Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Boston Starbucks: The SMS

We are honored today to have the illustrious Mr D— advance the cause of the Guide to Boston's Starbucks by providing Bostonia with a guest review of one such establishment! A resounding huzzah to Mr D—, what what?

The Strip Mall Starbucks
Image: Mr D—

The Strip Mall Starbucks is located, unsurprisingly, in a small strip mall along Somerville Avenue, a few blocks before the Porter Square T station. It shares the space with a laundromat, a dry cleaners, and a cell phone store; there is a Cumberland Farms with concomitant gas pumps just next door. 711 Somerville Avenue is not a location that invites much walk-in traffic.

Accordingly, customers of the SMS can be classified into two groups. There are, first, the morning commuters, who crowd the registers between the hours of 7 and 9 AM. One would be wise to expect a ten minute wait at the SMS in the morning; while the baristas are cheerful and efficient (of which more later), they are still yet only human.

Second, later at night, those who make use of the laundromat's services sometimes stop by for a latte or such. This is hampered to some degree by the relatively early closing hours — while the laundromat is open past midnight, the SMS closes well before 9 PM. Still, even when the inviting door is locked, the wireless connection continues to beam out into the night and into the laundromat next door.

On the weekends, the usually sufficient seating becomes crowded and even full. It is not a spacious Starbucks but it is a comfortable one, with several tables, a pair of easy chairs, and a counter buried deep inside the store. While I object to the positioning of the counter — a Starbucks counter should allow for easy people watching, and this one does no such thing — I have no complaints about the other aspects of the interior. They have done well with the limited space permitted by the location.

The staff is friendly but not too friendly, and they perform with admirable precision. My impression is that most of the baristas have a lengthy tenure at this location, and that their daily tasks have become second nature. Regular customers will be identified, and if you steadily order the same drink, they'll start getting it ready before you're even in the door.

I would grade the SMS as a strong B+.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Josh said...

I wonder whether some of SMS's walk-ins might not be people who have just finished dining at the delicious and economical Tacos Lupita, just across the street.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Bryant said...

A good point! And a thought I had not had. I'll have to try that sometime.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

I've just found your blog about coffee mugs whilst I was looking for more information to add to my blog about coffee mugs. You've got a great blog going here. It's always good to have more information about coffee mugs. I've just started my own blog about coffee mugs if you would like to take a look.
Keep up the good work.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Living in Thailand said...

Nice site maybe we can do something!Free SMS and Free Fax

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Strip Mall Starbucks.... Have you seen the Starbucks on Route 1 on the southbound size. I don't know which town it is in (maybe Saugus), but it is quite weird. It is next to a Pier 1 store which I think is going out of business. I can't imagine they do very well business-wise because it is inconvenient. I don't think commuters stop there because it is such a pain to get back on 1 once you are off of it. I went there once because I was looking at open houses out there one weekend.

12:07 PM  

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