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The history of Dunkin’

Sip on the story of Boston’s favorite coffee chain. ☕

Whether you call it Dunks, Dunkin' or something in between, we can agree this is Boston's biggest coffee spot. | Photo by BOStoday Intern Maddy

Whether you call it Dunks, Dunkin’ or something in between, we can agree this is Boston’s biggest coffee spot.

Photo by BOStoday team

The whole country may run on Dunkin’, but it’s no secret that we have a special tie to the coffee chain in our city.

As of October, there are 1107 locations across Massachusetts, and we’re willing to bet there’s a Dunkin’ within a mile of your home no matter which area you live in.

You likely already know a good deal about Boston’s go-to coffee spot, but you might be surprised by a fact or two about Dunkin’s history.

☕ Dunkin’ opened its first shop in Quincy in 1948, and the original location is still in operation today. Visit the birthplace of Munchkins and Coolattas at 543 Southern Artery in all its retro glory — horseshoe-shaped counter and all.

☕ The coffee company was founded by Dorchester native William Rosenberg. After seeing that most donut stores only sold four varieties, he decided to sell 52 types of donuts + offer customer seating with high quality coffee. Rosenberg passed away in 2002, and his legacy will always live on in Boston.

☕ Back when the chain first started, you could buy donuts for five cents and cups of coffee for 10 cents. At 99 cents, the donuts are still pretty affordable today.

☕ Back before it was Dunkin’ Donuts, the chain was called Open Kettle between 1948 and 1950. Now of course, the name is just Dunkin’ (as of 2018, in case you missed the memo).

☕ The 1961 mascot was a donut named Dunkie, but poor Dunkie was ultimately abandoned by the company. Now, the mascot is Cuppyyou guessed it, a large coffee cup who makes appearances at store openings and other company events.

☕ In 2001, the company purchased the naming rights for the former Providence Civic Center and renamed it the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The center is currently the home court for the Providence Friars men’s basketball team + the home rink for the Providence Bruins. You may hear some locals refer to the building as “The Dunk.”

“America Runs on Dunkin’,” which we’re sure you’ve heard before, officially became the slogan in 2006. The previous slogan was Sounds Good, Tastes Even Better.

The original location was renovated in 2011 to bring back the 50s vibe. | Photo by @danszetela

The original location was renovated in 2011 to bring back the 50s vibe. | Photo by @danszetela

Since we’re talking Dunkin’ history, we can’t glaze over a brief timeline of iconic Boston moments:

1984 | Greater Boston Dunkin’ employees are rocking adorable pink hats and serving up coffee (in real mugs) with style.

2016 | Saturday Night Live hosts a Dunkin’ skit — complete with Casey Affleck playing a customer named Donny proclaiming to be “the Mayor of Dunkin’” in a classic Boston accent.

2020 | Ben Affleck goes viral for wearing a Believe in Boston shirt while juggling a box of Munchkins + multiple Dunkin’ iced coffees.

2022 | Two Scituate locals stop for a quick interview on their way to find an open Dunkin’ during a bomb cyclone storm. We love our iced coffee too, but maybe not that much.

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