Dreaming of Chocoylatte in Cos Cob as Lawsuits Drag On

Many have noticed the building at at 121 E Putnam Ave in Cos Cob – previously home to Chocoylatte Gourmet – has sat empty since the night of February 6, 2020 when the driver of a Ford Taurus crashed into the European style cafe and bakery.

The building had been fixed up since it previously housed Commuter Cleaners, and had only just opened in July 2019.

With its flowing chocolate fountain, Chocoylatte had quickly gained popularity.

The building had only just sold a week earlier from Bar N Brand, LLC to KRM Realty LLC on Feb 5, 2020 for $1,100,000.

The crash resulted in the death of the driver, Andrew Miller, 47, of Bridgeport, who was the sole occupant of the car that police said had been traveling east when it left the right side of the roadway and impacted a tree and utility wires before colliding with the commercial building. Fortunately the building was unoccupied at the time.

Greenwich building inspectors examined the building and declared it unsafe, given the considerable structural damage.

At the time, owner Kelly Dantas vowed in a post on Facebook to work hard to rebuild.

But unfortunately the building sat empty for four years, and was only recently demolished.

Red strike through the “Chocoylatte” sign is all that remains of the European style bakery and café at 121 E Putnam Ave, Cos Cob. July 4, 2024 Photo: Leslie Yager

Contributed photo of Chocoylatte in Feb 2020 after a car crashed into it

Tire marks from where a car hit a tree and utility lines before crashing into Chocoylatte in February 2020. Contributed photo

What is going on?

According to court records a lawsuit in State Superior Court from Sabel Adjusters, a public insurance adjusting firm, against Chocoylate and the building owner, KRM was initiated in early 2022.

Also, there is a counterclaim against Sabel by Chocoylatte and KRM.

Further, Chocoylatte and KRM are suing insurance companies Selective Insurance Company of South Caroline and Twin City Fire Insurance Company.

According to the Judicial branch website, upcoming court dates extend through April 2025.

While those cases drag on, right across the street a new apartment building at the site of the old Friendly’s was approved in 2020 and is nearing completion.

Residents had opposed the apartment building, which was proposed under the town’s 6-110 reg for moderate income (“workforce” housing,) but the town is in need of more housing overall, and especially workforce and affordable housing.

And while the building is much bigger than the former Friendly’s building it replaced, it is not physically bigger than the CVS building next door. It will have 22 apartments of which 5 units will be for tenants of moderate income. There will be retail space along the street.

At 100 East Putnam Ave in Cos Cob, across from the former Chocoylatte, an apartment building approved in 2020 is nearing completion. The three-story, 22-unit, mixed-use housing development was approved under Greenwich’s 6-110 moderate income housing regulation designed to incentivize “workforce” housing.  Photo: Leslie Yager

M&T Bank made its home in the former Friendly’s building in Cos Cob. Photo: Leslie Yager