One of my best friends lives in New York City, so I spend quite a few weekends a year there. Consequently, I’ve enjoyed some great restaurants, fabulous shows, cute boutiques, bars with a view, and most importantly . . . coffee shops!
On my most recent trip, per the recommendation of my lovely friend Nelly, I decided to visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. It just opened in December 2018, and even those too-cool Manhattanites are still flocking in to check it out.
Visiting The Roastery
The Roastery is (of course) in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood, directly across from the Chelsea Market (also worth a stop if you’ve never been!). At first glance from the outside, it might appear simply to be a Starbucks on steroids. But don’t be fooled, my fellow java junkies! The Roastery is so much more than just a coffee shop. This coffee lover’s paradise is surrounded by enough Italian pastries, pizzas, and breads, that you’ll seriously contemplate moving to Milan. Even more excitingly, it features the most unique coffee creations I’ve ever tasted.
To that point, the Roastery is best approached on an empty stomach and with friends in tow. You’re going to want to try one of everything you see, which is an impossible task, but one you’ll be happy to fail.
There are six main sections to the three-story, 23,000 square foot space. The Main Bar, which fills the front of the venue, offers a variety of unique coffee creations and pastries. Also towards the entrance is a Scooping Bar, where you can select rare and unique blends to take home and enjoy. Towards the back of the space is the Princi bakery, named for the well-known Milanese baker, Rocco Princi, whose indulgent creations line the glass cases. On a lower level, you’ll find the Experience Bar, where you can sample coffee flights and speciality brew methods. Finally, the Arriviamo Bar is a true bar, offering coffee-focused cocktails and other beverages. Not to be left out, the Roasting Area allows for coffee lovers to scope out Starbucks’ techniques and watch their Master Roasters work.
The entire space is sleek, modern, and cozy; done in dark woods and copper accents, with nods to the Starbucks brand. Seats range from at-the-bar stools to scattered groupings of chairs and (literal) coffee tables. They are peppered throughout the bar areas and clustered around other fun features like a fireplace.
Despite the appeal of the design and the abundance of delicious food, the real star of the show is the coffee. Menus range from traditional lattes and cappuccinos to seasonal offerings (like the current Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew). There are espresso or brew comparison flights, and sweeter selections like chocolate pairings and affogatos. Some standouts include the Sparkling Citrus Espresso and a Nitro Molé Mocha. You can even try my beloved Undertow (which my Starbucks friend tells me can be ordered anywhere in the U.S.). There are tea options for you wimps (just kidding!), and this doesn’t even touch on the spirited beverages you can order at Arriviamo.
There are only six reserve roasteries in the world: NYC, Seattle, Milan, and Shanghai, with two in development in Chicago and Tokyo. So it’s definitely worth the trek to NYC if you’re an East Coast coffee-lover! And for my fellow gluten-free diners, don’t be deterred by the bread everywhere. Baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, Greek yogurt bowls, fresh soups and salads, and charcuterie selections will satisfy your cravings.
If you can manage to go on a weekday, do it. Our Saturday afternoon excursion was certainly crowded and a bit overwhelming. Nonetheless, we had a great time and will definitely be back to sample more! Oh, and one last tip . . . be sure to stop by the restrooms in the basement. Not only are they the cleanest public restrooms you’ll find in the city, there’s also a mini terrarium growing, complete with coffee plants. It’ll transport you to another part of the world.
Happy caffeinating, coffee lovers!