After nearly 20 years in Queen Anne, a neighborhood coffee cornerstone has been given until the end of the month to vacate its space on Queen Anne Avenue.

But despite her frustration over what she says was an abrupt notice to vacate, owner Jill Killen is hopeful that El Diablo Coffee Co. won’t have to move far.

“We’re committed to staying on top of Queen Anne,” she said. “We’re committed to being in the neighborhood.”

Killen has been scrambling since a courier handed the notice to one of the shop’s baristas late Monday afternoon, giving them until the end of the month to be out of the space at 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N. 

For months, Killen said, she had attempted to work out a new long-term lease with the building’s owner, Erickson Family LLC, to no avail. The business was already paying market-rate for the space — which she says needed electrical and plumbing upgrades — but Killen did not get a response from the landlord to negotiate an agreement.

When the Queen Anne Book Company signed a new five-year lease next door, she figured her business would be next.

Instead, they’ve been forced to look elsewhere.

“I just put $3,500 in the space that I don’t get to take with me, because the space was literally falling apart and work does need to be done,” said Killen, who also owns Royal Drummer Café in Ballard and Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf.” But they weren’t willing to work with me. They weren’t willing to give me a decent amount of time so I could move the business.”

Adding to her frustration are documents filed with the city in January for a construction permit to make improvements to the space.

“They knew Jan. 18 that something was going on,” she said. “And they didn’t tell us until April 2.”

While Killen said there’s been interest from other building owners in having El Diablo as a tenant, lengthy permitting delays at the city would make converting a space tricky.

“If we go into a building that’s not already coded as a restaurant, we’re going to have some change of use issues and probably structural changes,” she said.

In any case, there will be a gap between when the shop closes in its current location, and when it opens elsewhere. To address that transitional period, a GoFundMe page has been set up, with the hope that a loyal customer base will help cover the costs associated with an unexpected move.

“It’s not easy, because there’s still going to be a downtime,” she said. “There’s still going to be a time where I’m trying to keep my employees paid somehow, and the goal is to have them help actually move and do some of the work.”

As of press time, the page had raised more than $11,000 of its $75,000 goal. Once a lease is signed, Killen said the page will be updated with more specifics about how the funds will be spent.

“We want to be very, very transparent about where the money’s going,” she said.

To contribute to El Diablo Coffee Co.’s crowdfunding page, visit To comment on this story, write to