The Bainbridge roasting facility offered one signature blend called Prologue with a decaf alternative, appropriately called Epilogue.

Now they have expanded with their own café. Located on the top floor of the Corner Market building, Storyville is in the same building that houses Left Bank Books. If you have been at Pike Place market recently you might have seen the sign: a bright red circle with the silhouette of a boy and his toy airplane. While sipping my mocha, I asked one of the staff about the logo and the name. Lives are stories, the barista told us, and the coffeeshop is a place where people come to share and create them. For the owners these images are symbols of story and creativity.

The plane in that logo has a story as well.  You can see it’s real life inspiration in a photomontage against the wall: a bright shiny Douglas D-3. The Barista tells me the plane actually belongs to owner Jon Phelps.  This machine has shown up in Phelp’s other creative and business pursuits: the name of his musical project, the DC3 Orchestra, and the logo for Full Sail University, which he was founder of.  The Douglas D-3 was an early commercial passenger aircraft, one of the planes that made air travel accessible to the public. A vehicle that allowed people to travel to new places, have new adventures, and create new stories.

You also get a glimpse of Storyville’s own backstory when walking in to the café. On the wall, in large silver letters, is a quote from Gary Phelps, Jon Phelp’s son. Gary has Down’s Syndrome, and when friends discovered they were expecting a Down’s Syndrome baby, they met with the Phelp family to help them understand what to expect. Jon turned the question over to his son, asking him what it was like, having Down’s. Gary thought for a moment then said, “Love everybody, never ever hurt anybody.”

This idea is seen in the service culture of the café. The staff buss the tables here for you, politely removing empty plates and cups while patrons happily chat with each other.  Their brightly colored shirts echo Gary’s quote in bold font, saying simply ‘Love Everybody’.  And this really is the core of Storyville, after all. To create a place for stories: ones that are already written, and those still in the making.

If any of you get the chance to visit Storyville, let me know. I would love to hear stories of your experience! Next time we are back to our regularly scheduled program with Bustle Caffé.


*Thanks to my handsome photographer, Scott Phillips, for taking these photos for me

Storyville Coffee

Open Everyday



5 thoughts on “Life as Story: Storyville

    • They only sell the one blend, quality over variety appears to be the idea. I think it would be really great if they had blends named after classic books. Drinking some Pride and Prejudice blend coffee while reading Pride and Prejudice, how cool would that be?

    • Me too! They also have some pretty delicious pastries that are made in-house, including a wonderful salted caramel roll. I am drooling just thinking about it.

  1. Pingback: Weekend Link-up | Circling the Story

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