While maintaining fierce brand loyalty and continuous strides in the creation of packaged coffee drinks, Portland, Oregon-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters has not been immune from the retail impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In what the iconic Peet’s-owned company described as a devastating and “previously unimaginable decision,” Stumptown has thus far been forced to shut down down three of its 12 cafes — in Seattle, at the Ace Hotel in Chicago, and in downtown Los Angeles. Despite the sad news, there’s also some reason to rejoice.
Last month, the company officially opened its first international location inside the brand new Ace Hotel in Kyoto, Japan. In what is also an international debut for the boutique hotel brand, the facility was designed in collaboration with famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who was also the creative force behind the Tokyo Starbucks Reserve roastery.
“It’s a strange and uncomfortable time to be opening a new cafe, especially as we grapple with the ongoing effects of the pandemic on our business here in the U.S., but we’re excited nonetheless to serve a new community with the support of our longtime partners Ace Hotels,” Stumptown said in a June 9 announcement of the opening.
Currently opened in a “preview period,” the hotel’s design incorporates a combination of eastern and western design concepts, and features individual pieces from artists and craftspeople hailing from both Japan and the United States. The food-and-beverage offerings therein, however, face firmly to the west.
With a menu similar to all its U.S. retail locations — including various espresso-based standbys, individual pourovers and drip brew — the new Stumptown bar’s F&B roommates at the Ace include: Piopiko, a cocktail bar and taco restaurant led by Wes Avila of L.A.’s Guerrilla Tacos; an osteria from James Beard Award winner Marc Vetri of Philadelphia’s Vetri Cucina; and an all-day American restaurant expected later this year from James Beard Award winner Naomi Pomeroy of Portland’s acclaimed Beast.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.