The original Starbucks near Pike Place Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)There are many who decry the “Starbucks on every corner” dominance of the Seattle-based coffee shop chain, but I would submit that they’ve sure done a great job of elevating the average American’s sophistication about coffee.

I mean, Folger’s, anyone? Maxwell House?

I didn’t think so.

So, in homage to their influence, after a divine salmon taco lunch I visit the original Starbucks store (established in 1971) in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

It looks much less perfect and corporate than the average franchise shop, with dark, worn wooden floors, a big wooden counter/bar and older light fixtures suspended from the ceiling.

Souvenir mugs at the original Starbucks, Pike Place Market, Seattle (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I liked it a lot, but on the day we stopped in it was totally mobbed with Japanese tourists buying souvenir brown mugs with the store original logo.

Since I was a tourist….I bought one, too. :)

Make sure you go to the correct one – there is yet another Starbucks across the street from Pike Place (on 1st Avenue, I think) with the same brown sign, but it is NOT the more cramped, older-looking original. Accept no substitutes.

If you’re in doubt, tweet @SeattleMaven who is Ann Peavey from the city’s Tourism office.  She’ll be happy to guide you to the original (and she’ll hook you up with all sorts of other cool Seattle ideas and tips – just ask!)