Fresh sourdough bread, focaccia pizza, and crispy pastries, baked on-site all day every day: The dream just became a reality at Starbucks, thanks to Princi, a Milan-based bakery whose first U.S. outpost opens today at Capitol Hill’s Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.
From the time the bakery opens at 7 a.m. until nearly 11 p.m. when it closes, Princi’s three Wenz deck ovens from Germany will radiate non-stop, ideally ensuring the Roastery’s custom-roasted coffees are accompanied by warm, hearty loaves and tender, flaky cornetti (Italian croissants) whenever customers arrive. Salads, breakfast sandwiches, desserts, and a full bar serving Aperol spritz and more drinks completes the fancy upgrade.
There’s no printed menu; instead, as customers enter the Roastery and head to the bakery on the right, they’ll find out from specially trained staff — called “commessas” — what items are currently available, a selection that will change throughout the day.
Princi is the brainchild of Rocco Princi, who’s been baking since he was a teenager in Southern Italy and opened the first Princi in Milan in 1986. He now has five locations in that city and one in London; the Seattle bakery selection is said to be a “greatest hits” of these European locations’ menus. Rocco said he turned down a number of partnership offers from Italian coffee giants over the years because he worried they’d force him to compromise his commitment to high-quality ingredients and hands-on practices.
He also said it took Starbucks founder Howard Schultz five years to convince him to team up. To that end, the better to keep things at a manageable scale, Princi products won’t be available in regular Starbucks stores, but will remain exclusive to Reserve Roasteries and standalone Princi bakeries.
That’s right: Seattle is the first to get a Princi, but it won’t be the last. Thanks to Starbucks’ unspecified investment, upcoming Reserve Roasteries in Shanghai (December 5), New York, Tokyo, and Milan (2018), and Chicago (2019) will all boast Princi bakeries. Standalone Princi bakeries are also on their way, with Starbucks teasing that the first will appear in either Seattle, New York City, or Chicago in 2018. Move over, cake pops: Princi is stepping up Starbucks’ food game in a serious way.
Eater.com has more details about the partnership between Princi and Starbucks.
Princi, 1124 Pike St, Seattle. Open daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.