Starbucks opens first East Coast Reserve Roastery

The 23,000-square-foot palace boasts high-end pastries, small-batch coffee and expensive equipment.

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Video: Max Sternlicht

Starbucks is giving its small-batch coffee the big-star treatment. On Friday, the Seattle-based java giant will open its Reserve Roastery in New York, a 23,000-square-foot, copper-hued palace boasting 35 items on its beverage menu and more than a dozen varieties of pastries. High-end design elements, like leather-encased door handles, and lavish prices—a latte costs $6, add cardamom and it will set you back $8.50—aim to attract the coffee connoisseurs who have traditionally shunned the brand for being too pedestrian.

But the brand is uniquely positioned "to bring the ultimate experience of all things coffee" to the New York market, according to Chief Executive Kevin Johnson. The new store, located in Chelsea, is Starbucks' fourth roastery, following shops in Seattle, Shanghai and Milan. The company worked with nearly 300 New York partners on the offering, which boasts a 60-foot Arriviamo bar where patrons can order coffee-laced cocktails, like a Negroni atop a pour-over, from three mixology stations.

Starbucks opens its Reserve Roastery.
Starbucks opens its Reserve Roastery. Credit: Starbucks

"This is an actual manufacturing plant," says Jill Enomoto, VP of US roasteries, about the new flagship, which specializes in smaller, limited-edition batches of beans.

The Willy-Wonka-esque experience is enhanced by ceiling tubes of beans that shoot out from a 30-foot-tall copper-encased roasting silo in the store's center to the coffee bar nearby. The roastery also offers food from Princi, the Italian bakery of which Starbucks is an investor and the global licensee.

Starbucks is also dedicating a fair amount of square footage to its retail operations, selling one-of-a-kind mugs and brewing equipment alongside hats and apparel. Here too, the brand is doubling down on high-end—a set of four pins costs a whopping $29.95.

It's a happy holiday season for Starbucks already. Last month, the 29,300-unit chain reported record revenue. For the fiscal fourth quarter, the chain saw revenue rise 11 percent over the year-earlier period to $6.3 billion; comparable sales were up 3 percent in the period.

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