The Chicago Loop is bustling at lunchtime, as downtown office workers, shoppers and sightseers spill out onto the city sidewalks looking for a bite to eat. This week, busy Chicagoans have a new lunch spot with the opening of the Starbucks® store at LaSalle & Monroe, and the Starbucks store at 35th and State street – Bronzeville. The remodeled locations showcase an exclusive and expanded Starbucks® Mercato lunch menu that highlights the vibrancy of the new fresh, hearty, grab-and-go food alongside Starbucks coffee and beverages.
“We wanted to create a space that highlights the fresh, vibrant and delicious Mercato menu,” said Claudine Lostao, director of Store Design for Starbucks in the Midwest and Mid-America. “The store environment has a feeling of lightness and liveliness that allows the great food to be highlighted.”
Lostao and the team of Starbucks designers created a store environment rooted in natural textures. The palette is bright and crisp with light oak wood, chalky pastel tones and white tile. Custom artwork embraces the fun of good food.
The new Mercato lunch menu, which launched at select stores in Chicago in April and Seattle earlier this month, is made fresh, delivered daily and surplus food is donated nightly to a local foodbank. The new stores in Chicago are the first to feature an expanded Mercato menu, which will be exclusively available in these stores. The new sandwiches, small-batch soups, and small dessert pots include:
Chicken Maki Roll:A classic California chicken burrito with a twist – the chicken maki roll is rolled in sushi rice and wrapped with nori. The roll is filled with slow cooked, shredded chicken, fire roasted tomatillo salsa, lime crema, fresh cucumber and pickled cabbage with onions, avocado and crispy onion.
Chimichurri Chicken & Manchego Cheese Sandwich: Slow cooked, herbed chicken is tossed with chimichurri sauce; a bright cilantro and parsley sauce with garlic, salt, vinegar and spices that include black and red pepper. The sandwich is layered with aged Manchego cheese and chunky romesco sauce with roasted red peppers, toasted almonds, garlic, and red wine vinegar all in a California olive oil ciabatta roll.
Crispy Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic take on a grilled cheese using sourdough bread; an olive oil and parmesan spread called a frico is layered on top. The sandwich is stuffed with a three-cheese filling that includes Beecher’s Flagship cheese, parmesan cheese and a blend of burrata.
Organic Tomato Basil Soup: Made with crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and finished with a touch of cream.
Organic Chicken & Quinoa Soup: Made with chicken stock, braised chicken, sautéed onion, red quinoa, baby spinach and seasoned with salt, pepper and toasted fennel seed.
Small Dessert Pots
Chocolate Pot de Crème:A traditional pot de crème using our Single Sourced Colombian chocolate and topped with cacao nibs.
Strawberries & Lemon Crème:Strawberries are marinated with white balsamic vinegar and layered with a creamy, lemony mascarpone topping and crumbled shortbread.
“The interior itself is fresh and crisp, just like the food is. We wanted to make sure the food would be displayed with vibrancy,” Lostao said.
Starbucks in Chicago
Starbucks opened its first store in Chicago in 1987, and is at the forefront of new Starbucks store experiences. The city offers customers an express format store at Union Station, stores with Starbucks Reserve® coffee bars in Wrigleyville, Lake Forest and Wicker Park, and a new store and training center on Chicago’s South Side, to create opportunities for local jobs and provide job skills and training to youth.
Chicago will be also one of the first to showcase a new Starbucks Reserve® store format, slated to open in the next year, and a four-story Starbucks Reserve® Roastery on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile slated to open in 2019.