Here is a Monday-morning trivia challenge for you: Name one coffee shop on Aurora Avenue anywhere in the 60 blocks between 45th and 105th (and no, bikini barista stands do not count). Can't think of one? Don't feel bad. I actually couldn't either until a few days ago. Truth be told, I almost swerved out of my lane in surprise as I drove across North 84th on Aurora and suddenly realized there was a cafe on the east side of the street.
Turns out, Motion Boardshop owners Jason and Katie Clack (winners of Seattle Weekly's 2011 "Best Skate Shop" title) recently noticed the lack of coffee in their neighborhood as well. The Boardroom Cafe is their response: a spacious coffee shop filling the empty retail space next door to Motion, and managed by Katie.
The Boardroom opened only a week ago, so it is still settling in and working the kinks out, but the space shows a lot of promise already: open and artistically put together, with extra attention to details--such as the use of materials, colors, and design in decorating that create continuity between the notion of board sports and the overall feel of the cafe. There is a sense of removal from Aurora and the surroundings of gas stations and car dealerships, enhanced by the wide, wooden window counters. Seating is arranged to easily allow a high volume of foot traffic. There are two exceptional armchairs in one corner, lacking only a side table to set drinks on. And they are working on opening an additional, outdoor seating area.
Meanwhile, The Boardroom is serving Stumptown's coffee and fresh baked goods, and developing a menu of salads and sandwiches to be made in-house. Katie was out of the store when I stopped by, but the barista who helped me was pleasant and conversational. Notably, the Americano was not Stumptown at its best, hinting that perhaps relatively little coffee experience went into making it (a bit tacky, a little bitter). All signs, however, point toward hopeful.
With owners who creatively care about doing the details well, in a neighborhood devoid of any other decent coffee options, The Boardroom Cafe is young talent, and will be one to watch as it grows up. Add a dash of maturity to their menu, and by this time a few months from now, Seattleites just might be able to name an Aurora Avenue coffee destination without blushing. Stop by soon, so you can say you knew them "back when".
The Boardroom Cafe is located at 8314 Aurora Ave. N., open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends.