ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — (Warning: “Breaking Bad” spoilers ahead!)
Lauren Greene swears the sweetener at The Grove Cafe & Market is safe.
After the way her EDo eatery factored into the final episode of “Breaking Bad,” it probably helps to make that clear.
The Grove served as the scene of a poisoning in the series finale of the acclaimed and wildly popular Albuquerque-set TV show. In the episode that aired last Sunday, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) laced a packet of stevia (a sugar substitute) with ricin, knowing that his former meth-ring business partner Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser) would sprinkle the spiked dose in her tea.
Greene said she wasn’t told exactly what the scene would entail when the crew filmed in her shop, only that it was “pivotal.” She admits the fictional poisoning gave her a brief moment of pause when she first saw it but said this week she has no misgivings about it.
“It’s Hollywood,” said Greene, who owns The Grove with her husband, Jason. “I thought (the scene) was just very appropriate. They were in a cafe and someone gets poisoned.
“I thought, ‘It was entertainment. It’s OK.’”
For the record, The Grove doesn’t offer stevia packets on each table as depicted in the show.
“It is available in the coffee bar,” Greene said, “but I promise there is no poison in them.”
“Breaking Bad” featured The Grove in three different episodes during its fifth and final season, and even identified it by name in the finale.
Greene — a fan of the show — said many members of the cast and crew became regular customers, and “they were always so professional and kind and gracious.”
Though “Breaking Bad” locations have become popular destinations for the show’s fans, Greene said she doesn’t anticipate any impact.
“I don’t think it’s going to change our business either way,” she said. “I just think it was a nice opportunity to be part of something that brought Albuquerque to the limelight. Albuquerque deserves that. I think it was just neat.”