Japan’s cult-favorite hit coffee shop %Arabica — which is known just as much for caffeinated drinks as it is for its chic stores and merchandise — is opening its first U.S. store in Nolita later this year, according to an announcement on its Instagram page.
The shop will be located on Elizabeth Street, though %Arabica hasn’t provided an address yet. Eater has reached out for more information. It’s not yet clear when the coffee shop will open, but the Instagram post indicates that it will only be after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
Founder Kenneth Shoji opened the shop in 2014 in Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama District, inspired by his frequent visits to Starbucks when he lived in Venice Beach during his college years in the 1990s, according to the coffee shop’s website. At the time, Starbucks were quickly expanding across the country.
While it’s no Starbucks just yet, %Arabica certainly has global ambitions. Since its launch six years ago, the coffee shop has already opened 55 stores in 13 countries, and has plans to expand to several more countries in the coming year and beyond. Most of the outposts are located in China — which has 23 locations of the coffee chain — and %Arabica also has a strong presence in the Middle East.
There are only four locations in Japan, and customers continue to line up outside the Kyoto locations and can often be seen taking selfies in the stores, which are known for their sleek design featuring glass, light woods, and the coffee shop’s signature mugs with the percentage sign. %Arabica’s merchandise — comprising minimalist backpacks, tote bags, and tumblers — is equally popular.