Starbucks Coffee Company recently announced the opening of the first Princi bakery and café location in the United States at its Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle. The Roastery opened in December 2014 as an homage to coffee, a completely immersive and sensorial space that redefined customers’ expectations of a retail environment. Completing this new customer experience is the introduction of Princi, offering freshly baked Italian food crafted from Rocco Princi’s recipes, which has gained a devoted following in his six stores across Milan and in London’s Soho neighborhood.
Princi will become the exclusive food offering in all new Starbucks Reserve Roastery locations including Shanghai, opening in December 2017, Milan in late 2018, and New York, Tokyo and Chicago thereafter.
“Rocco Princi is an artisan who, at an early age, discovered a love of bread making and through determination as well as an obsession for finding the perfect ingredients, has created an Italian food experience that I think is unparalleled,” said Howard Schultz, executive chairman, Starbucks. “His passion for authentic food and respect for Milanese culture come through in everything he does, and I think our customers are going to fall in love with Princi."
Born in Calabria, Italy, Rocco Princi began as a baker’s apprentice and opened his first store at the age of 21 in the Villa San Giovanni. With the motto, “hot bread all day,” demand quickly exceeded his expectations and Rocco moved to Milan, opening a shop in 1986. Designed with ovens as the centerpiece of his stores, Rocco Princi and his team bring the theatre of baking to life using simple, yet sacred artisanal techniques, and exceptional ingredients sourced specifically for each fresh food offering. Sourced without compromise and baked without shortcuts is what defines Princi food.
At the newest Princi location in Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, a team of bakers and chefs bring over 125 years of experience to Princi recipes. Much like Rocco’s European locations, the Seattle store is centered around ovens with food across every daypart baked fresh onsite. More than 100 menu items—from flaky cornetti to focaccia sandwiches filled with salame Milano and mozzarella di bufala or crostata fragola—will be available daily, using ingredients imported from Italy, 25 of which are specifically for Princi. The food will be displayed in abundance as a Commessa guides customers through the breadth of offerings.
“Today, I am realizing a dream that I have had since I was a young man, and I am grateful to Howard for his vision to bring Princi to the world,” said Rocco Princi, founder, Princi. “Having worked side by side with the team that Starbucks has assembled, I have seen firsthand their talent as well as the attention they have given to ensuring that the fresh, authentic, handcrafted ingredients that define the Princi experience are being honored. I am excited and humbled that the people of Seattle will now be able to experience our food.”
In 2016, Starbucks announced that it had joined a global investment team—which includes Milan-based Angel Capital Management and Pekepan Investments—to expand Princi bakeries into international markets. In addition to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery locations, Starbucks plans to open Princi standalone stores starting in 2018.