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There Is A Dunkin' Donuts In Santa Monica For Some Reason

The Santa Monica Dunkin' Donuts at 12th and Wilshire. (Greg Katz / LAist)
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What the hell is Dunkin’ Donuts doing in Santa Monica?

Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts is an east coast fast food institution—a place for cheap sugary coffee and “munchkins,” which is what they call donut holes for some reason. In New York City, there are more Dunkin’ Donuts than Starbuckses, we are told, and as of today, there is one in Santa Monica, more than a decade after the coffee chain shuttered its last California location.

Of course, this made LAist curious. There are a lot of coffee shops in Southern California. Not only are we saturated with Starbees, but we are also the birthplace of Coffee Bean. Plus we got tons of Peet’s. So yesterday we went down to the Dunkin’ Donuts at Wilshire and 12th to check on the fuss. By "fuss," we mean two-hour line. At least it wasn't as bad as the night before:

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If you’re from the east coast, like a lot of the first-day Dunkin' line-dwellers were, your first (and maybe only) question was, “Is it the same as the east coast stores?” So we brought our friend Matt from Boston to Dunkin’ with us. We put a vanilla iced coffee and a chocolate donut into his face. Matt’s review? “Mm, oh yeah,” he said with his mouth full.

Donuts and drinks from Dunkin' Donuts. (Greg Katz / LAist)
As for us, we’re not so sure.

Look: we tried the iced drinks. They are very sugary. We tried the donuts—doughy, not as buttery as local donut varietals. Verdict: straight up, we don't need Dunkin’ Donuts. And we kind of begrudge the east coast forcing it on us.

L.A. has seen an amazing race to the top when it comes to coffee. A rich and interesting coffee culture is one of the culinary arenas where L.A. is ahead of New York and most of the rest of the country—whether you like Intelligentsia or Lamill or Blue Bottle (RIP Handsome Roasters) or Fix or one of the other 500 spots here for a divine cup of coffee. There is so much to choose from—why import something cheap?

Only the finest coffee prep methods are used at Dunkin' Donuts. (Greg Katz / LAist)
OK, we understand that Dunkin’ is not trying to compete with the actual good coffee: the joe is priced as low as $1.45 in a styrofoam mug, there are animated LCD menu boards, this is a fast food place. But why do we need it? L.A. already has mom-n-pop donut shops on every other block, and the coffee and donuts are even cheaper there.

Don't even get us started on the irony of opening a fast food chain in Santa Monica, in spitting distance of 6,249 yoga studios and 29,543 juice bars. We want to stay focused on how we don't need Dunkin’ Donuts. And we don't—even though California will be getting another 200 of them in the next few years, if all goes according to plan.

Conclusion: Not only are we bummed that Dunkin’ is moving into L.A.—we are also bummed that they ran out of munchkins by the time we got there. :(

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