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America's Biggest Coffee Chain Is Closing These Bakery Locations for Good

And it's happening in the immediate future.

If you've become a fan of the artisanal brioches, cinnamon rolls, and sourdough that Starbucks has introduced in recent years, the chain has disappointing news. After less than three years of operation, the world's biggest coffee brand is suddenly about to shutter one of its boldest food ventures ever.

Legend has it Starbucks founder Howard Schultz grew enamored with products at Princi, an Italian bakery, when he discovered the brand during a business trip in Milan around 2016. With Princi already having a presence in London at that time, in July 2018 Starbucks announced its license to open U.S. Princi bakery locations in Seattle, New York, and Chicago.

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Starbucks also made Princi the food supplier to Starbucks' two more upmarket destination brands: The "experiential" Starbucks Roastery, as well as Starbucks Reserve—the wine bar concept that the coffee chain has introduced in some metropolitan areas in the past decade. A spokesperson for Starbucks tells Eat This, Not That! that Princi will continue to supply its full range of pastries, breads, tarts, and more at these specialty locations.

Princi bakery in the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chelsea, NYC, on December 14, 2018's grand opening day.Shutterstock

However, Starbucks has announced that as of September 4, the three standalone U.S. Princi bakeries will close. Our Starbucks contact states that the Princi locations have served as a "test bed" for Starbucks' menu, food, and design, but that now the chain is in the process of "evolving" its long-term corporate strategy. (They could not provide further comment.)

Currently, it's unclear whether Princi locations had taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Eater reports that the Chicago store had been busy in recent weeks, with some customers even enjoying bites in-house before Chicago re-enacted its mask-wearing mandate last week.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy