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Sep 23, 2007 09:15 AM

Dunkin' Donuts Monopoly?

Hi Folks,
We just moved to Oak Park, which is a suburb of Chicago. We came from Los Angeles where most donut shops were mom and pop places. -Couldn't help but notice that here in Oak Park and Chicago, the donut market is completely dominated by Dunkin' Donuts. Why is that? Is it a mob thing? Is it like that in your town?

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  1. We have it all over in NJ as well. Got to keep the cops happy! :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: wench31

      In New England, Dunkin Donuts is a unit of measure. Directions are: "I'm 5 Dunkin Donuts down the road." ;-)

      Where I live, the Mom & Pop donut shop is pretty much extinct or has been displaced by places that sell designer coffee drinks at triple the price. As a kid in the 60's the local village had a mom & pop place that was the social nerve center of the village. Fridays, they served Fish 'n Chips in newspaper. The owner was known around town as "Dickie Donuts". Today, that storefront is a realtor's office.

    2. Here in Las Vegas, the chains here are Winchells, or Krispy Kreme. (yuck!) We are FINALLY getting back Dunkin' Donuts after they left town around 10 years ago- the first one's due to open in the next couple of weeks. I can hardly wait!

      There are Mom and Pop shops around town, but not as many as LA. I saw on a TV show that LA has the most donut shops per mile than anywhere in the US!

      I miss the good donuts I used to get growing up in LA. We still have one of them, just 3 blocks from my family's house. The owner gets there at 2-3 am, makes some of the best donuts i've ever eaten. Wish Vegas had him, but i'm personally thrilled DD's is coming to town!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Honeychan

        What happened to Winchell's, anyway? I know they used to be popular at one time, but must be at least 20 years ago. Now they're a ghost on life support.

      2. I'm always looking for mom-and-pop donut places! I have a post over on the New England boards, attempting to find some places to try in Maine. I ate at small shop in Las Vegas last year (I think the name was Ronalds?). I recently found ABC Donuts in Ellensburg Washington - just wonderful (although they were from a mix, doughnuts were great!). Then, in Seattle, I found the Mighty-O and Top Pot doughnuts. I really, really seek out the non-Dunkin, non-Krispy Kreme donuts!

        7 Replies
        1. re: wintersummer

          I am in New Haven, there are 8 Dunkin Donuts within a mile. I read that Tim Horton's is making a move into the US from Canada. They make much better dounuts

          1. re: mmalmad

            I totally agree, mmalmad! Tim Horton's is THE BEST, I became addicted to them when I visited Toronto a few years back. Really yummy, good quality...Plus, they make great donute holes, AKA TimBits. Love that name! I really hope TH's moves to the southwest, but I really doubt it. I heard reports they had a few shops in the upstate NY, and Minnesota areas..Fingers crossed, the rest of the US will learn of the wonder of Timmy's!

            1. re: Honeychan

              By "Minnesota area" if you mean Canada, you would be correct.

              The closest Tim Hortons to MN is just across the border from International Falls in Fort Frances, Ontario.

              Minnesota has an outpost or two of Krispy Kreme but no Dunkin Donuts. It's really tough to get a good donut in MSP.

              Honeychan, it's funny to hear you pining for good donuts in Vegas. Have you gotten in to Ronald's yet? Old Fashioned are my donut of choice and their Old Fashioned are world class. Everything else I tried there was very, very good and the owners are very nice people.

              1. re: MSPD

                It's funny you mention Ronalds donuts here in Vegas, MSPD! I live on the opposite side of town from them, and the couple of times i've made it over there, they are CLOSED!!! I feel like kicking on the locked door, I'm feeling so angry at myself! They seem to close around 4pm, it seems- and i'm a serious night-owl. I get off of work at 11pm, and I have my own Mom n Pop donut place close to home, and so far, I really love what they make. If Ronalds were open later, or I could wake up earlier and drive over to them..I'm not sure when I will finally get to try them. I've heard only great things about them, too. *fingers crossed* Hopefully, I'll get to finally try 'em.

                1. re: Honeychan

                  Yes, they are definitely worth the effort in my opinion. My impression was that you need to get there within a couple hours of opening time to ensure a good selection but that seems to be my experience with any fine purveyor of bakery stuff. It's probably a good thing that nobody in MSP does an Old Fashioned like Ronalds -- I'd be a whale.

              2. re: Honeychan

                Tim's was partially owned by Wendy's, and they are slowly extending into the US, letting "viral marketing" build their buzz. Too many Canadian firms have tried to do a giant push into the US, and been stung. (Sorta like Krispy Kreme's move into Canada; for about a year, they were very popular, then suddenly, not so much.) There are now Tim's in Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Maine to my knowledge (don't know about New Hampshire).

                The other thing about Tim's is that they have morphed from strictly a doughnut/coffee joint into a quick serve restaurant that offers slightly healthier options than burger/chicken spots. For example, they offer freshly made sandwiches like egg or chicken salad, BLT, etc., soups, chili, bagels. Nothing at Tim's is batter dipped or deep-fried (well, besides the doughnuts). Parents on my 13-yr old daughter's soccer team would always say during tournaments, "Well, let's take the girls to Tim's" - they would never suggest McD's or BK, even if those were closer. As a parent, you don't feel that you forcing your child to eat bad food options. It is more expensive than the burger chains, though.

                Tim's other interesting strategy is to rotate specific treats for the time of year. Right now, they are offering pumpkin tarts and treats; during the spring, it's maple danish; in the summer, they offer six different flavours of iced cappucino.

              3. re: mmalmad

                TiHo's has been in Michigan for years, I think they first started showing up about 8-9 years ago. Heck, we get Canadian TV (Hockey Nite in Canada, eh?) so we already had seen them advertised!

                Wendy's had bought them and dualled their stores with TiHo's for a few years, but Wendy's resold them about a year ago, I believe. They make a fine donut and many of them are open 24/7.

            2. Dunkin Donuts has a firm grip on the Greater Boston area, although there are a few family owned donut shops that survive by turning out a far superior product and maintain a loyal customer base.

              1. I travel to LA occasionally and I'm always impressed with the endless number of donut shops. I'm amazed chains haven't ruined the LA donut scene like here in Chicago. I believe that Chicago is the norm and only a few select other cities have great donuts. If I were starting my own business I would open a donut shop in Chicago in an effort to to rid our great city of Dunkin Donuts.