In the heart of downtown Naperville, a Starbucks Reserve coffee bar has been transformed into a specialty cafe with artisanal Italian fare, signature cocktails and an experience unlike any other location in the Midwest.
After closing in early April to finish renovations, the coffeehouse at 203 S. Main St. reopened last week with a new restaurant-style concept implemented at only three other Starbucks sites worldwide: New York City, Seattle and Shanghai.
Though not as extravagant as the six Starbucks Reserve Roasteries across the globe — including one along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago — the downtown Naperville store pulls design and menu inspiration from those full-scale operations while aiming to create a more intimate atmosphere, according to the website and a company spokesperson.
Beverage options range from whole bean and barrel-aged coffee to beer, wine and handcrafted cocktails, many of which incorporate coffee or espresso into their list of ingredients, according to the spring menu. Coffee and ice cream drinks, sparkling and frozen iced tea, and flights of coffee and cold brew are featured alongside espresso classics, such as lattes, cappuccinos and flavored mochas.
The store exclusively serves Princi bakery food made on site, including pizzas, salads, sandwiches, pastries, desserts, meat and cheese boards, and other cuisine inspired by Italian baker Rocco Princi.
The menu is unique to the Starbucks Reserve cafes, where “baristas keep the theater of coffee craft at the forefront of the experience,” company representatives said in a written statement. All Reserve coffee beverages are made with a premium selection of “extraordinary and sought-after coffees from around the world.”
Plans to convert the Naperville coffeehouse into a restaurant setting have been in the works for at least two years. Starbucks was granted a restaurant/tavern liquor license for that location in May of 2019, at which point several members of the city’s liquor commission said they thought the concept would enhance what is already a unique coffee experience in the downtown area.
The Starbucks Reserve restaurant is a far cry from the now-defunct Evenings menu the company…