Starbucks is opening the theme park of coffee shops in Chicago
The only thing that would make your local Starbucks store better is if it were a four-story maze with vaulted ceilings and more coffee than any human could ever consume, right? Who needs a front door and a straight path to the register, when you can peruse 43,000 square feet of coffee bliss?
Thirty years ago, Starbucks opened their first retail spot outside of Seattle, in Chicago. “It was so vitally important, because if Chicago didn’t succeed I doubt we would have been able to build a global brand like we did,” Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz told the Chicago Tribune. Well, it did succeed, and they did build a global brand. And as a thank-you of sorts, they’re building a 43,000 square foot coffee haven in the old Crate and Barrel Building in the Magnificent Mile.
The project is called a “Reserve Roastery.” As you can imagine, this isn’t your regular old Starbucks. It’s a place where customers can see rare small reserve batches of coffee roasted, brewed, and packaged. And you’d definitely need some coffee for that experience, because boring. Just kidding! Sort of.
“It’s not a coffee store, the essence of it is the theater and romance and something so experiential,” Schultz said. The Tribune reports Schultz “first had the idea for the Roastery stores in August 2009, when he wrote about a plan to create ‘the Willy Wonka of coffee.'”
Well, we all know what happens in Willy Wonka. The guy who owns it is crazy and no one is pure enough to enjoy his product without being sucked into a chocolate river or turned into a blueberry. But I’m sure the Roastery won’t be as crazy or dangerous. Maybe.
This giant coffee theme park will be the third Roastery to open in the U.S. The first was in Seattle, and the second is slated to open in NYC in 2018. But neither of those locations come close to the size of the Magnificent Mile spot.
At my local Starbucks people can’t even be bothered to get out of their cars. I would love to see all those people ascending four stories and frolicking around a store. This place is sure to be packed because oh my god. Who wouldn’t be curious about the Narnia of coffees?
We’re half terrified, half totally intrigued. It looks like Dr. Evil’s lair, but with a pleasant rooftop patio. More Roastery stores are set to open in Shanghai this year and in Milan and Tokyo in 2018, because one coffee to rule them all.