Sodo Kitchen opens in Starbucks headquarters

Bon Appétit launches a new restaurant concept inside Starbucks headquarters that is open to the public

On-site foodservice operator Bon Appétit Management Company launched this week a new restaurant concept within Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters called Sodo Kitchen, which, unlike most corporate dining halls, is open to the public.

Sodo Kitchen, named for the property’s south-of-downtown location, is on the third floor of Starbucks’ corporate offices, the company’s only floor that is open to the public. Starbucks officials wanted the restaurant available to both employees and those outside the building because there are few restaurants in the area, and a number of businesses are located nearby, said Danielle Custer, Bon Appétit project manager for Sodo.

In addition to Sodo, Bon Appétit has also opened two private restaurant concepts on a separate floor that will remain exclusive to Starbucks employees: a tacqueria and a sushi/noodle concept, Custer said.

Bon Appétit is also developing a grilled cheese food truck called Monte Cristo that will serve as another dining option at the Starbucks property and for other Bon Appétit clients in the area, including the offices for online retailer Amazon and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The food truck will also be available to the public.

Like other Bon Appétit venues, Sodo and the other outlets will focus on using sustainable ingredients, such as local meats and produce, when possible. They'll also use seafood recommended by the preservation-minded Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program and cage-free eggs.

The 12,648-square-foot restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch. Unlike most restaurants, however, Sodo is closed in the evenings and on weekends, a disadvantage of making a corporate dining location public.

Sodo will feature six hot food stations where guests can choose from rotisserie meats, a salad bar, and a grill featuring burgers and seafood. Also featured is an international station with a tandoori oven that will offer dishes from Indian to Thai cuisines, a sandwich deli and a pizza oven.

Dishes at each station will change seasonally, Custer said, because with an on-site operation, “You have to have a lot of variety and change often.”

She added, “We’re trying to make sure our guests are happy and not bored and come to us three times per week.”

Guests order at the various stations, collect their food and pay at the cashier. The average check is about $8.39.

Sodo also offers catering services for the building.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bon Appétit Management Company offers foodservice management to corporations, private universities and other specialty venues in more than 400 locations in 31 states.

RELATEDStarbucks elects Robert Gates to board

Contact Lisa Jennings at
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout