The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan was a 25,000-square-foot experiment, with hand-chiseled palladiana flooring, a wood-fired oven bakery, and a gorgeously long bar cut from a single marble block. The coffee chain went big to impress the stubborn country, and has continued to erect dazzling, insanely huge flagship locations across the world. Now, the chain about to open a Roastery location nearly twice the size of its Italian cousin in the homeland.
The biggest Starbucks location in the world is set to open in... Chicago!
The four-story, 43,000-square-foot coffee shop/cocktail bar/roastery/caffeine citadel will open on November 15, where Crate & Barrel’s Michigan Avenue store previously resided. There will be alcohol, served by the city’s cocktail extraordinaire Julia Momose. According to the Chicago Tribune, the drinks menu was created by Annie Beebe-Tron of Fat Rice and Rachel Miller of Community Tavern.
There will also be food, which Chicago has already gotten a taste of with the opening of Starbucks' high-end Italian mini-chain Princi. You can expect thinly sliced prosciutto breakfast sandwiches and other Italian favorites at the shop.
Starbucks Executive Chairman and former-CEO Howard Schultz told the paper that the new shop will offer onsite coffee roastings and interactive tours of the facility, among other attractions. Thrillist described Starbucks' first Roastery location as "Willy Wonka-esque" when it opened in Seattle back in 2014. That seems to be what the coffee overlords are aiming for.
"When I realized what we could do in that space... I was absolutely coming out of my skin, I was so excited," Schultz said. "The store gives us an opportunity to do something very dramatic with the escalator that will fit with the Willy Wonka theme.”
There’s been no report of Umpa Lumpas entering the scene, but Starbucks said the ultimate goal is to have 20 to 30 Roastery flagships globally. Cue Veruca Salt growling, “I want it now.”