Starbucks wants millennials to love its coffee, and company execs last year announced plans for a new brand of coffeeshop, Starbucks Reserve, with fancier brews aimed at better capturing that demographic. The company opened its second Reserve location in Chicago on Sunday morning, as Starbucks converted and expanded an existing location on Wicker Park’s six corners at 1588 N. Damen Ave.
A Starbucks spokeswoman said they’ve already converted a Gold Coast location at 1003 N. Rush St., and one in the suburbs at 672 N. Western Ave. in Lake Forest, into Reserves. The Seattle-based coffee giant continues to find ways to better compete with the third wave of coffee roasters. Unlike their corporate competition, Starbucks is opening a series of new stores, as Peet’s Coffee & Tea has elected to purchase brands like Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Starbucks plans on converting 20 percent of its existing locations to the Reserve brand, while opening 1,000 new ones. Reserve drinks will also show up at Starbucks’ new Princi Italian bakeries. That includes the Princi planned for the West Loop.
Besides an interior facelift such as inside the 20-seat location in Wicker Park, Starbucks’ Reserve coffee bars appear to distance the chain from the Gen X “coffeeshop” by serving more rare and unique coffees. Some coffees cost $10 a cup and beans may cost as much as $50 for an 8-ounce bag. The locations feature a larger coffee bar and make use of differing brewing methods, including siphon, Chemex, pour over, Clover, and Black Eagle.
Cubs fans, who are already on the hook this season for higher ticker prices at Wrigley Field, will get the chance to sip these premium blends. A Reserve bar is planned inside the stadium’s new office building. Along with the glut of construction along Addison and Clark, this new deluxe Starbucks should open later this year.
DNAinfo first noticed the rebranding in Wicker Park. The Wicker Park location temporarily closed on Jan. 17 as staff underwent training and management finished the space. They’ve even unveiled an Instagram for the location. Competition is stiff for quality coffee in Wicker Park, especially along Milwaukee Avenue with coffeehouses such as La Colombe, Filter, Wormhole and Brü in close proximity.
Will Starbucks connect with a new audience? Starbucks Reserve is now open in Wicker Park. Check out the menu, including the coffee/ice cream drinks, below.
Starbucks Reserve, 1588 N. Damen Ave., hours not posted yet.