Top Pot to open Issaquah drive-thru location
January 22, 2013
By Warren Kagarise
Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts plans to open a drive-thru Issaquah location as early as next month — a first for the Seattle-based pastry purveyor.
Cofounder Mark Klebeck said Top Pot intends to upgrade Rowley Properties’ existing building at 1235 N.W. Maple St. — a round structure most recently occupied by Mondo’s Espresso — near the Issaquah Transit Center.
The iconic structure’s Mid-Century Modern design and proximity to the transit hub appealed to the Klebecks.
“We tend to look for areas and opportunities that are really starting to kind of bustle and are just on the verge of booming,” Top Pot cofounder Mark Klebeck said in a recent interview.
Feedback from local customers at other Top Pot shops in Seattle and elsewhere on the Eastside led the company cofounders, brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck, to expand the 13-unit chain to Issaquah.
Plans call for the Issaquah location to start serving maple bars, glazed cake doughnuts and other offerings by late February.
Besides the signature sweet, expect ice cream and the chain’s store-roasted coffee. (Top Pot and Snoqualmie Ice Cream joined forces last year to create ice cream flavors based on Top Pot doughnut varieties.)
Top Pot should employ about a dozen workers once the shop opens. The structure offers space for about 15 to 20 seats.
“What we’ve been finding more and more is that it doesn’t really matter as far as the size of the space,” Mark Klebeck said. “It’s being able to offer fresh product seven days a week.”
Top Pot attracted a crush of attention since the Klebecks launched the company in 2002. Early attention came from “Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels” on the Food Network and Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” — a travelogue dedicated to a different snack in each episode.
Top Pot is the official coffee and doughnut of CenturyLink Field, and the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC.
President Barack Obama stopped at a Seattle store on a 2010 campaign swing for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Only weeks earlier, Top Pot had garnered headlines after Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate broke into the chain’s closed Bellevue shop at 3 a.m. for a maple bar.
The chain parlayed the presidential stopover and the maple bar break-in into marketing success.
“It’s a matter of just seizing opportunities when they come about,” Klebeck said.
Top Pot is the latest addition to a crowded doughnut market in Issaquah.
Krispy Kreme opened the North Carolina-based chain’s first Northwest location in Issaquah in October 2001. Customers camped out before for a chance to taste a signature glazed doughnut and snarled traffic on East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.
Fans lined up by the hundreds and vehicles crammed the East Lake Center parking lot to reach the Krispy Kreme drive-thru lane.
Then, as food bloggers debated last year whether doughnuts had dethroned the cupcake as the “it” dessert, Snoqualmie-based Steve’s Doughnuts opened a store in Gilman Village.
Doughnuts did not just endure the Great Recession, but instead flourished — a sign Klebeck attributes to consumers’ eagerness to indulge in a little luxury.
“With coffee and doughnuts, I think it may be a little bit of a splurge for people, but it’s one of those splurges that’s affordable,” he said. “People aren’t coming in and having to drop $30 or $40 on a lunch or a dinner. The fact that they can come in and still get one of our doughnuts for 99 cents and even walk out the door with a drip coffee, all for under $3, I think it says a lot.”