Mérida, Yucatán — Something new is brewing in the city’s oldest hotel.
Not that Starbucks is new to Mérida, but up until now, the mega-chain of coffee bars has been absent from the Centro.
No opening date has been announced although Starbucks’ signs are already up in the restaurant off the Gran Hotel’s lobby. The café replaces the Main Street Restaurant, whose al fresco seating faces Parque Hidalgo on Calle 60.
The branch joins seven others across the city, mainly in the north. Most visible to tourists, a Starbucks overtook a historic mansion on the Paseo de Montejo several years ago.
The Gran Plaza outpost is in the heart of the Centro Histórico. Workers installing furniture told a reporter that it should open in no more than 15 days.
It will compete with chains Italian Coffee Co. and Cafe Punta del Cielo, in addition to numerous independent shops.
The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in a single shop at Pike Place Market in Seattle. The name, inspired by the novel “Moby Dick,” evokes the romanticism of the high seas and the maritime tradition of the first coffee merchants.
Gran Hotel has its own rich history. Open since 1901, this French neo-Classic beauty is the city’s oldest hotel, and perhaps its most ornate.
Famous guests include Fidel Castro, Charles Lindbergh and Douglas Fairbanks. Today it is one of the city’s most affordable stays.