A Bay Ridge Chock Full of Nuts was recently shut down after it was discovered that the popular coffee franchise was selling stale donuts acquired from a competitor.
The shutdown occurred on July 9, three months after the rogue coffee shop’s nefarious ways earned it a mention in The Brooklyn Paper’s “Yellow Hooker” column. With the word out, the big wigs at Chock Full of Nuts’ main offices investigated whether the store on Third Avenue near 79th Street was indeed selling stale Dunkin Donuts products to unknowing customers.
So franchise executives sent in a spy to verify the allegation, according to a donut source, who wished to remain nameless.
What the spy discovered was stranger than fiction, according to the source: The Chock Full owner had befriended a Dunkin Donuts owner and arranged for leftover Dunkin cruellers, twists and other treats to escape the trash and go instead to the display case at Chock Full.
“They were selling humus, strange cookies, and pizza. It was a disaster,” the source said. “The higher-ups got word of the situation, shut the guy down, and handed it to someone they knew was reliable.”
That someone is new owner Frank Monteners, who took over the café with partner Joe Fama.
“Let me just say the former owner was not in compliance with the Chock Full of Nuts,” said Montenes, who runs three successful Chock Full of Nuts in Staten Island.
“It is no secret that they were selling Dunkin Donuts, but I can’t comment” further.
“The response since we reopened [last Saturday] has been great,” Montenes added. “But it was clear when I took over that part of my job would be damage control.”
Indeed, no one was fooled by the confectionary bait-and-switch — certainly not the donut savvy residents of Bay Ridge.
“I knew that it was Dunkin Donuts from the minute I bit into a croissant,” said local resident and pastry fan Lisa Tizzishillo. “It was so obvious; Chock Full of Nuts even left the Dunkin Donuts labels on their display case.”
Tizzishillo also didn’t like the fact that the donuts were stale — but is willing to give the new owner a fresh start.
“The place looks like it has been cleaned up now,” she said.