Can Patrick Dempsey heat up Tully's Coffee?

  • Updated: January 5, 2013 - 6:15 PM
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Patrick Dempsey's investment group has won the bid to purchase Tully's Coffee. Dempsey meets the staff at the Tully's Coffee on Western Avenue near the Pike Place Market on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013

Photo: Mike Siegel, Associated Press - Ap

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"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey may be the real "McSteamy." The actor, who was dubbed "McDreamy" as a star of the hospital drama while his co-star was called "McSteamy," may soon be serving hot, steaming cups of joe after he won a bankruptcy auction to buy Tully's Coffee.

Among those he beat out is Tully's bigger Seattle neighbor, Starbucks, known for its ubiquitous white cups with a circular green mermaid logo. Dempsey, whose company Global Baristas LLC plans to keep the Tully's name, declared victory on Twitter: "We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and ... SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!

The win for Dempsey deals a rare setback for Starbucks on its home turf. The coffee giant, which had planned to convert the Tully's cafes to its own brand, insinuated that Dempsey shouldn't celebrate just yet. It said that a final determination on the winning bid won't be made until a court hearing Friday.

Dempsey said that as the underdog in Seattle, the city where his show is set, Tully's will need to find its identity. "It's a much smaller chain that has a lot of potential that hasn't been given the proper care," he said.

Tully's, which is known for serving joe with a milder taste than Starbucks brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. President and CEO Scott Pearson called the deal a "great match." Dempsey said he planned to be very involved, saying: "We can pull this off. We just have to take steps that are slow and smart. I'm going to get behind the counter. I'm going to serve coffee. ... I'm going to give the company a boost of energy."

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