Shopping Streets

Burien Is the New Burien

Stylish new coffee shop in Burien reawakens claims that the South End city could be the new arts—and shopping and eating—haven.

August 21, 2009


Two years ago, Seattle news writers were investigating claims that Burien was about to become the new Brooklyn. Despite affordable housing, a really decent arts organization, and a restaurant and retail district with homegrown appeal, the South End town has yet to see the boom. I, um, blame the economy. But when a super stylish little coffee shop called Burien Press opened recently, I began to think the enclave still had a fighting chance.

After all, any area worth its sculptors, potters, photographers, and mixed media/environmental artists needs an arts-minded coffee shop – a friendly gathering area and accidental meeting spot. And Burien finally has one. Owner Mark Kerns built out the space himself, in what was a grungy tattoo shop, and tricked it out with one of the finest back porches in the Seattle area.

There’s plenty to do in Burien. Shopping stops include Grass Roots, a sweet and earthy home and garden shop; Poggi Bonsi, where kitchen and home goods imported from Italy are both modern and of the olde-world; a cute toy shop called Goodie Gumdrops, and lots more.

You’re covered when it comes to food and drink, too. There’s Bistro Baffi, owned by a once-popular Alki Beach restaurateur; Elliott Bay Brewery; the Tin Room (the former holder of the Gathering Spot title, and still a solid alternate) and more on the way (click here and see the Best of Burien sidebar; Filibertos, we’re impatiently waiting patiently for you!).

Oh – and B-Town Scoop (yes, Molly Moon lovers, we have ice cream in Burien, too) and the generations-old Danish Bakery. Considering the Scandinavian sweets and the cobblestone-y street they’re sold on, Burien might be the new Ballard if not the new Brooklyn.

What’s more: An outdoor public arts center near the new library hosts controversial art courtesy a couple of Burning Man veterans who live in the area.

Earlier this week I sent intrepid photojournalist and Seattle Met intern Nick Feldman out to capture some of the city scene and we put together the slideshow here. Please enjoy.

When should you head out there yourselves? Why not this weekend? You can stop in West Seattle for the Big Bonanza – 30 merchants around the junction are holding giant sales. Before you go you’ll want to check out our recent beach coverage for tips on the area’s best waterfront relaxation spots, and click here for one that got away … as for the rest – yes, there are more – you’ll have to search them out on your own. As a local, I’d be remiss to give all our secrets away.

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