Three days in, and Stella's can best be summed up with one word: Frazzled. Sometimes we like to be a bit more wordy, however, so we'll generously throw in a second one: Promising. Frazzled, but promising. There are worse ways to describe a recently opened business.
Granted, Stella's start has been a bit rocky. We have tried to stop by the last few days, a bit after the 7am opening hour, and though we saw employees working inside and the sign was turned to "open", the front-door was decidedly locked. That felt a bit passive aggressive.
Regardless. When we finally did get in, we found the owner to be friendly without being Starbucks-phony ("So, what are you doing today?!" was not a topic of conversation), though perhaps a bit all over the map, stressing out about a large sandwich order. Packages of Fred Meyer loaves were stacked behind the counter, which... Well, hopefully they were just a stop-gap measure.
And looking at the sandwich menu, good bread really could make Stella's something special. Bahn mi is not something one sees in too many cafes around town, nor are tempeh Ruebens. We didn't try either this time around, but aim at doing so in the future.
Fred Meyer bread aside, the coffee served is still DOMA (as it was with J-Walk, may it rest in peace) and as frazzled as the proprietor was, she put together a couple of great espresso drinks. The shots were pulled perfectly, making the Americano spot-on. An almond milk latte with a bit of honey was also exactly what it should be too; not too sweet, but nicely balanced in flavors.
There's frazzle and there are bad bread choices, but it's also Stella's first week. The sandwich menu and the excellent coffee make us feel optimistic about the spot. We will likely add Stella's to our regular rotation. Check them out; we think they have something going on here.