In a City where ‘bigger & better’ is the norm, the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, next to Chelsea Market, fits right in with its three-level, 23,000 square-feet of very inviting, beautifully designed space.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery isn’t a one-off for the company. This is, in fact, the fourth of six planned roasters around the world. Within its 23,000 square feet of space, it houses five specialty bars ~ some serving coffee, a scoop bar for beans-to-go, and ~ the Arriviamo Bar in the Roastery featuring a curated menu of coffee and tea cocktails. The freshly baked artisan food is from the boutique Milanese Princi bakery.
Arriviamo means “we have arrived” in Italian, and visitors to the Roastery will arrive to find a 60-foot mixology bar on the mezzanine. The Arriviamo Bar, which Muller said will be the longest mixology bar in any Roastery, is front and center on the space’s mezzanine and can be viewed from every corner of the Roastery. “We knew if we were opening a bar in this neighborhood, it had to be among the best, and this is truly a statement,” Muller said. “I want to have my party there.”
“We designed the Roastery as the pinnacle experience around all-things-coffee, and there is nothing else like it in the world. With premium coffees, teas, mixology and the iconic Milanese Princi Bakery, it serves as a Starbucks brand amplifier and a platform for future innovation,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks ceo. “Beverages such as Draft Nitro, Cold Foam and the recent launch of Juniper Latte all began at the Roastery and have since been introduced to Starbucks locations around the world. It is the ultimate Starbucks Experience and an unforgettable way to connect with our customers.”
Starbucks has a long history in New York. In 1994, Starbucks chairman emeritus, Howard Schultz, who was born and raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn, opened the first Starbucks store in the city on Broadway and 87th Street on the Upper West Side. Nearly 25 years later, there are 350 Starbucks stores across the five boroughs in the city where Starbucks employs approximately 5,000 partners (employees). The Roastery employs nearly 300 people, including roasters, baristas, commessas and mixologists.
“Like most people I first experienced Starbucks as a customer, where I would go to my store at 195 Broadway in the Financial District in New York City and order a tall latte which was the perfect way to start my day,” said Reserve Roastery New York managing director Raul Adorno. “I look forward to welcoming my fellow New Yorkers and visitors from all around the world when we open the Roastery on Friday. You will be amazed.”
At its core, Starbucks Reserve Roastery New York is a working coffee roastery, where every day Starbucks Master Roasters, who have trained for years in the craft of coffee roasting, will be small-batch roasting Starbucks rarest single-origin coffees and blends called Starbucks Reserve. Those coffees then get served fresh at the Roastery or shipped to select Starbucks stores around the world. That functional purpose, as well as the history of industry and manufacturing in the meatpacking district, is reflected in the design of the space.
“New York is a hub to the world,” said Liz Muller, chief design officer of Starbucks. “It’s an unbelievable place with such history. The meatpacking district has a fantastic history of industry, and the neighborhood has an electric energy; it is alive. We’ve designed a space where the excitement and dynamic activity of the neighborhood is mirrored in the Roastery. We want our customers to come in and feel very inspired.”
The New York Roastery is opening its doors on the street level of a new nine-story office building designed by architect Rafael Vinoly in the heart of Manhattan’s vibrant meatpacking district (more on the neighborhood later).
“The really striking quality of the building itself is that it’s made up of these beautiful, rigid squares and rectangles, pushed and pulled. Where they are pulled in it becomes a terrace and it makes these little gardens,” said Jill Enomoto, a design director at Starbucks. “We fell in love with the geometry of the building and riffed off that idea.”
Inside, the Roastery ceiling features an “undulating ocean” of squares and rectangles inspired by the building’s exterior and by the grid of New York City blocks outside. The ceiling also features a network of twisting, subway-like “symphony pipes” through the freshly roasted beans travel (making the tinkling sound of rain along the way) to their ultimate destination – silos at the main bar, or the take-home scoop bar.
The New York-inspired design isn’t just symbolic. It’s practical as well, down to the window ledges that can be used as seats or tables by city goers accustomed to crowds and using every available space to sit or hang. There’s also a fireplace.
