Glutengate! Jennifer Esposito Accuses The Bean of Fudging Facts

Jennifer's WayScott Lynch Jennifer’s Way

Just a couple of days after opening her gluten-free bakery, Jennifer Esposito is locking horns with one of her new neighbors and accusing The Bean of intending “to harm people and make their insides twist and turn” by serving up half-baked information about its gluten-free products.

On her blog earlier today, the actress-turned-baker, who suffers from celiac disease, told the story of Rick, a friend with a gluten allergy who “walked into a Coffee House called THE BEAN (yes damn right I’m calling you out)” and asked for information about the shop’s gluten-free muffins. The following exchange occurred, according to Ms. Esposito.

RICK: Are they made in a gluten free area?
THE BEAN CLERK: Yes they come from that gluten free bakery across town.
(Where they serve gluten free products loaded with awful ingredients.)
RICK: I also see you have a bagel that’s labeled gluten free. Is that made in a gluten free facility?
THE BEAN CLERK: Yes. It’s made in that same gluten free bakery across town.
(“WRONG,” Rick thought. That GFree bakery does NOT make gluten free bagels, nothing even remotely close.)
RICK: I happen to know for a fact that bakery does not make gluten free bagels.
THE BEAN CLERK: No they do but don’t worry just take it for free.

The BeanDaniel Maurer

After Rick took a few bites of the bagel, wrote Ms. Esposito, it became apparent it was “obviously NOT gluten free”: “Lets just say this, my dear friend had to leave me five times to go be terribly sick throughout the day. Only then to feel fluish the next day and mad as hell.”

After one of Ms. Esposito’s 22,062 followers told The Bean “shame on you” on Twitter, the coffee shop tweeted back, “This did not happen and never will at @thebeannyc, we are extremely sensitive to people with celiac disease.”

But Ms. Esposito stuck to her guns, tweeting: “yes it most certainly did. I will happy to come to your store with my friends anytime. Speak to your employee.”

Reached for comment, Ike Escava, an owner of The Bean, told The Local that The Bean doesn’t serve gluten-free bagels, and its muffins come from an East Village neighbor, not a “bakery across town” as Ms. Esposito said her employee was told. “We’re getting our muffins from Tu Lu’s Bakery. They’re definitely a gluten-free bakery and they’re respected,” he said. “I don’t know where these accusations are coming from.”

A counterperson at the First Avenue location of The Bean confirmed that it does not sell gluten-free bagels.

THE_BEAN_NYTLEV_014Noah Fecks Muffins at The Bean.

Mr. Escava said he would be eager to meet with Ms. Esposito. “I would definitely want to set the record straight,” he said.

And it sounds like Ms. Esposito is also eager to meet. “I would like to ask The Bean if that $1.50 that Rick paid for the coffee and the wrong information was worth it,” she wrote. “To harm people and make their insides twist and turn. I would like to think this isn’t an unkind world were people don’t care and are looking to just cash-in on our disease and misfortune, but it’s getting hard to think this is just ignorance at this point.”

More on Glutengate as it unfolds.