Evolution Fresh, Starbucks Coffee Company's new juice and fresh foods concept, opened Monday after weeks of mystery at the storefront of .
Starbucks officially opened the store Monday morning, after speculation on Downtown Bellevue Network's blog and a preview posted Sunday night in USA Today. Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz dropped by to visit with customers.
The Bellevue Square store is the first, and will be followed by another store in Seattle in the next three to six months, Starbucks officials say.
The concept will be tested and tweaked in the Bellevue and Seattle locations, said Kevin Petrisko, director of operations of Evolution Fresh.
"We hope customers challenge themselves to be creative here, and challenge us through this journey," he said.
Evolution Fresh store offers a juice bar, with eight juices on tap, and frozen fruit available, that can be combined into any combination of juices and smoothies. The price range includes $4.99 for an 8-ounce juice, $7.99 for a 16-ounce juice and $6.99 for a smoothie.
The store also offers a food station that offers healthy options, including salads, sandwiches and wraps, breakfasts, including oatmeal and scrambled egg dishes, and small batch soups.
And, yes, you can find Starbucks coffee--just Pikes Place Roast pour-over coffee. For espresso, go next door to Starbucks at The Lodge.
However, one thing you won't find at Evolution Fresh is a juicer.
According to Petrisko, the cold pressed, high pressure processing system that is centralized at its juice factory in California enables the company to sanitize the juice while retaining the flavors, vitamins and nutrients of raw fruits and vegetables.
The juices and smoothies are sugar-free, and have spice options such as cayenne and cinnamon.
Bellevue Square was selected to launch the new concept because of local interest in natural and healthful food options, Petrisko said.
"We wanted to create a new brand that focused on wellness," he said.
Petrisko, who has been with Starbucks for 16 years, said that Starbucks acquired San Bernardino, Calif.-based Evolution Fresh, which was a bottled juice company that distributed in markets such as Whole Foods. With Monday's launch, Evolution Fresh and its new logo will be expanded to additional grocery stores and in Starbucks stores.
This location is no stranger to unique Starbucks concepts.
Starbucks at The Lodge, with its storefront on busy Bellevue Way and interior adjacent to a large fireplace and lounge area with leather seats, was the location of Hear Music, a combination of a Starbucks coffee house and music store. That store was converted to a regular Starbucks store after the company closed stores nationwide and shut down Hear Music in an effort to streamline its brand starting several years ago, according to CNBC's 2011 profile of the company.
According to Monday's press release:
Today’s opening of the first Evolution Fresh™ store introduces customers to a unique, premium juice and food experience. Combining fresh, natural ingredients with culinary and globally-inspired recipes, each order is personalized and handcrafted to create delicious offerings – including wraps, salads, soups and more. Evolution Fresh is also offering vegetarian and vegan offerings – to help customers get the most out of life, whether in-store or on-the-go.
The experience begins when customers enter the retail store. A captivating one-of-a-kind, patent-pending interactive juice wall displays educational and entertaining digital illustrations of juices and smoothies being handcrafted. As customers experience the store, they’ll be able to order personalized fresh hot and cold food items at the food counter or grab ready-to-drink beverages and food items to go.
Some of us in downtown Bellevue get the extra benefit of having the goodies delivered to us at no charge, over an eight-block radius between Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast Fourth and Eighth streets.