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Island coffee culture brewing
Signs of change are showing among the Mercer Island coffee culture. One business changed hands, while another will soon receive a handful of interior and exterior upgrades.
Andrey Litovkin of Renton Highlands purchased Mercer Island's single independent coffee kiosk, R&R Espresso, last month from Richard Hager of Kirkland, who co-owned R&R Espresso with his daughter, Kristin Kevil. The father and daughter owned and operated the business for the past 19-years, until now, when Kevil wanted more time to spend with her tow children.
However, three years remained on the lease in its space on the southeast corner of the Rite Aid parking lot and Hager agreed to sell to Litovkin.
Before then, the kiosk was a drive-through pizza parlor, Hager said.
Since then prices have slightly increased for the first time in many years, new signage graces the reader board and customers can now pay by credit card. Previously, the business only accepted cash and checks. In the coming months, customers will notice the addition of granite shelves, more snack options on the menu and larger windows, said Litovkin.
Time-honored favorites will remain, such as lollypops for kids in tow, and milk bones for four-legged customers, he said.
"We want to keep the customer satisfaction going," Litovkin said.
R&R Espresso isn't the only drive-through coffee joint on the Island that's undergoing change.
The North-end Starbucks - one among five on the Island - is slated for a scheduled five-year interior upgrade in addition to a covering over the drive-through window to shield customers from inclement weather. The store opened in September 2004.
The covering will match the "trellis" style of the other outdoor fixtures, Design Manger Janice Morriss told the Mercer Island Design Commission late last month during a regular meeting.
"We are also enhancing the community relevance by providing a cozy seating area around the fireplace outside and inside, more bike racks, new furniture including a community table and a large community board for the customers and partners to post community relevant communications," Morriss later said in an interview with the Reporter.
The improvements are expected to be complete by the end of October, she said.