“It gets cold in Manhattan, but people are not scared. Even if there’s a blizzard, they walk, they go out,” said Liz Muller, chief design officer and senior vice president of Starbucks. She and her team led the design of New York Roastery and the three other Starbucks Roasteries in Seattle, Shanghai and Milan. “New Yorkers are out more than they’re in. They are out eating and meeting and this can be their true Third Place. You can have a party here. You can meet your love here. You can come here on your own. You can come here when you’re visiting the neighborhood. You could come here as your daily ritual. I think this does a little bit of all of that, and it is very much New York.”
It can be a challenge for designers to create a stylish and functional space that is also built to withstand heavy use over time. Starbucks worked with longtime collaborator BassamFellows on the design of an exclusive suite of walnut furniture for the New York Roastery. It’s beautiful furniture with a classic yet modern American style – and also sturdy, Muller said.
“The furniture has to look great but also perform like a truck,” Muller said. “It’s perfect for this location, which I know will be busy.”
The cellar level features a first for a Roastery, a terrarium inspired by Hacienda Alsacia, the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica. The lush vegetation includes coffee plants, ferns and philodendrons common to Costa Rica. A company called Furbish in Baltimore created the terrarium; the team there has been cultivating and curating the plants for about six months before installing them in the Roastery. “It’s a beautiful surprise down there,” Enomoto said. “You could be wandering around and end up in a pocket of Costa Rica.”
The Princi Bar (above and below) is the Milanese boutique bakery Princi from founder Rocco Princi, with on-site baking of fresh breads, Pizzas, cornet, focaccia, and deserts
Inspired by the Arriviamo Bar in the Milan Roastery and the tradition of the Italian aperitivo (early evening social cocktails paired with small bites), the Arriviamo Bar in New York City features an assortment of traditional and unique cocktails ranging from classics like Aperol Spritz to coffee- and tea-inspired creations. The bar menu was concepted by award-winning mixologist Julia Momose.
“Opening a bar with beautiful wine and drinks is one thing, but we’re taking what we know best, coffee and tea, and using that to elevate everything,” Muller said. “The unique drinks, the glassware – it will be an experience to open your palette and your mind to new tastes and combinations.”
Her current favorite: The Nocino Notte, an adventurous take on the classic Negroni with Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Pine Barrens Barrel Reserve Botanical Gin, Gran Classico Bitter, Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino and black truffle salt.
As if the smell of freshly roasting coffee weren’t enough, at the New York Roastery it will mingle with freshly baked bread from Princi. Princi was founded by baker Rocco Princi in Milan, and is now the exclusive food purveyor in Starbucks Roasteries. Teams of bakers will spend each day pulling artisanal baked goods, both savory and sweet, from the cast-iron ovens.
“There’s a glorious display counter with bakery items, salads and desserts, and you can stand outside on the street and see bakers taking fresh bread from the ovens through the window,” Muller said. “It’s a really beautiful bakery experience.”
Customers can visit the Roastery’s “scoop bar” to take home some bags of some of the 14 rotating, freshly roasted coffees from farms around the world.
“In true mercantile tradition, we wanted to make sure we showed the customer what we were trading,” Muller said. “The scoop bar features a vintage hanging scale to celebrate the tradition of the neighborhood and nine beautiful coffee bean silos in the window that will be manually filled each morning, so you’ll be able to walk by and say, ‘Wow, they’ve got Colombia and Brazil today.’”
Patrons of the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery will enter on Ninth Avenue, and leave through the 15th Street door, next to a cast copper and bronze on the wall, entitled The Siren by Max Steiner (below).
Each Roastery features a unique art piece to bring the centerpiece of the Starbucks logo to life, and in New York, a 10-foot, 2,000-pound copper Siren will keep watch over the new space. Designed to appear as if she is emerging from water, the New York Roastery’s Siren was created by Brooklyn artist Max Steiner, who collaborated on the metal forging with Polich Tallix foundry in Rock Tavern, N.Y.
“Every Roastery has to have her, and this Siren is very unique, and very New York,” Muller said. “She’s the overarching beacon of our brand.”
Now the City will never sleep!