This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Inside Dumb Starbucks: Neighbors, Barflies And Patrons Discuss Their Theories
Update 4:30 p.m.: The man behind the dumb curtain has been revealed.
Ever since the mysterious Dumb Starbucks opened up in a tiny strip mall in Los Feliz, we've all been wondering who or what is behind the store. The line has been massive since the place officially opened on Friday, with some patrons waiting as long as two hours to get their dumb coffee products.
The owners have stated in an FAQ sheet being handed out that it's an art project and the coffee itself is nothing more than an art piece. But beyond that we're not sure what's going on (though there's supposed to be an announcement shortly). We spoke with some of the patrons standing in line about their theories, and most of them said they wanted to experience the parody coffee stand before the Starbucks bigwigs try to shut it down.
"I think it's just a group of guys that have a bunch of extra money and were like, 'hey, let's just try something different," Jaclyn Joyce, who lives in Hollywood, said while waiting in line. "We wanted to come because we didn't think it's going to be around for much longer."
A patron in the cafe who just got his Dumb Latte, Tyler Schnabel, had a different view of Dumb Starbucks.
"I just think it's so fun," Schnabel said. "I'm not sure if I want know why they're here."
Some of them said they were in line for the free coffee, though we find it hard to believe too many people in line couldn't afford an overpriced coffee from a regular Starbucks. Jake, an "eco-activist" who was planted in front of the cafe with a banner that read 'Dumb Plastic,' said, "We've been calling Starbucks dumb for a lot of years."
And then we have Mark Horowitz, a Los Angeles-based artists who took credit for the establishment on Twitter:
my project is causing quite a stir - lol -- http://t.co/2BOpUPnyTx & http://t.co/VRbaZFUQ5L— marc horowitz (@marchorowitz) February 10, 2014
Customers from the shop have been hawking their Dumb Starbucks cups on eBay, with one going for $52.
Dumb Starbucks' two baristas, who had been working at the dumb establishment all weekend long, answered only with "I just work here," and, "I'm just here to make coffee," when asked about the business' owners or what their reason was for opening the cafe. The cafe is also only able to make a couple of drink—lattes, regular coffee and iced coffee. Their espresso machines are also on the cheap side, described by customers as "push button gas station machines."
If there's one thing that's clear about Dumb Starbucks, it's that none of the surrounding businesses are very excited to have it here. A security guard was hired to make sure that the parking lot was not used for Dumb Starbucks' customers and employees of a nearby Thai restaurant were instructed to keep mum about the cafe. Employees at other establishments who did talk to LAist said that nothing was in the space as recently as last Monday and that everything was built quickly. (It looks like it was Gastronomica until last September.)
Meanwhile, a patron at a bar next door called The Drawing Room offered an interesting bit of information that could help establish the coffee shop's origin. Mikee Tyler, who was kicking back drinks with his friends, said that the landlord was on the property early this morning claiming that the shop was only supposed to be open for the weekend. He overheard the landlord say that having Dumb Starbucks open during the week "wasn't part of the deal."
Indeed, an employee at a T.V. repair shop across the street said that the landlord was on site being shadowed by his lawyers earlier today.
The Los Angeles County Assessor's Office said G&L Enterprises in West Hills owns the property, but LAist wasn't able to get in touch with the owner.
Whatever the real origins of the cafe may be, the attention it's getting may be part of its objective. As one customer, Michael Callahan, put it, "I think it achieved what it wanted to achieve when the line formed. We are all a part of it."
Dumb Starbucks (That’s the Actual Name) Opens in Los Feliz
Someone Bought A Dumb Starbucks Cup For $52
Dumb Starbucks May Need Really Smart Lawyers To Stay Open
Cruise off the highway and hit locally-known spots for some tasty bites.
Los Angeles-based restaurant owners rejoice as a new ordinance makes its way to the city council.
The new season of LAist Studios' WILD podcast is a fictional rom-com set in Southeast L.A. Diners play a big role in fostering conversation between the shows' two hosts this season. Here are host Erick Galindo's must-visit L.A. diners — whether you like breakfast or not.
The new season of LAist Studios' WILD podcast is a fictional rom-com set in Southeast L.A. Donuts play a big role in episode two of the show. Here are some of our favorite, wildly creative, and iconic donut shops in Los Angeles.
Cheap Fast Eats, Koreatown After Dark! Asian American Pizza, Hot Cheeto-Encrusted Corn Dogs And MoreCheap Fast Eats visits one of L.A.’s most distinctive neighborhoods for some nighttime bites.
How to get the best eggs in town without leaving your yard.