Kirbie's Cravings

Dunkin’ Donuts San Diego

The first Dunkin’ Donuts opened in San Diego last Monday (it’s technically the second since there is a location in Camp Pendleton, but that one is not open to the public), with people lining up hours before its 6 a.m. opening. The crowds have not yet subsided.

Such a craze over Dunkin’ Donuts might seem inconceivable to those living on the East Coast where Dunkin’ Donuts are prolific. But for those of us living in California, it’s been a long, long wait. After years of pleading for Dunkin’ Donuts to make its way back to California, last year, Dunkin’ Donuts finally announced its plans to do so. The timing seems right as the donut scene has greatly picked up in the last few years.

Dunkin’ Donuts has plans to open 45 locations in 2015, but San Diego got an early start with a Dunkin’ Donuts opening inside the Embassy Suites downtown. There’s no missing the store-front, with the oversized banners and large crowd of customers. It’s actually a combo store of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, but the Baskin Robbins portion has been pretty much ignored.

I grew up in New York and while I visited DD often, I never gave too much thought to them. I liked the donuts but wasn’t overly impressed with them. I think its popularity stems largely from its convenience and availability. It’s a place to grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich on the way to work, or a place to stop in for an afternoon donut pick-me-up. The selection is plentiful all day, unlike many donut shops in San Diego who run out early and close before nighttime.

And of course, there are those munchkins. The adorably named donut holes in a multitude of flavors were a staple at every birthday party, classroom celebration and more when I was growing up.

It wasn’t until I left New York and moved to California that I began to fully appreciate DD, now that it was no longer around. I’ve missed it tremendously over the years, especially the munkins. The DD coffee commercials are particularly torturous.

I introduced Dunkin’ Donuts to Mr. K during our trip to Boston last year and apparently I created a monster. Last Monday he heard about the Dunkin’ Donuts opening from his co-workers and demanded to know why I hadn’t told him first. So this weekend, we found ourselves in the crazy long line.

While waiting, we kept seeing ads for their new Eggs Benedict Sandwich. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out until we were at the counter that they were not available because they didn’t have the English muffins.

Donuts are priced at 99 cents. I like that they don’t charge extra for “specialty” donuts, a practice that is common amongst other donut shops in San Diego. It’s cheaper to get half a dozen ($5.39), and even cheaper to get a full dozen ($8.99).

We got a box with half a dozen: bowtie, blueberry, glazed, Boston cream pie, Mint Cookie and Cream, and Old Fashioned Glazed.

With the high demand resulting in a constant replenishing of the supply, the donuts were incredibly fresh. The glazed was fluffier than I remembered. I also really enjoyed the blueberry cake one, which had a melt-in-your-mouth softness.

I couldn’t remember how I felt about the filled donuts so we got two. Unfortunately, we didn’t care for either one. The Mint Cookies and Cream was filled with a sickeningly sweet frosting. It also barely had any filling. I ate an entire half without finding any. I didn’t bother with the Boston cream pie after tasting the mint cream but Mr. K reported that the filling was just as strange tasting.

We also got an assorted box of munchkins.

I had been looking forward most to the munchkins, something I’ve missed desperately since moving to California. I was disappointed to learn they only had four flavors available (blueberry, glazed, chocolate with sugar, chocolate with sprinkles). Usually DD offers 9-10 different flavors. Hopefully more variety will come after the store settles in.

We also ordered the Irish Cream Ice Coffee

The coffee was mixed with three creamers– much too sweet for me. I do enjoy DD’s coffee in general, but next time I’ll get a less sweet one.

We got our DD fill for a while. I’m not willing to wait in those long lines again, but I do want to come back once things calm down.

Dunkin’ Donuts
601 Pacific Highway (at the Embassy Suites Hotel)
San Diego, CA 92101

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23 comments on “Dunkin’ Donuts San Diego”

  1. Hi, new to the blog. I didn’t see anywhere in the content or comments that it’s the coffee that people are crazy over, not the donuts. It’s the best cup of coffee I have ever had. My buddy hayes the donuts, but he’ll drive 45 mins from San Marcos for their fabulous joe.

  2. Haha, we’re late to the party but at least there were no hellaciously long lines today! We just got two, the blueberry and the mint oreo, which did have a wierd taste. the blueberry was a little too soft, but I liked it better than toothpaste flavored mint donut.

    • lucky you, no line! I actually like how soft the blueberry is, but I guess it’s just personal preference. I agree the mint one was meh.

  3. ok I will make sure to set aside some munchkins and see if te blueberry and choco ones stay moist in comparison to the rest.

