D’oh nuts! Tim Hortons replaces Dunkin Donuts in two Downtown spots

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The Canadian donut invasion of Brooklyn has begun.

Tim Hortons, a 4,000-store coffee and donut chain that is Canada’s Starbucks, McDonalds, Hale and Hearty and Dunkin’ Donuts all rolled into one, opened its first two Brooklyn stores on Monday.

Actually, the Dunkin’ parallel is apt, given that both Hortons locations — at 22 Court St. and 451 Fulton St. in Downtown — replaced Dunkin’ Donuts shops after the Canton, Mass–based chain had a falling out with the Riese Organization, which owns the real estate in question.

Longtime Dunkin’ customers weren’t demonstrating much brand loyalty on Monday, willingly (and in some cases, gladly) opting for the North of the Border baked goods and java.

“The appearance is a lot better, and I’m definitely going to come back this afternoon for cream of broccoli soup,” said Deirdre Battle, as she grabbed an iced coffee — her regular order from the Dunkin’ Donuts — on Monday morning at the Court Street shop.

At the Fulton Mall location, a woman named Karen told The Brooklyn Paper that the iced coffee is, “delicious.”

“It’s frosty and it has a wonderful taste to it,” she added.

Of course, this is New York, so the newcomer was lambasted in some quarters.

“Dunkin’ Donuts was bad enough, but this is worse,” said Carsteal Parker, referring to the $1.39 price of a small cup of coffee.

She also pronounced herself underwhelmed by the glazed cruller and was appalled by the lack of public restroom at the Fulton Street location, calling it a sufficient reason to “boycott” the restaurant.

Borough President Markowitz, who has been known to eat a donut or two in his day, grabbed a skim decaf cappuccino and a Timbit before welcoming the foreign company to Kings County.

“We have a lot of Canadians in Brooklyn,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed Tim Hortons whenever I go north.”

Markowitz also offered some business advice to Jamie Galler, senior executive vice president of the Riese Organization.

“[Tell them to] make a Kosher donut and open some stores in Borough Park,” Markowitz recommended. “The religious Jewish market is huge!”

The Tim Hortons donut megalith is named for Tim Horton, the hockey star who opened his first shop was in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1964 while in the midst of a Hall of Fame career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Now, the restaurant sells more than 60 percent of all coffee in Canada, and claims to pour more than two billion cups each year. By comparison, Starbucks provides 42 percent of our caffeine fixes.

But it hasn’t all been peaches and cream donuts for the chain, which was once accused — wrongly, it turned out — of spiking its coffee with flavor and energy enhances. And Hortons does have one problem: Its products are promoted as “always fresh,” but the company’s locations have not done in-store baking since 2003.

Instead, workers reheats the frozen donuts and bagels in ovens that are conspicuously visible to people standing on line.

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Reader Feedback

Kyle Fenton from Parry Sound, Ont. says:
Hey, I just wanted to say I liked the coverage of Tim Horton's. Only thing is, as a Canadian, I notice when I drive down to the US, some food and coffee chains are a bit differen't. Not to defend Tim Hortons, but I do notice a difference when buying coffee where I live and where I stop in the states, where every that may be. Not to bring two random food chains into the plot, but for example, Wendys and Macdonalds are completely differen't tastes from Canada and U.S.A.

I will admit from time to time the coffee is a bit weaker then some competition but every morning this is the coffee I drink.

Anyways, I just wanted to say I liked the footage and how you do the taste tests, and even more how you just put the facts on the table. Great video!
July 20, 2009, 3:23 pm
Josh from Korea(really) says:
I must say that initial reaction from Gersh says it all. The end review was a little kind considering that Vince's "Boston Cream" had no cream. I also agree that the coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is pretty potent.

Anyway, great video and thanks for taking the taste test for the rest of us, now we no not to waste our time.
July 20, 2009, 11:44 pm
DonutGuy from So Brooklyn says:
I experienced Horton's in Canada; didn't like it.
Tried the Manhattan & Brooklyn version. It's no better - lousy bagels, too-heavy and not-fresh-tasting baked goods.

Much prefer DD - better coffee/doughnuts, smaller but more reliable menu, and doesn't try to be all foods to all people.
July 22, 2009, 2:22 am
Nancy from Ontario, Canada says:
I am glad to see that people are embracing one of our favorite's here in Canada. However, I would like to point out that some stores are still continuing to make there donuts fresh. I haev a family member that works at a restaurant and that is her job.
Aug. 17, 2009, 4:03 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:
Check out the sites and and see what this company is all about. A group of current and former franchisees have formed and are bringing this story public.
June 10, 2010, 11:44 am

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