"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey has apparently placed the winning bid in Thursday's bankruptcy auction to buy the Tully's Coffee chain.
Dempsey, known as "McDreamy" on the hospital-themed television drama, visited Tully's Mercer Island, as well as three other Eastside locations at Clyde Hill and downtown Bellevue this morning, according to his Twitter feed.
Making his last stop of his whirlwind tour at the Mercer Island store around noon, Dempsey spent about half-an-hour at the coffee shop, greeted by an unofficial welcoming committee of around 100 fans and onlookers, including several Mercer Island High School cheerleaders. The Los Angeles resident told onlookers that he planned to return to the Seattle area as part of an ongoing commitment to Tully's at least 4 days a month.
Island resident and Tully's CEO & President Scott Pearson, beaming with pride amidst the excitement, said he hoped the deal would receive approval from a bankruptcy judge.
"Patrick's commitment has been across-the-board," he said. "He's pledged to keep all of these folks employeed, to keep the brand growing, and to keep up the buzz ... Even though he doesn't live here, he sure acts like a local."
And the buzz reverberated through Mercer Island all afternoon. Dozens of disappointed young women and high school students streamed in and out of the store hours afterwards, said Mercer Island Tully's barista Ilya Romanoff, who informed them that Dempsey had already left the building.
While he was in the store, Dempsey ordered a single shot of espresso, but wasn't able to drink it until he was able to walk out of the store a quarter-hour later. "I felt bad that he couldn't enjoy it," Romanoff said, surprised at the excitement. "There were people already waiting here for him when I arrived for work at 11:30 a.m."
The Associated Press reports Dempsey's placed the bid through his company Global Baristas LLC and plans to keep the Tully's brand. But Starbucks, which also participated in the auction, says it's in a "back up" position to buy about half of Tully's remaining 47 stores.
A final decision on the winning bid will be determined in court on Jan. 11.