Dining With Denise Neil

The only problem with the just-opened Starbucks at Central and Hillside

Finally, Wichita has a Starbucks close to downtown (and College Hill), and it has a drive-through. The city’s latest Starbucks opened at the corner of Central and Hillside, just west of the Spangles, on Thursday.

And if the Panera at Central and Hillside is any indication, the new Starbucks is in a good location and likely to be flooded with staffers and patients’ family members from nearby Wesley Medical Center needing a break.

There’s only one problem.

Like most Starbucks, this one was built on a busy, heavy-traffic intersection. And much like the Starbucks at Central and Rock to the east, this one could be difficult to get into.

The traffic-snagging Central and Hillside stoplight will slow people traveling east on Central from turning right into the store’s entrance. That’s what happened to me when I drove there from downtown this afternoon around 3:15, not even a particularly busy time of day. And those traveling west-bound on Central who need to cross that traffic to get in? Good luck.

I didn’t detect any shortcut in or out from Hillside, either.

But for Starbucks fans, that will likely be a minor obstacle.

The new store is similar in size to the Starbucks at West Street, with tables and chairs lining the walls opposite the counter and a community bench-style table in the middle. The staff was welcoming and already on top of things.

The new Starbucks’ hours are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

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