Blog_Building_Lighthouse

Living In Seattle: Lighthouse Roasters

Seattle’s True Neighborhood Coffee Shop

Living in Seattle almost automatically means you enjoy coffee. Remember the days of Folgers Coffee? Perhaps mom and dad still have a can stashed away in the pantry from 1994?

If you happen to be of the millennial generation which I’d guess consists of at least 80% of you then you may be more familiar with Starbucks, made famous by local Seattleite Howard Schultz. I’d also be willing to bet that some of you may even dislike Starbucks, writing it off as a corporate behemoth running a monopoly on the coffee industry.

What you may not understand, however, is that Howard Schultz pioneered a national transition away from weird canned coffee to a much higher quality, artisan coffee in the early 1980’s. Something we should all be thankful for!

But this post isn’t about Starbucks, it’s about Lighthouse Roasters, a much smaller, more localized coffee shop with roots dating back to those early days.

Lighthouse‘s humble Seattle location at the corner of Phinney Ave N. and N. 34th St.

Ed Leebrick, founder/owner of Lighthouse Roasters was among a core group of Seattle based coffee lovers, the likes of which went on to create brands such as Seattle Coffee Works, Cafe Vita, Espresso Vivace, Stumptown and even La Marzocco.

In the early 1990’s, after spending time bagging beans for Caravalli, Ed was given an opportunity to learn more about roasting high quality coffee. In 1993 he released his inner entrepreneurial spirit and started Lighthouse Rosters.

Your imagination may lead you to picture a coffee shop sporting subway tile, moody yet trendy aesthetic paired with tattooed baristas catering to clientele more interested in their social media pages than the company they came to meet. While there is a place for that in our society, it won’t be found at Lighthouse. Or at least not at the forefront.

Located on the corner of Phinney Ave N. and N. 43rd St. in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood is Lighthouse Roasters’ one and only physical coffee shop. It’s a quintessential Seattle craftsman building with street level cafe’ and a single residence above. Imagine your favorite neighborhood family-run restaurant, this is the cafe’ equivalent.

Everything about Lighthouse is unassuming. The location, the staff, the customers and even the branding. Everything that is, except for the coffee. Roasted daily in vintage cast-iron, the warming aroma mixes with fresh Pacific Northwest air wafting through the surrounding residential streets enticing all to visit. The focus at Lighthouse is creating the best, most fresh cup of coffee each and every day.

Among everything else, I most admire Lighthouse for their commitment to community engagement. To this day they strategically do not offer wifi. As General Manager Craig Nobley says, “The coffee is a tool that brings the community together… A place where our customers can close their laptops and leave the distractions of life.”

The next time you find yourself in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood swing by and say hi. Grab a coffee and enjoy conversation with friends. While you’re in the area stop by Evo and admire all the outdoor adventure toys. That caffeine might either help or hurt your purchasing decisions… depending on how you look at it. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

-Peter Mullenbach

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