Stealth Starbucks Still Exists, And It’s Serving Acorn Squash Lattes

Back in 2009, Starbucks had an interesting marketing idea: open stores with different concepts that were not, in fact, Starbucks. The idea didn’t really take off, but there’s one stealth Starbucks still in business, and they’re serving up a variation on pumpkin spice that probably won’t be a Twinkies flavor or mass-produced egg nog anytime soon.

At the time, we made fun of the whole Stealth Starbucks concept, noting that the restaurants would generally act like an independent coffee shop, with manual espresso machines, poetry readings, and wine and beer. At the time, we wondered whether this was because people were sick of Starbucks, but the chain has grown since 2009, so that clearly isn’t the case.

The company says that it uses the shops as a sort of lab, and you can get drinks there that are experimental and clearly not going to be available at your local Starbucks anytime soon. At a remaining Stealth Starbucks, Roy Street in Seattle, they’re serving an acorn squash latte, which is made with an acorn squash syrup produced in the shop with actual acorn squashes, maple syrup, and spices. Considering our collective obsession with pumpkin spice, we’re fascinated with this variation.

Roy Street calls itself “inspired by Starbucks,” which is curious because if the stealth shops serve as recipe and concept labs for the wider chain, wouldn’t it be the other way around?

roy street inspired

Acorn Squash Latte? [StarbucksMelody]

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