Courtesy of Starbucks

The coffee chain's new "Chicken Maki Roll" is available exclusively at two recently remodeled locations.

Mike Pomranz
August 21, 2017

Chicago has recently received two freshly remodeled Starbucks locations: one at LaSalle and Monroe in The Loop and one at 35th and State Street in Bronzeville. But though these store feature "a feeling of lightness and liveliness," according to Claudine Lostao, Director of Store Design for Starbucks in the Midwest and Mid-America, the fancy wood paneling will probably play second fiddle to this culinary news: These pair of Starbucks stores are currently the only two in the U.S. to serve the coffee chain's take on a sushi burrito.

The 'Bucks is billing this new Chicken Maki Roll as "a classic California chicken burrito with a twist." Stuffed with "slow cooked, shredded chicken, fire roasted tomatillo salsa, lime crema, fresh cucumber and pickled cabbage with onions, avocado and crispy onion," the burrito is "rolled in sushi rice and wrapped with nori" instead of a tortilla. As sushi burritos go, this one seems pretty small: Visually, it's more akin to your typical hand roll than a true mammoth-sized Mission burrito. So just how "classic" this sushi-fied take on a California chicken burrito is will be up to the eye of the beholder. Still, Starbucks has a recent history of bringing more niche products to the mainstream, so if this sushi burrito proves successful, it could potentially be the sushi burrito's big break nationwide.

Despite currently only being available at two locations, the Chicken Maki Roll is actually part of a larger initiative. Starting in April, over 100 Starbucks in Chicago and more than 200 locations in Seattle began receiving a new "Mercato" lunch menu. Using the Italian word for "marketplace," the menu was described by the brand as "a new selection of grab-and-go salads, hearty sandwiches and sides" designed to "meet a variety of dietary lifestyles from high protein to vegetarian and vegan," all of which "are made fresh and delivered daily using high-quality, flavorful ingredients." Items include things like a "Cauliflower Tabbouleh Side Salad" and a "Herbed Chicken & Fig Spread Sandwich," along with new soups and dessert pots, a reprentative tells Food & Wine via email.

The far-more-limited-release sushi burrito is being called part of "an expanded Mercato menu" which we're told Starbucks plans to roll out at more stores in the future, but that timeline has yet to be announced.

[h/t Eater]