  4. I went on Saturday at 6:50 am thinking that there wouldn’t be a line, but I was wrong. It wasn’t a long line, but I thought it took a long time to get through the 10 people ahead of me. It probably wasn’t but just felt that way since I had to be somewhere at 7:30. Anyway, I got out of there at 7:10 so maybe it wasn’t so bad. I ordered a dozen, including 4 Boston Creams. I had one Boston Cream, which was all I had before a 10 mile run between Harbor Island and Shelter Island. The rest of the donuts went to some of the East Coast transplants in my running group, who very much appreciated taking all of those calories off my hands.

    • How nice of you to share! At least you didn’t have to wait too long. The line once inside took the longest since people were deciding what they wanted.

  5. I’ll be in New England in a couple of weeks, so I will get my fill of Dunkin Donuts there instead of waiting in the line here 🙂

  6. We just got back from South Carolina, where we’re from, and DD’s are pretty plentiful. The 4 varieties of munchkins you got seem to be the standards now. DD’s are either very good, or very…well, not. The best was from one managed by a friend who’s super picky about her shop, the worst was from one in Mississippi (they were gummy and gross). However, the advantage of a large chain is that they can afford experimentation. According to my nephew, the gluten-free offerings at DD’s are pretty good (he’s 8, and eats everything, so take that with a grain of salt).

    • Hmm, so they don’t make more flavors anymore? I have heard that the quality does really vary from location to location. I think usually the busier ones are better too since the donuts are fresher

  7. Thanks for waiting in that huge line to try them out! What do you think of DD compared to the local shops like Donut Touch?

    • I think they are pretty similar. I never felt that DD had amazing donuts. It’s pretty standard, but they are open much later with a pretty large selection even late into the evening. And they have munchkins. I did feel like the blueberry was better at DD than Donut Touch.

  8. Hubby and our 6 year old son braved the lines on opening day. We thought the donuts were okay, nothing special. But the other day, a friend of mine told me that the Sunny Donuts chain used to be Dunkin’ Donuts, and they sell a lot of the same donuts.

    • Yeah, the donuts def arent that special, which is why people on the East Coast were probably thinking SD folks are crazy. haha. Interesting about Sunny Donuts. I will have to look into that.

  9. what was your total line time ?
    i didnt even know they dry out since my greedy self and my greedy family we finish the box immediately. which munchkins are cake based?

  10. So crazy that Dunkin’ Donuts is not in CA at all since ~15-20 years ago we had Dunkin’ Donuts in Brazil (or at least in Sao Paulo). They didn’t have their own stores but they would sell them in the supermarket under a little Dunkin’ Donuts display. They were pretty pricey and convincing my Mom to buy one (usually the bavarian creme one) always felt like something really special. They closed after a while, probably around when our currency was 3 to 1 with the USD and everything American got very expensive…but will always have good memories of Dunkin’ Donuts 🙂

    • I know what you mean. When I was in Taiwan a few years back and I saw a few DD’s there and I was like “I can get DD in Taiwan and I can’t get it in CA???” haha.

  11. Jake and I almost went last week but ended up with other plans. I’m not sure if I want to wait in such a long line though, I might wait a bit until it dies down. I miss the munchkins, too! My favorite though were always the sour cream donuts.

    • I think I like their cake-based donuts more. The next day the glazed munchkins were a little dry but the cake ones stayed so soft. I would definitely wait. So we went and I hadn’t been planning on waiting more than 30 minutes. But we actually got their earlier than I had scheduled because my appt before finished fast and our next planned stop was lunch and it was too early for lunch, so we decided just to wait. And then once 30 minutes pass and you’re still in line, you feel like you’ve invested all this time…so we continued to wait. Lol. I was happy to get my fill but I’m definitely going to wait before my next visit. They are open until 9 so I wonder if it’s better to go late.

  12. what ? all this for DD?
    I’m glad you explained that DD isnt in cali(or is it just not in san diego?) because I dont get why the lines were so long if they werent having a special contest!

    You are so RIGHT about munchkins in schools.
    And now they are even more popular because schools no longer allow ANY foods from home due to fear of being sued if students get sick…so now everything has to be store bought. Also for nut and gluten and even chocolate allergies( I didnt knwo that existed). This sucks especially since you are a baker Kirbie.

    Im surprised that your prices are cheaper: 6/$5.39, 12/$8.99…I guess the DD here is a franchise not company store so the price is higher?

    Anyways, Im still feining for your treats. I’d be more than willing to go to a DD here and overnight express the munchkin flavor you want it to you in exchange for you doing the same. mrK is sooooo lucky.

    • DD isn’t in CA at all, with the exception of the one on the Camp Pendleton base and now the one in SD. But as of last year they plan on re-entering with 45 locations to open starting next year, but because this one is with Embassy Suites, it came a little sooner.

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