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With 260 Dunkin’ Donuts in the Boston area (15 in Logan Airport alone), you can’t glaze over one fact: The Hub really does “run on Dunkin’.” And while the area’s most ubiquitous local chain may not crack our lists of the best coffee shops in Boston or best donut shops in Boston, we're always quick to do a “Dunks run” whenever the urge strikes. For the uninitiated, Dunkin’ may not seem as interesting or compelling as a modern, new-school coffee shop, but there’s a lot to know about this local success story. Consider these dozen bites your “runner’s guide” to understanding New England’s iconic caffeine and sweet treat addiction:
1. What began as Open Kettle by founder William Rosenberg in 1948 was renamed to Dunkin’ Donuts two years later. It dropped the “Donuts” and was officially rebranded as simply Dunkin’ in January 2019.
2. Ahead of the 2019 Boston Marathon, Dunks diehards ran to buy the limited edition Kinvara 10—a Saucony collab that yielded a strawberry frosted donut-themed running shoe with heels covered in rainbow sprinkles.
3. Order like a local and ask for a “coffee regular.” New England culture dictates this is coffee with cream and sugar—two of each for a small size, three for a medium, and so on.
4. Or have some fun. There are more than 25,000 ways to order coffee at Dunkin’, if you know the secret combos. Try a Hazelnut Mocha Iced Latte (mocha flavor swirl and a hazelnut flavor shot into iced coffee), Toasted French Vanilla Latte (French vanilla and toasted almond flavor shots added to an iced latte with almond milk) or the Chocolate Covered Raspberry Hot Chocolate (classic hot chocolate with a raspberry flavor shot).
5. You can still have Dunks on hand even after you finish your coffee with Dunkin’ x Lauren B. Beauty nail colors (we see you, latte-inspired Caramel Craze) or its Munchkin lip balm.
6. Dunkin’ sells more than 3.1 million donuts and Munchkin donut holes globally each year. Washing it all down? Thirty cups of coffee every second.
7. Out of the 70 donuts varieties, the most photographed are the Strawberry Frosted and Vanilla Frosted.
8. The original Dunkin’ in Quincy opened in 1950 and was retrofitted in 2011 to the nostalgia and charm of its original design—complete with a script logo and a wall of historic black and white photos.
9. Not all Dunks are dressed in orange and pink. With its ‘30s chevron motif, polished marble and geometrics, the Dunkin’ at 230 Congress St in Boston’s Financial District is housed in one of the city’s last remaining Art Deco structures, according to the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
10. Just a mile from the original location (543 Southern Artery, Quincy), Dunkin’s first full version Next Gen store (588 Washington St, Quincy) opened in 2018. The 2,200-square foot concept shop boasts the first drive-thru exclusively for mobile ordering, fully integrated digital kiosks, and a tap system that pumps out eight different super cold bevvies, including nitro cold brew.
11. Locals are known to protect their iced coffee (yes, we still drink it all winter) by layering it in Styrofoam cups to keep it cold. However, Dunkin’ has vowed to get rid of those eco-unfriendly containers by 2020. Instead they’ll have to keep it cool (or hot) with a double-walled paper cup.
12. Nitro Coffee is cold brew infused with nitrogen for a bold taste with a creamy head. The Insta-worthy cascading visual resembles a Guinness draft pour – perfect for those responsible day drinking feeds. (Nitro is currently only available at the Next Gen shop on tap.)