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Seattle Coffee Vets Teaming Up for Ballard Café Royal Drummer

Ballard public building royal drummer

Architectural rendering of the Ballard Public building.

A pair of Seattle coffee veterans are beginning the buildout of Royal Drummer, which they describe as an experiential café that will open in the new Ballard Public building in Spring 2016.

Jill Killen and coffee expert Neil Oney are providing the backbeat behind Royal Drummer, the name of which references a rowdy Parisian tavern known to fuel the vices of upper-crust patrons such as regular visitors Louis XV and Marie Antoinette. The shop will offer a rotating multiroaster coffee program, seasonal pastries, made-to-order food dishes, and a beer and wine menu that the duo says will “capture the bicoastal variances of leading culinary locales.”

Killen has been running the longstanding café Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf since 2003. She purchased El Diablo Coffee in Queen Anne in 2012, hiring Oney last year to help improve the beverage program at both cafes. Oney had previously managed Tougo Coffee in the Central District, as well as Trabant Coffee in Pioneer Square, which has since transitioned to a Slate Coffee Roasters outpost.

Royal Drummer’s coffee program will focus on single-origin offerings from roasters throughout the United States, with roasts available as espresso via a custom Synesso MVP and as brewed coffee via a Curtis Seraphim system. In-house pastries and a rotating daily selection of donuts will appeal to on-the-go patrons, while those wishing to stay awhile will be able to choose from a regionally inspired restaurant menu. Said Killen, “We want to reenvision café fare, and invite the Ballard community to do the same.”

Construction is underway this month, with tentative plans to open this Spring. In the meantime, Killen and Oney plan to roll out a branded mobile cart to familiarize the neighborhood with the name and service.

Royal Drummer will be one of numerous retail tenants within the mixed residential new Ballard Public building, coming to the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 65th St in Ballard.


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