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In 2018, Starbucks expanded beyond storefronts that dot every street corner with its introduction of Princi bakery to the States. The fast-casual spots straight out of Italy, which feature pastries, coffee, and wine, are open in Seattle, Chicago, and now New York City. We had a chance to check out Princi’s latest location in midtown Manhattan.

Walking into Princi feels like you’ve been transported to an Italian bakery, and that’s the point. All the food is on display via a long pastry counter. “We like to share a visual menu, so one of the first things you notice obviously is the food,” says Dami LaCarrubba, the store manager.

The pastry case is chock-full of fresh pastries, pizza, and bread, and what makes Princi unique is it doesn’t ship the items in from some far-off warehouse. It bakes all the items directly behind the display (see the gray ovens in the background).

At the heart of the storefront is a bar which serves wine, beer, and coffee. But this isn’t your typical Starbucks coffee stop. Instead of Frappuccinos and green straws, you’ll find a more Italian coffee experience. “Our coffee menu is a classic espresso menu of Americanos, quartos, and macchiatos,” explains LaCarrubba. “It’s pretty simplistic. [We] feature a couple of blends [like the] Princi blend, which Rocco curated with our global coffee team, and a seasonal Starbucks Reserve Blend. Right now we have Christmas Reserve.” The bar also features 20 different types of imported Italian wine and bottled and draft beer.

If you happen to stop in between 5 and 7pm, Princi will give you a complimentary slice of pizza with your adult beverage. We tried the Salame Piccante. The focaccia base gives it a light, flaky, pillow-like texture.

Another standout on the menu is the cornetti, which are like tiny Italian croissants. These flakey, buttery delights break open to reveal a honeycomb interior. Though you can’t go wrong with the plain cornetti paired with freshly brewed coffee, the stuffed cornetti are worth sinking your teeth into as well. The Nocciola (filled with chocolate hazelnut spread), Mirtillo (loaded with a sweet blueberry jam), and Cioccolato (rolled with pieces of chocolate inside) are all

eccellente.

Would you try out Princi? Let us know on Twitter.

(Photos via Starbucks and Gabi Conti/Brit + Co)

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