Coffee challenge: Cortelyou Road cafes to face off with Starbucks, Dunkin’

Coffee challenge: Cortelyou Road cafes to face off with Starbucks, Dunkin’
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Two coffee giants could be coming to java-rich Cortelyou Road, but the real estate broker who’s been credited with helping turn the strip around says Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts should stay away.

Jan Rosenberg — who was honored by the Brooklyn Independent Democrats last Thursday for brokering deals that turned the sleepy Ditmas Park road into a caffeinated hot spot — said she’d prefer it if Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks moved to Foster Avenue three blocks away, so they wouldn’t compete with mom-and-pops already percolating on Cortelyou.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing for the strip,” she said. “I’d much rather see them on Foster Avenue. There is no cafe to draw people there.”

But a Dunkin’ Donuts is already under construction between Marlborough Road and the train station, and, at the ceremony honoring Rosenberg Thursday night, Borough President Markowitz let it slip that Starbucks is brewing up plans for a store there as well.

The boisterous beep met with Starbucks representatives this week to discuss the java juggernaut’s expansion into Brooklyn, according to an aide, who confirmed the Seattle conglomerate’s interest in Ditmas Park.

Right now, the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is located on Church Avenue between E. 17th and E. 18th avenues, and the nearest Starbucks is located next to Brooklyn College.

But there are already three cafes on Cortelyou Road between E. 17th Street and Coney Island Avenue — and plenty of shops also serve java. So you’ll excuse the community if they don’t welcome the giants into their neighborhood.

“It’s gross — I don’t even like that there’s a Connecticut Muffin,” said Sumeet Hora, 30, who was enjoying an iced coffee in the backyard of the Mediterranean coffeehouse Qathra, on Cortelyou between Westminster and Argyle roads, Friday evening. “I try to support mom-and-pop shops.”

And Dino Elefther, the manager of Brooklyn-based Connecticut Muffin, was dubious of the strip’s capacity for more coffee shops.

“If more people are going to move into the neighborhood, I think we would be able to support it,” he said. “It’s going to be a little clustered.”

But at least one barista says he’s not afraid of the coming coffee challenge.

“Nobody likes Starbucks in our neighborhood,” said Max Habib, the owner of Qathra. “And I love competition.”