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Starbucks-backed bakery Princi opening in midtown

The Milan chain is known for its cornetti and focaccia.

New York City's first Princi bakery will open

New York City's first Princi bakery will open "in a few weeks," according to a spokeswoman.  Photo Credit: Starbucks

A taste of Milan is coming to midtown.

Princi, a renowned Italian bakery backed by Starbucks, is slated to open in Paramount Plaza at 1633 Broadway. The opening, expected Oct. 25, was delayed at the last minute, according to a spokeswoman.

"The Princi store in NYC will now open in a few weeks," read a statement. "... the team felt that this important customer experience needed a bit more fine tuning before opening our doors to New Yorkers."

Since Starbucks became an investor and licensee of Princi in 2016, the all-day cafe and bakery has been making inroads in the United States. The new NYC outpost marks the third U.S. location of Princi (pronounced with a “ch”), after openings in Seattle and Chicago.

The opening brings Princi’s fresh focaccia and cornetti — similar to a croissant — to NYC. The menu will change throughout the day, with steel-cut oats, baked eggs and cornetti filled with raspberry jam, hazelnut or almond to start. Lunch brings focaccia sandwiches, pizza, soups and salads. Then the afternoon sees desserts like tarts and tiramisu. A variety of ingredients will be imported from Italy, including flour, jams, olive oil and chocolate.

The cafe will also serve Starbucks’ Reserve Princi Blend and, in the evening, Italian beer and wine.

The experience — from a wall of ingredients to the bakery’s two ovens — is designed to appeal to “all senses,” Starbucks spokesman Nicholas Sampogna said.

“You’re seeing the bakery in action,” he said. “You’re seeing fresh baking throughout the day; you’re smelling and hearing the bakery in action.”

Rather than rely on a giant menu, customers will largely engage with the bakery staff.

“The employees of the bakery are designed to be a tour guide through the menu,” Sampogna said.

Princi’s baked goods also will be available at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, slated to open in the Meatpacking District later this year.

Founded in Milan by Italian baker Rocco Princi in 1986, the bakery now has six locations in Milan and one in London. In addition to those in the United States, Starbucks has a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai with Princi food offerings.

New York City is not lacking in bakeries and cafes, and continues to attract newcomers, like Sydney’s Bourke Street, slated to open this fall in NoMad. But experts find this a smart move for the coffee giant.

“New Yorkers have already shown for years that they will try all sorts of national and international retailers,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “This is not the first time a global food company has expanded in New York. ... I think there’s a big, growing market in New York to tap.”

Knowing that Starbucks is behind Princi, which isn’t a household name here, also may help bring out customers.

“Starbucks are everywhere and they already have a huge following,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in an email. “So when their customer base learns about the collaboration, they’ll check it out.”

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