It was back in 2012 that Starbucks made its first serious foray into food, acquiring chi-chi San Francisco bakery chain La Boulange for both its reputation and recipes. Fast-forward five years, and the Seattle-based company is no longer thought of solely as a place for those essential pumpkin spice lattes and orange mocha frappuccinos — it’s a real player in the weekday breakfast and lunch scene, giving colossal fast food chains a run for their money.
The reason Starbucks’ food has taken off with such fervour? Some have argued it’s millennial customers seeking out healthier choices who’ve helped propel the coffee giant into the food space. In the last two years, the company has also doubled down on drive-thru locations, which help target the on-the-go crowd. But anyone who frequents Starbucks for food knows there’s a much simpler explanation for the company’s gastronomic popularity: Convenience. Starbucks is just about everywhere — and each location offers a variety of options to satisfy everything from light snack-cravings to outright hanger, at nearly any time of day.
For anyone who’s ever found themselves with 5 minutes, $10 and only a Starbucks in sight, the real question is how well the chain’s food stacks up again its biggest competition—itself. Here is our (okay, my) definitive top 10 ranking of foods you can find there:
1. Double Smoked Bacon Cheddar and Egg Sandwich.
Easily the most decadent dish on the Starbucks menu, this concoction features thick-cut bacon (which, according to the company, is smoked for 10 hours), an egg patty and a slice of cheddar cheese sandwiched between a luxe croissant bun. Arguably — and this is bold — it’s better than its counterpart from the golden arches.
2. Lemon Loaf.
The dessert snack that has inspired countless copycat blogger recipes, this lemon loaf is an OG by Starbucks menu standards. Dense and moist, with a sweet lemon glaze, the slightly tart cake makes for a great midday pick-me-up.
3. Chicken Artichoke on Ancient Grain Flatbread.
If you’re someone who’s swayed by online opinion, know that the chicken artichoke flatbread might be the most popular savoury option on the Starbucks menu. Reminiscent of the kind of focaccia sandwich you might find in a Roman café, the flatbread is packed with thin slices of grilled chicken breast, roasted artichoke hearts, slices of provolone cheese and a sun-dried tomato pesto.
4. Protein Bistro Box.
The grown-up version of your well-balanced junior school lunch has a bit of everything: apple slices and grapes for your daily fruit intake, a multigrain morning round for a bit of carb energy, a hard-boiled egg for some protein, and white cheddar slices and delicious honeyed peanut butter for you to indulge in while still feeling healthy.
5. Peanut Butter Cup Cookie.
Don’t let the classy faux fork marks fool you — this peanut cookie with a chocolate peanut butter cup baked inside is pure guilty pleasure.
6. Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl.
For those days you forget your lunch but don’t want another cafeteria burger, this veggie-heavy brown rice bowl is your answer — it’s packed with beets, kale, butternut squash, broccoli and roasted tomatoes and served with a tart, creamy lemon tahini dressing.
7. Double Chocolate Brownie.
Sometimes (okay, most of the time), all you need to make it through the work day is a rich, chocolatey snack. Made with cocoa powder and chunks of chocolate, this brownie is a compact square of chewy, fudgy goodness.
8. Spinach & Feta Wrap with Cage-Free Egg White.
This high-protein, low-cal vegetarian option, made with cage-free egg whites, spinach, tomatoes and feta wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla, is a great healthy-ish option to grab on the go.
9. Greek & Honey Yogurt Parfait.
This breakfast snack pairs non-fat Greek yogurt with a granola of coconut and almond, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and honey. Perfect for when you’re a bit peckish and need to keep the late-morning hunger at bay.
10. Organic Avocado Spread.
One of the newest additions to the big menu gives customers the chance to create their own avocado toast. Made without additives or preservatives, the spread (which has a guacamole texture) is a great addition to a toasted everything-bagel.
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