Yes. It's really true. There's really going to be a Starbucks somewhere other than the airport (and I've long argued that while it's great to start a holiday with a celebratory blueberry muffin and tall latté, if you're at the airport, you're probably going somewhere that has plenty of Starbucks - ie, just about anywhere else in the world).
Okay, yes, there is also one in Antwerp, but that's also a long way to go for coffee.
The choice of venue baffles me somewhat, though - they're going for Gare Centrale, which in many ways is the worst of the main stations: its design is the nicest, but it feels dirty, frequently unsafe, and yes, it smells. The more recently renovated Gare du Midi might make more sense, particularly with the Eurostar terminal being there. (And the fact that I go through it more, and they would therefore make a lot more money.)
At the airport, the coffee and the muffins taste exactly as they do in the UK (not as they do in the US, where the muffins are different, but that's another story, and since I'm from the UK, that's fine with me), and the décor is reassuringly familiar too. The price is high, though, and the service slow - or maybe it just seems slow because I'm usually rushing to get the plane I'm late for. At peak hours, in Penn Station in New York someone comes to take your order while you're queuing, but I'm under no illusions about that happening in the Capital of Inefficiency.
I'm also unconvinced that Starbucks-style opening hours will be in operation: seven days a week, 6.30 am to 9 pm (for example) seems unlikely. It would be lovely to imagine that someone has realised that demand is actually likely to be higher at weekends, when most people are likely to have a lot of time to kill given that most middle-distance trains are hourly (yes - hourly), and that in those long stretches of time reading a paper in a comfortable chair rather than sitting on the cold, forbidden steps is likely to appeal. This logic, though, is profoundly unBelgian.
Here's the thing with Starbucks, too. I don't think I so much want one: I've lived here long enough now that the latte cravings have dulled substantially. It's not that I want their gourmet coffee (because, as Belgians will probably be quick to tell you, and as I used to claim myself, it's not really coffee anyway), it's the convenience of their ubiquity that I miss. I want to know that I will be passing one wherever I go, the whole no-time-for-breakfast-I'll-grab-coffee-on-the-way thing, obviating the need for my now dying thermos thingy that I religiously fill with home-made coffee every day (or long discussion in places like Exki where I try to explain I would like a lot of coffee, and a lot of warm milk, all together, but I will mix it myself). And that seems a way off yet.
But, lest you think I do not welcome this development, I do. I really do. If it were not 2 am I would, in fact, be dancing for joy.