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Bed-Stuy Coffee Bar Braces for New Dunkin' Donuts Next Door

By Sonja Sharp | October 4, 2012 7:29am

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — There's a coffee battle brewing in Bed-Stuy, one that pits locally roasted, single origin pour-over joe against the "Dunkaccino."

Java giant Dunkin' Donuts is currently renovating a former chicken joint at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Fulton Street, mere inches from the boutique coffeehouse Daily Press.

But what really has the chain's cappuccino competition steamed is that both storefronts are owned by the same landlord.

"On a personal level, I’m extremely disappointed," said Daily Press owner Michael Zawacki, whose next nearest competitor was a bodega with a Mr. Coffee when he opened 18 months ago. While the cozy cafe attracts its share of chatty locals and laptop lingerers, its location just steps from the A and C trains helps maintain a steady morning rush of nearly 200 patrons, many of whom it could lose to the mega-chain.

"To be realistic, I'll go there occasionally," said Daily Press regular Simon Goetz, 34, of the new Dunkin' Donuts. "People who come in here go there too, but for a different reason. They're going for a quick sugar fix and a caffeine fix on the way to the train."

Dunkin' Donuts did not respond to a call for comment, but building landlord Rueven Salman said there's no reason two coffee spots so close to each other can't be a good thing.

"Competition is better for everybody," Salman said. "Have you ever been to 47th Street, the Diamond District? They're located one on top of the other.They all compete, but there's enough room for everybody."

If anything, Daily Press regulars said, the contrast should highlight what's kept them coming back since last April — the coffee.

"Dunkin' Donuts doesn't have single-origin coffee. We take our coffee really seriously — that’s our bread and butter," Zawacki said, speaking of his cafe's specialty beans. "The real focus is on quality espresso beverages and coffee beverages."

Whether it's the local trivia printed on the side of their cups or the tables constructed from pallets in the back yard, the Daily Press team is convinced it's giving customers an experience the competition just can't match.

"We have a notebook where we write little buzzwords about each person — 'Jason: small coffee, works in the circus,'" said manager Ashley Rodriguez. "We know almost everyone who comes in."