Caffè Bene, South Korean Coffee Chain, To Open in Irvine

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Flickr User Chantelle
Korean Starbucks?
A reader e-mailed me this yesterday:

"Since you had the scoop on Burntzilla coming to the Trader Joe's shopping center, I'm wondering if you know what might be going in the space across the street that used to be Seattle's Best Coffee? The Quizno's that was next door to that just closed as well and my daughter said both areas are being cleared out. Any scoop?"

I told her I didn't know, but I aimed to find out. So I got a hold of the leasing manager at Heritage Plaza and he revealed that they signed a lease with Caffè Bene to take both spaces.

Caffè Bene is, of course, the South Korean coffee chain that dominates the market in that country, with over 900 stores there. It started in 2008 and expanded to 11 other countries, including 92 stores in the U.S. and two currently in L.A. Comparisons to Starbucks are apt, since coffee, coffee drinks and pastries are on the menu; but Caffè Bene is also known for its waffles, gelato, and something called misugaru, which is a traditional Korean drink made with rice and barley.

This will be the first O.C. location of the franchise. But if its website is to be believed, it won't be the last. There's at least one other Irvine location in the works.

More news on this as it comes.

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