A Whole Latte Love At This Yakima Train Station Turned Coffeehouse

North Town Coffeehouse moved to the historic Yakima Train Depot in 2013. While passenger rail ended in the 1970s, several freight train still go by every day. CREDIT: ESMY JIMENEZ/NWPB.
North Town Coffeehouse moved to the historic Yakima Train Depot in 2013. While passenger rail ended in the 1970s, several freight train still go by every day. CREDIT: ESMY JIMENEZ/NWPB

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This coffeehouse in Yakima has it all. Great espresso, great ambience and great wifi.

North Town also has a constant line of wedding ceremonies.

Rosa Sanchez and Octavio Gutierrez sip their drinks on a recent snowy evening. And they’re a little giddy.

The couple is here with family, and Octavio jokes in Spanish, “Well we’re just here, out having a little coffee.”

It could be the caffeine or the fact they’re 10 minutes away from saying, ‘I do.’

The Event Room at North Town Coffeehouse in Yakima hosted 374 weddings in 2018. Civil ceremonies that would typically be performed at the Yakima County Courthouse are held here instead. CREDIT: ESMY JIMENEZ/NWPB

The Event Room at North Town Coffeehouse in Yakima hosted 374 weddings in 2018. Civil ceremonies that would typically be performed at the Yakima County Courthouse are held here instead. CREDIT: ESMY JIMENEZ/NWPB

Rosa gets a little more serious and says they’re finally ready to make it official. Right on time, a courthouse judge shows up, and they go meet her at the Event Room, a corner section of the coffeehouse that was host to 374 weddings last year.

North Town sees a lot of sweethearts because the coffeehouse rents a room to Yakima County. Most of the civil ceremonies in the area are performed here instead of the courthouse. Every day from 5 p.m. onward, you can spot eager couples and sometimes entire wedding parties, complete with bouquets and white dresses. It’s a striking contrast to students looking for an empty seat, truckers making a pit stop, or visitors enjoying a quiet moment.

“I see at least two on weekdays, on the weekends we can have up to seven,” says Marlaina Cruz, a barista.

Despite the daily occurrence of seeing couples on all her shifts, there is one pair that’s moved Cruz to tears.

They were in their 1970s and actually met at North Town 50 years ago during a snowstorm. The two drove over from Seattle to celebrate their anniversary and show their kids the site where many of their dates took place.  

Back then North Town was actually a train depot. Passenger service ended in 1971, but freight trains still go by several times a day. The railroad tracks are 30 feet from the station, so the sound is hard to miss, a reminder to customers of the station’s more historic days.

It’s just another quirk of this Central Washington coffee house — where caffeine, love and wedding vows are always brewing.      

Copyright 2019 Northwest Public Broadcasting

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