In an attempt to expand its evening business, Starbucks began offering wine, beer, and a light dinner menu at one of its Seattle stores in the fall of 2010. In 2012, the chain expanded the idea to Orange County, L.A., and San Francisco.
The initiative has been so successful that over the next few years, Starbucks plans to expand the offerings to about 3,000 of its nearly 12,000 U.S. stores, which is expected to generate about $1 billion in sales according to Shanken News Daily.
Locally, the Starbucks at Lowes Plaza in Rancho Santa Margarita and the one in Seacliff Village in Huntington Beach are offering the new menu from 4 to 10:30 p.m. The compact wine list consists of a variety of well-known brands of domestic and international red, white, and sparkling wines from primarily large companies such as E. & J. Gallo Winery (Apothic Red Blend and Louis M. Martini Napa Cabernet Sauvignon), Chateau Ste. Michelle (Columbia Valley Riesling) and Antinori (Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio). Wines are served both by the glass (stemless) and bottle.
The savory small plates served are wine-friendly, and on local menus they include truffle popcorn, grilled vegetable plate, truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, and chicken sausage-and-mushroom flatbread. Desserts include double-chocolate brownie bites and chocolate truffles.