Modesto >Restaurants > Queen Bean Coffee House
1126 14th St, Modesto, CA | Directions 9535437.645114 -120.998374
Fading star with a few bright moments – The queen bean was an exciting place to be. The first new coffee shop to open in a long time, the charming interior and lush gardens held promise. The owners would point to the yard where a deck would soon be built, then turn and wash the windows themselves, pruning each hanging plant with care before moving inside to dust and clean. The novelty was enough to overlook the long waits and snotty staff- for a while. Attempts to be treated civilly depended on the shift, as did your hopes of getting a decent drink. The Bean was- and still is really- a sort of caffeinated Russian roulette. Know your workers, know what to order, and everything is okay, otherwise, be prepared for what's coming at you.
Still, the place holds a charm. Love really is the secret ingredient, and playful workers make it through apparently grueling shifts by dressing up during undeclared theme nights (did any of you catch pirate night? much better than crazy hats, imho). I can't imagine the place would still be standing without the devotion of it's regular customers and patience of it's long time employees. As ownership changed (or shrank, really, as the current owner simply bought out the other two investors) so did the atmosphere. Skill went down while stress went up. I don't know how long it's been since I've seen windex in someone's hand, least of all the owner. I *have* been treated to some bad service and worse drinks by the remaining investor (do any other employees work the till when tipsy?), but really it's just par for the course.
The Bean is still a beautiful place. The broken chairs, fading deck, and grimy surfaces aren't enough to erase it's charm and promise. A stunning line up of great baristas mean I'm only forced to order an iced coffee 10% of the time (for the few remaining workers that shouldn't be behind the bar).
Between bad changes in booking, shrinking staff and careless owners, the only thing killing the queen bean is itself. Get in now, while you still can.
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