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Kirkland Blog Coffee Week-2nd Up: Caffe Ladro

Kirkland Blog Coffee Week-1st Up: St. James Espresso!

Stjamesjeanette This new coffee shop on Kirkland Avenue is bright and buzzing with its sleek lines and urban flare.  Jeanette Van Belle (pictured left) always wanted to open a coffee house, so when the timing felt right she decided to go for it!  She and her mom, who also co-own a dog kennel, shipped off to 'coffee school' in OR and learned the biz.  Mom decided to stick with the dogs, but Jeanette found a great spot right across from the Kirkland Performance Center to open up the St. James Espresso (fondly named after her Scottish terrier, Jimmy).  You'll notice paw-print cutouts in the chairbacks and doggie treats for sale on the shelves in his honor. 

Stjamesespressoinside The St. James has a welcoming floorplan with flat panel TV's and plenty of seating.  The crowd seems mostly armed with laptops- there's free wi-fi and a power strip lining the counters which is oh-so-convenient.  Or pick a leather seat near the fireplace and grab something from neatly organized magazine collection on the wall.  There are also books and plenty of games- lots of the classics like "Connect 4", "Battleship", "Risk" and "Sorry" which I will gladly kick your butt in, upon request. 

Stjamesespressooutside We stopped in after dinner, so haven't had a chance to sample the food yet, but it all looked very tempting.  They have paninis and soups (which often get marked down 50% in the evening!), not to mention grilled cheese for the kiddos and of course fabulous desserts that made me drool on their pretty glass case.  The Caffe D'arte coffee was delicious, and how could you not smile at that pretty heart-shaped swirl in the foam?  Every detail of this coffee shop has been well thought out and it shows.  Stay tuned--they are working on getting their license to serve beer/wine--which is brilliant with the KPP across the street! 

Stop in before March 15th and mention the Kirkland Blog to get 10% off. WooHoo!    ~Janis


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St James is such a great addition to downtown Kirkland ! So many wonderful details in the design: even the wood-looking chairs have a wood frame but a soft leather cushion in the right place ! The individual heavy armchairs have a rotating side table attached, thus one can have the privacy, the comfort and convenience !

The coffee drinks are perfect and I love the view from the large windows.


I can't say I like this place, even though the decor is so lovely, because my first experience was terrible, so terrible that I'm not willing to go back again. My hot chocolate was horrid tasting - it didn't even taste like chocolate - and my boyfriend's latte was extremely bitter.

Jeanette Van Belle

Jessie - I hope you do give the place another chance. We are a brand new operation and most of our baristas have been trained from scratch. We don't have the reserve of trained baristas to pull from as the corporate chains do when they are launching a store.

I'm not saying that to excuse your experience at all, but as an explanation that the occasional training failure is an opportunity for us to learn how we can do better. It is our goal to be a world-class coffee shop. We value your comments very much, and I mean that sincerely.

I request that you and anyone else who has had less than a satisfactory experience at our shop send me an e-mail at, and let me know the details of your experience. I would like to do our best to take a negative and turn it into a positive for everybody.

Jeanette Van Belle


After they first opened, my husband and I tried St. James and loved it - loved the atmosphere, decor, the service, and the coffee. However, that was before they started serving grilled foods, I guess. The last 2 times we were in, I came out smelling like a cheap grill house. I had to wash my clothes and jacket they smelled so bad. I haven't been back since. I don't know what the problem is - poor venting of cooking odors?? Hopefully, this doesn't bother others, because it really is a neat place. I'm just sorry I can't go back.

Jeanette Van Belle

Connie - I am so sorry about the panini grill smell - you are not the only one who has noticed it at St James. We have done panini sandwiches from the beginning, but they have become more popular in the last month. We have added the breakfast sandwiches now as well which was in response to customer requests for hot morning food. A panini grill does not normally require extraordinary ventilation but apparently we are pressing the limits on that.

We are working hard on a solution to this so we can continue offering the sandwiches but don't have the lingering smell from the grill. Nicer weather definitely helps, and I hope that you will come back in soon and enjoy how the place smells! The smell of coffee would be good. I look forward to it myself.

We do have outside some seating now for when the weather is nice.



My parents and I stopped by for a quick bite and coffee before a attending performance at KPC across the street. We had very good panini sandwiches and I love that the ice tea is steeped for each person depending on your tea preference. Good job on that. The folks behind the counter were really nice and made us feel welcome. I will be back to introduce some friends to this great little place.

Kaylee M/

I'm sorry but, this place doesn't do it for me AT ALL. I went in today for the very first and, my LAST TIME. The staff was very rude, the line was long (even with 4 people behind the counter). The barista's looked at you like "what do you want" rather than "Hi what can I get for you?" it was not your typical coffee house feel at all. I was really looking forwarding to checking this place out.


Jeanette, I work at the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa. We have a Jeanette Van Belle getting tax statments for Nextel Partners and I was wondering if you are the same person. If you are, please let me know as I need to update your address in our system.


what a beautiful post unlike most other posts with all the spam i had to read today

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