Despite the gentrifying effect Starbucks has on any neighborhood where they open, it's become fashionable in certain circles to complain about Starbucks, usually in the more entitled neighborhoods where coffee shops are common. (In non-wealthy or transitioning neighborhoods, they're enthusiastically welcomed.) Complaining about Starbucks is an easy way to show you're an independent thinker (irony), superior to the unwashed hordes who line up whenever a Starbucks opens. You're a man of wealth and taste.
The Greenville Avenue location is a good example. "You know what Greenville Avenue didn't need. A Starbucks," says one tweet.
Is that really true? Greenville Avenue actually used to have a Starbucks, at the corner of Martel. It closed in 2008. I lived a block away and remember what a loss it was to the neighborhood when it shut down.
But maybe Greenville Avenue has enough coffee places now and no longer needs a Starbucks.
Let's analyze. Here's a list of the other coffee shops on Greenville Avenue, using two factors for comparison:
- Availability. For those early shift workers, what are their hours?
- Affordability: What's the price of a 12-ounce cup of coffee?
Spoiler: No one comes close to Starbucks' convenient and accessible hours (depending on location, they open anywhere from 4:30-6:30 am on weekdays and their average closing time is 9-10 pm), or beats their $2.65 price. (Price varies according to market.)
Going up and down Greenville Avenue, let's start at the tippy top:
Herb's House Coffee & Co., 5622 Dyer St. Quirky spot north of Mockingbird is owned by real estate development company The Stainback Organization, who also own the offbeat building they're in, which is maybe why they push the space as a workspace rental option. In addition to coffee, they have food, although their website doesn't show menu or prices. A "Herb's Brew" costs$3. They open at 6:30 am.
Window Seat, 3018 Greenville Ave. Your quintessential indie with foodie benchmarks including pastries from acclaimed La Casita Bakeshop, and a menu with all the espresso drinks first pioneered by Starbucks in 1971, plus extras such as matcha latte and horchata cold brew. A regular coffee is $3 to $3.25. On the hours, they come up short: Closed Sunday and Monday, open five days a week only, from 7 am-3 pm.
Halcyon, 2900 Greenville Ave. With four locations — two in Austin, one in San Antonio, and this one in Dallas — Halcyon is a small chain, and they're more restaurant-bar-with-coffee, plus wine, beer, cocktails, paninis, salads, appetizers, and tableside S'mores. They don't open until 8 am but stay open until 10 pm weekdays. A 12-ounce coffee is $3.25.
Cafe Duro, 2804 Greenville Ave. Euro-styled cafe from Duro Hospitality (The Charles, Sister) has a vibe that's slightly more "indulgent mid-morning pastry" than the utilitarian practicality of Starbucks. There's no dining on-site, you're directed to the patio at Sister next door. Although they've been open since May, their website still says "COMING SOON"; Yelp says they open at 7 am. Coffee is $3.
La La Land, 5626 Bell Ave. Growing chain has earned praise for its mission employing foster youth. It's a noble mission, which surely helps to atone in the foodie set for their seven-location status. A 12-ounce coffee is $2.90, although their focus is really on pricey exotic teas. They also serve food such as avocado toasts. They don't list hours online, and don't answer their phone, but they seem to open at 7 am.
Toasted Coffee + Kitchen, 5420 Ross Ave. Small local chain is known first for its menu of toasts, then coffee. It opens at 7:30 am, and their regular coffee is $3.
Houndstooth Coffee, 1900 N. Henderson Ave. Off the path but still falls within the Lower Greenville realm. They're a chain based in Austin but still successfully cultivate an indie persona, and by that I mean they keep limited hours, from 7 am-1 pm daily. If you want coffee after lunch, guess you'll need to hit Starbucks. Coffee is $2.77.