Before I moved to Boston for college in 2004, I had of course been to this iconic food establishment before. But in my house, we didn’t eat many donuts, if anything, we got bagels from the Wegmans freezer section, and if I wanted to go get coffee, it would usually be a sit down coffee shop like Java’s or The Spot.
But it all changed when I moved into my dorm room, which not only was smack in the middle of Boston, but there was a Dunkin Donuts at the bottom of the building. I lived on the eighth floor, and when I took the elevator down and walked down a flight of stairs, there was an entrance specifically for the Little Building into the DDs.
This place was my savior. No time to go to the DH for breakfast? Dunks. Afternoon coffee pick me up? Dunks. Late night ice cream? Dunks (because there was also a small Baskin Robbins there too).
What I didn’t really learn until I lived in Boston was that DDs is a long-revered legacy in New England. It was started in Massachusetts, and practically one on every block. My good friend Caitlin, who is from a town on the outskirts of Boston proper in Medford, has told me that in her town alone, there was a point where there were 15 DDs. 15 stores for a town that has a land area of about 8 miles! I think that’s a fair telling of how much people in New England love this place.
But if you have any qualms about the quality of this fast food establishment, I would like to bend your brain a bit. Yes they have good donuts. But what their real forte is is the coffee. The bevs in general really. Me? Medium French Vanilla with cream and sugar. In the summer, the iced version, which is what I dream of most days. Occasionally I’ll spring for the vanilla chai or hot chocolate. Dunkacinnos if I felt the need to splurge. DDs is so much more than donuts.
Bagels? Croissants? Sandwiches made from those items? Hash browns? There was a period of time where my friend Devin and I would drool over their waffle breakfast sandwich. Sounds disgusting but actually quite good.
So here’s the problem. I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2009, knowing full well that there are no DDs out here. The last time Meghan and I had DDs iced coffee on our road trip out to LA was the saddest.
Literally, we have to drive all the way to LAS VEGAS in order to go to Dunks (Yes, I’m aware there is one on Camp Pendelton, but ugh, security stuff). As much fun as that city is, it’s not as easy of a commute as it was going down and elevator and into a special side entrance at the Little Building.
When Bostonian transplants in LA try to tell natives here how amazing DDs is, they don’t understand. My aunt once said to me that there was one in Los Angeles. HA! Pray tell, where is this magical Dunks you speak of, because according to the 10 million times I’ve checked the restaurant locator on their website, it says there are none within a 50 mile radius of my zip code. And also, don’t try to tell me that Starbucks or Yum Yum donut shops (yes, that’s the real name) are the same. They’re absolutely not.
Even celebs who hail from Boston, like smokeshow/Captain America Chris Evans can’t resist it, and my boy John Krasinski has even lobbied for a Dunks here in Los Angeles (as for now, to no avail. Can’t believe his infectious charm didn’t work on the CEOs).
You know what the worst part is? It’s that the DDs advertisers thought it would a good idea to show their commercials here in California. Yeah, I get that they still sell packaged coffee in grocery stores, but when you’re showing me a :30 second advertisement of a cinnamon raisin bagel with your new cinnamon cream cheese, I literally find myself salivating over it. Not cool.
But alas, going home to the east coast means of course getting to see my friends and family, but it also means getting to drink a steaming hot cup of french vanilla coffee with cream and sugar. It always tastes that much better after not having it in a long time.
So I can use every cliche in the book, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’, ‘Good things come to those who wait’, ‘Patience is a virtue’, etc. etc. But one day, just maybe, I can use ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ in the way it’s really meant to be used.
UPDATE: AS OF JANUARY 16, 2013, DUNKIN DONUTS ANNOUNCED THEY ARE OFFICIALLY EXPANDING THE FRANCHISE INTO LOS ANGELES!! OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED!! IN 2015, I WILL BE HITTING UP EVERY SINGLE DDS IN THE SOCAL AREA, WHO WILL JOIN ME?!