It’s Brew-tiful: Wildcats share thoughts on renovated Starbucks


Ziye Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

The renovated Norbucks on the ground floor of Norris University Center showcases a modern look and features a new mobile ordering option.

Jessica Ma, Assistant Campus Editor

Something is brewing in Norris University Center. 

Weinberg senior Eivan Herrera-Valdez, who loves his Starbucks a latte, was greeted with a surprise earlier this month — a freshly renovated Starbucks inside Norris University Center. 

Northwestern’s Starbucks, also called Norbucks, was previously on the first floor of Norris but moved to a new space on the ground floor March 6. With white marbled counters and shining hexagonal tile walls, the new venue features a clean, minimalist look. 

“It tastes better down here,” Herrera-Valdez said. “Maybe it’s because when you’re down here, you’re thirsty or hungry, so the food tastes better.” 

Herrera-Valdez said the Starbucks is consistent with the ground floor’s atmosphere, where other Norris eateries like MOD Pizza and Buen Día also sell food and drink. He appreciates the new location, which he said optimizes social interaction and allows him to see and talk to people in line. On the other hand, the first floor of Norris feels quieter and more studious, he said. 

Weinberg junior Noah Seth, who expressed a similar sentiment, said the first floor Starbucks looked “old and decrepit” and wasn’t conducive to student gathering. 

In terms of architecture, the new Starbucks better matches the ground floor’s ambience, Seth said. The ground floor has more windows that let in light and make the space appear inviting. 

“I am, personally, not a fan of brutalist architecture,” Seth said. “To be greeted by this bright, open, airy Starbucks was super exciting.” 

The renovated Norbucks also includes a mobile ordering option through the Starbucks app. Herrera-Valdez said ordering is now more convenient since customers don’t have to wait in long lines. Instead, customers can pick up their order on the go and hurry to class, he said.

The new Starbucks replaced Dunkin’, which occupied the space last school year and closed due to low revenue.

Bienen sophomore Elliot Oppenheim said he felt frustrated about Dunkin’ closing. He could get a Dunkin’ iced coffee for cheaper and the line was significantly shorter, he said. 

“There needs to be a more affordable coffee option that isn’t the nasty bottled stuff you get in the Norris storefront area,” Oppenheim said. 

SESP sophomore Mia Xia said the old Starbucks served the purpose it needed to. She said it would be nicer if the University did something more beneficial with the money used to renovate the Starbucks.

The old first floor Starbucks will be replaced by smoothie and sandwich shop Shake Smart, which is set to open fall 2023. Xia said she doesn’t plan on purchasing smoothies from Shake Smart but might try an acai bowl. 

However, at the end of the day, Xia said Starbucks will remain her go-to for coffee — even though she will not have dining dollars next year. 

Seth’s reaction to the new Starbucks can be summed up with one phrase: “Hell yeah!” 

I’m glad that Northwestern is investing in a common space for undergraduates — a very necessary improvement,” Seth said. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @JessicaMa2025

Related Stories:

Starbucks relocates in Norris, set to open March 6

Students charged for seemingly ‘free’ Starbucks due to malfunctioning register

Main Street Starbucks votes 12-0 to unionize