BUCKTOWN — A man who was the face of Dunkin' Donuts inside a busy CTA "L" stop in Bucktown returned Monday to the same window he worked out of for eight years.
But he doesn't have any doughnuts to sell commuters from behind a bulletproof glass enclosure at the Western Blue Line "L" stop at 1900 N. Western Ave.
In fact, Liqat Sheikh said he never enjoyed doughnuts anyway "because of the sugar."
Sheikh, a friendly man who's been known to call his regular customers his "best friends," disappeared when the franchise abruptly closed its Western Blue Line outpost inside the station at the end of last year.
For nearly eight months, an aluminum door covered the small stand until Monday, when Sheikh reappeared with a new venture he's calling Western L Newsstand.
The newsstand offers a variety of candy, chips, nuts, juices and fresh brewed coffee, and while the coffee is poured from a glass coffee pot bearing the Dunkin' Donuts logo, Sheikh said that he is using a different brand of coffee.
The candy at at the newsstand is displayed on trays where doughnuts used to be. And while the Dunkin' Donuts awning is still present, Sheikh said he plans to remove the awning and hopes to begin selling Tribune and Sun-Times newspapers within the next few days.
"It's only the first day [in business]," Sheikh said Monday afternoon.
Sheikh said he didn't want to talk about Dunkin' Donuts and could not offer any information about why it closed on Dec. 30, 2012.
Representatives from Dunkin' Donuts were unable to be reached early Tuesday.
David Morin, a Logan Square resident and occasional commuter at the "L" station, said he's "not a big doughnut eater" but wondered what happened to the Dunkin' Donuts when he stopped in a few months ago.
"I love Dunkin' Donuts coffee and would go there early in the morning. I missed it," Morin said.
Sheikh said he took some time off to travel to visit family in Pakistan after Dunkin' Donuts closed, and he's "glad to be back working."
Though the CTA recently announced several new contracts for vendors inside various "L" stations, including "Cafe Transit" at the Damen Blue Line "L" station, the new newsstand at the Western Blue Line "L" did not appear to be one of them.
CTA officials were not immediately available for comment about the newsstand.