When Peter Ungaro was asked by the New York Daily News about his plan to replace Leonardo's Brick Oven Pizza with a Dunkin Donuts (DD), he made it clear that it would not be "your typical Dunkin design." Ungaro was going to great lengths to give this DD a "brownstone look," and ensure that it fit nicely into the surrounding neighborhood aesthetic.
Located at 383 Court Street in the largely Italian Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Leonardo's was praised by local pizza lovers. The news that a DD would be moving in came as a shock to many Brooklynites as Carroll Gardens has, for the most part, avoided the infiltration of corporate chain establishments. The news has stirred a great deal of cyber-debate, with related stories appearing on numerous sites including A Brooklyn Life, Brownstoner, and the New York Daily News. While the general consensus seems to be heavily anti-DD, our corporate disdain can be partially lessened by a report that Ungaro may actually be a relative of the Leonardo's owners (it should be noted that Blognut has not investigated the validity of this claim).
Blognut arrives at DD at 11:30 AM Sunday morning - we nearly mistake it for a brownstone.
As far as DDs go, this one is especially nice - almost cozy. We opt not to purchase any Nuts since we've just finished breakfast at one of our favorite Brooklyn breakfast spots down the street, the Brooklyn Bread Cafe (who, unfortunately, do not serve Nuts). We instead stare dumbly at the exterior trying to decide how we feel about the new DD presence on Court Street. We wander over to a nearby antique store where we overhear a wonderful conversation on the matter:
Cashier to cup-toting customer - "Where'd you get that coffee?"
Customer - "The Fall Cafe, on Smith Street."
Cashier - "They've got good coffee down there. You know who else has good coffee? ...Dunkin Donuts."
Customer - "You been to the new one across the street yet?"
Cashier - "Yeah - a couple times - you?"
Customer - "Nope - I had a bad experience at the Dunkin Donuts down on Fulton while the wife and I were shopping the other day. She says she's going to Lane Bryant, so I decide to pop in and get a cinnamon bun. I get the bun and it's hard as a rock - I couldn't believe it. Then the lady over-charges me by 30 cents! Turned me off to Dunkin Donuts - but I hear this one's owned by a couple of Italian Americans, so it's probably OK."
Blognut has mixed feelings. While we understand that DD often serves up delicious Nuts, and we prefer them to most Pop-nuts, it's a shame to walk down Court past the hanging salamis and numerous slice-dealers only to find those visually-aggressive orange and purple letters that we normally find so comforting. I guess we can put up with one Pop-nut dealer in our neighborhood, but let's leave it at that. Ungaro apparently has plans to open another DD on nearby Smith Street, with possible plans for a third in the area as well. One cannot help but be concerned for the future of mom-and-pop Nuts in Brooklyn.