Bellevue blocks bikini barista drive-thru


by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Posted on November 24, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 24 at 6:28 PM

Bikini Barista controversy

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BELLEVUE, Wash. – A bikini barista stand in Bellevue is taking a stand in a battle with the city.

Ordered to shut down it's drive-thru, Knotty Bodies is still in business, despite loud protests at Monday's city council meeting and despite Bellevue city leaders saying the business violates several city codes.

But early Tuesday evening, the city got the upper-hand, blocking off the drive-thru to cars.

There are many espresso stands like it in the city, but the main issue causing controversy here is Knotty Bodies' location. It's next to Crossroads Park where kids play and it's down the street from Sherwood Forest Elementary school. It's also across the street from where school buses drop of kids.

A city council meeting on Monday night was packed with protesters who want the place shut down. But the city is not shutting it down over indecency.

"They don't have a business license, but they went ahead and opened. They have a drive-thru set up and the zoning in that area does not permit a drive-thru. And also, they did not get their certificate of occupancy, but yet, they opened. So we have some issues with how they are operating their facility," said Mayor Grant Degginger.

Workers with the city parks department added a little more trees and shrubs between the park and the espresso stand Tuesday.
The customers say they don't mind something less.

"All these girls are is adding an attractive package to something that's already too expensive," said customer Rick Pope.

But Pope's $5 coffee days here may be over, at least for now. Late Tuesday afternoon, it was the baristas who got served. A compliance officer ordered Knotty Bodies to shut down its drive thru.

But that wasn't the end of it.

"They wanted to close drive-thru with cones, but our manager's in a meeting right now with his attorney, so we're waiting on his victory for that and we're still gonna continue to serve drive thru," said one barista.

And serve they did, in direct violation of city code. Minutes later, another customer pulled up and the compliance officer made note of it. So did one of the protesters who want Knotty Bodies shut down for good.

"I live right down the street and, you know, my kids walk here to go to the park and i just don't want them to be exposed to this right now," said neighbor Pam Scott.

Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, the compliance officer placed orange traffic cones in front of the drive-thru. The stand is still open, but customers must now walk up to the window.

KING 5 News has been unable to reach the owner of Knotty Bodies, Michael Rockey.

The city says if Rockey continues to operate his drive-thru in violation of city code, he faces a fine of $100 the first day, increasing another $100 each day up to $500.