Fall City’s Back Alley Brew coffee stand closed last week on Oct. 31 after running afoul of King County permitting regulations.
The coffee stand’s owner, Brie Cunnington, said she had owned the stand itself for more than four years and had worked there since she turned 18. True to its name, Back Alley Brew is located on a small side street on 338th Place Northeast in Fall City. Cunnington said last week there were no plans to reopen it, either in Fall City or elsewhere.
“It’s too hard in King County for me,” she said.
Cunnington did not want to speak about the reasons for the closure, but said it came from permitting issues between the landowners and the county. According to King County hearings examiner records, the property owners are represented by their son Kirk Welch. Attempts to set up an interview with Welch were unsuccessful, but according to county documents, code enforcement officers responded to a complaint about the placement of the drive-up espresso stand in October of 2013.
A county inspector told the owner they would need county Health Department approval and building permits and provided the owner with a construction pre-application packet, including for work to design and build a new septic system for the property. However, according to the hearings examiner document, by 2015 the espresso stand was still operating without needed permits and inspections, and a year later it still had not submitted an application to the Health Department.
In the 2017 hearings examiner document, as none of the steps required by the county were completed, no extension was given to the property owners. It is unclear whether further steps were taken by the property owners, but as of Nov. 1 of this year, the coffee stand had closed.
“I’m just really sad to see it go,” Cunnington said.
The closure of Back Alley Brew, formerly known as Fall City Grind, leaves Mercurys Coffee Co. as the only dedicated coffee shop in Fall City.