Half Dome, meet pumpkin spice.
On Friday, Starbucks will start selling its signature coffee drinks at its first location inside the famed national park. The new concessionaire, an Aramark division called Yosemite Hospitality, unveiled its updated dining options this week — including the controversial Starbucks.
The coffee shop is part of a $7 million renovation that includes the food court of Yosemite Valley Lodge and guest rooms at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Called the Base Camp Eatery, the new dining hall has been expanded and reconfigured with new seating, digital menus and order kiosks. The name is meant to pay homage to the park’s rock climbing history and nearby Base Camp 4, which was made famous in part by Modesto-based climbing pioneer the late Royal Robbins.
But it’s the Starbucks that is causing the most stir. According to ABC 30 News, the coffee bar will not have any signage and be a relatively low-key presence in the park. Its menu also will include new, healthier options.
“You’re in a national park because you want to be healthy, and hike,” says Aramark Vice President of Food and Beverage Brian Stapleton. “We’re trying to replicate menu items that facilitate that whole concept.”
Concessions have been a touchy, and very public, battleground for the national park since it was forced to change the names of some of its most iconic institutions. When it switched providers from Delaware North to Yosemite Hospitality in 2016, the former claimed it held the trademark on the names which set off a lengthy and ongoing legal battle.
In response the park changed the names of several of its landmark buildings. The Yosemite Lodge at the Falls became Yosemite Valley Lodge, The Ahwahnee became The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Curry Village became Half Dome Village, Wawona Hotel became Big Trees Lodge and Badger Pass Ski Area became Yosemite Ski &Snowboard Area.
Yosemite Hospitality is continuing its renovations projects in the park. Work on the dining areas at Half Dome Village is scheduled to begin later this fall.
By Marijke Rowland, The Modesto Bee
(c)2018 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)
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