In all the pretend cultural battles between the East Coast and the West Coast, Dunkin' Donuts occupies a special spot. Eastern Seaboard people are constantly in the Dunkin' Donuts shops, eating bizarre lard-based concoctions such as the beloved "New Hampshire Turkey Snausage Cheese-Steak On a Heat-Pressed Chocolate-glazed White-Bread Sodium Bagel." It's the kind of food that makes Taco Bell look healthy in comparison. It's food for cops and the huge bellies they've earned from 25 years on the beat, taking crap from you people who don't show no respect for nothin', and eating in their patrol cars while listening to classic rock.
You know about the "airport beauty test," right? Fly to an American city and review the first 25 people you see. In Los Angeles, you see mostly attractive people of mostly indiscernible race. They wear yoga pants and sleek athletic shoes and periodically break into Vietnamese or Armenian or Farsi. They carry to-go Bento boxes of lobster taquitos aboard their flights to Vancouver or Oakland.
And then you get to JFK or Newark Airport, and there are Dunkin' Donuts kiosks with lines of people who just got off airplanes, and they're actually blocking the doors to get outside. They are so close to home, or at least an hour or two of transportation to home, and yet they stop to get a cup of this weak-ass coffee and a fried dough ball trucked in from a factory in Trenton or something, god knows.
This is the East Coast glamor the West Coast doesn't want. But it's coming: Dunkin' Donuts will open storefronts throughout Southern California this year, and they'll probably be concentrated in the existing fast-food slob zones of the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino) and the feeding stations that surround the region's larger freeway interchanges.
But here is a secret you won't learn about from the Lame Stream Media: There's already a Dunkin' Donuts in SoCal. It's on the Marine base, at Camp Pendleton. And as long as you don't "look terrorist," you can drive onto the base today—with proper license and insurance and registration—between San Diego and Los Angeles, and begin the hard work of completely clogging up your remaining functional arterial passages.
Photo by David Friedel.