Water Street's Drive-Thru on Sprinkle Rd.
We couldn’t be more excited to introduce our newest location on Sprinkle Rd. in Kalamazoo. As our first drive-thru only location, it was important to us that we still create that Water Street feel. Despite not having an eat-in cafe, we wanted this building to encompass the love of architecture, desire to create a unique space, and elements of Kalamazoo’s history and community that are seen in each of our cafes.
Over the years, this lot has housed multiple businesses but has also often been empty. You may remember Pizza Square in the early nineties or Miller’s Smokehouse moving in after the building again sat empty for a number of years. While we were not able to keep the original building due to structural problems, we remember the lot’s history of drive-thru businesses with a brand new dual-lane drive-thru and beautiful, locally designed landscaping supplied from Blue Horizon Nursery in Bangor, MI.
“Even though our customers will never get out of the car we wanted them to feel like they were still visiting Water Street,” Creative Director, Kirsten, says. “We were looking for clean architecture with a sense of fun and we really feel like we’ve accomplished that.”
That clean design came from M1/DTW, an architectural design company out of Detroit, and Design Director Christian Unverzagt and Thomas Affeldt created a truly inspirational concept. Between expansive display windows, natural wood elements on the exterior, and some Instagram-worthy brick work from Bonnema Masonry Construction, both the building and the drive-thru will bring something innovative to the area. We also consider ourselves lucky to have worked with our Project Manager, Scott Olsen, from Pioneer Construction. He has gone above and beyond every step of the way on the very first Water Street location built from the ground up.
Also instrumental in making this space a reality were a number of other incredible local vendors including Bret Sanford at Sanford Plumbing, Jeff Roodbergen who makes our extensive electrical needs happen, Levi Haley who does all our beautiful tile work, Burkett Signs for all our external signage, Kalamazoo Mechanical for HVAC/heating, and Ian Nielsen for carpentry. We also could not have accomplished any of this without our earlier mentioned Creative Director, Kirsten Field, who makes everything beautiful, unique and functional for us.
Location, Location, Location
According to owner, Mark Smutek, this area has been on his radar for many years but it simply never felt like the right time. However, with the addition of roundabouts near the freeway increasing traffic flow and accessibility and the availability of the perfect sized lot, the pieces quickly fell into place early last year.
“There is a lot of potential for growth and possibilities in this area right now,” Mark says. “I wanted to be part of it. We were able to find a small lot, which is hard to come by, and I believe it is a great place to try something new and unexpected in Kalamazoo.”
In addition, the area also hosts a lot of industrial businesses, hotels, and commuter traffic which often leaves both people working in the area as well as travelers with a lack of mealtime options.
“You know, it’s great,” Kirsten shares. “Kalamazoo is this halfway point between Detroit and Chicago and especially near this particular freeway exit there aren’t a lot of healthy food options. We have this wonderful opportunity to share the handmade, quality food and beverages we make with a much larger group of people who may never have heard of Water Street. It’s exciting.”
Drive-thrus are pretty commonplace today but at Water Street we are always looking to challenge the standard and provide an experience that you can’t get anywhere else. While this isn’t our first drive-thru, it will differ from our Portage location in that, yes, it’s strictly drive-thru only.
“I never really thought twice about this location being a drive-thru,” Mark explained. “The lot was too small to accommodate parking or a building big enough for seating and I think that it’s a concept we could continue to use in the future as Water Street grows.”
But drive-thru only does not mean your Water Street experience will be limited or ordinary. Large windows will allow you to see inside as baristas prep your latte and custom deli display cases will still show off our full menu of housemade food while you wait. You’ll even be able to grab a bag of coffee on the go before you hop on the highway. All of your favorites will be available from an Iced Dolce de Leche to a freshly warmed Spinach and Feta Turnover and whether you’re commuting, on your lunch break, or have a sudden ice cream craving, it will all be conveniently available through the drive-thru!
The combination of fresh roasted coffee, made-to-order food and drinks, and unique drive-thru design and structure is something that doesn’t exist yet in Kalamazoo and we are excited to take on the challenge of providing a new and dynamic service to the greater Kalamazoo area and beyond. We invite you to join us for a cup of coffee as we embark on this new adventure together and we look forward to seeing you there!
Visit the Sprinkle Drive-Thru page for up-to-date contact information, hours, and more.