Going to Dunkin' Donuts in 1962, Phoenix, Arizona
It was a particularly beautiful morning today and I decided to go for a ride, with no particular place to go. I stopped for a coffee at Thunderbird Road and 83rd Avenue in Peoria, and since the Burger King was closed for remodeling, I went to Dunkin' Donuts across the street.
And as is typical of most of the places in Phoenix that have outdoor seating, even on a gorgeous day, with the temperatures in the seventies, most people were sitting inside. I suppose the people in there, if they noticed me, knew that I hadn't lived in Phoenix all of my life. I spent about a decade in Southern California, where I developed a taste for al fresco dining, and I sit outside every chance I get. So I had the outside all to myself, and as I sipped my coffee, the Musak blared into my ear, stopping every once in a while to do a commercial, which repeated so many times in the short period that I was there that it really was the main reason that I left. I heard, over and over, that Dunkin' Donuts began in 1950, and of course that got me thinking about whether I had a vintage pic of it in my collection, which I do, and is the one that was on McDowell and 14th Street in 1962. And I know that it was 1962 because there's a sign that says that across the street. Looks like it was the Christmas season, too.
As I look at the picture, and step into it, I'm surprised by the term "Coffee Bar". You don't see that term used anymore! But I'm not surprised by that thing below the sign, it's a telephone. I'm old enough to remember when that was the only way that you could make a phone call when you were out and about. Cost a dime.
I suppose back then if you went in there and asked for a coffee, they would hand it to you. Today the cashier took my money and just smiled at me, assuming that I knew that I was supposed to go pick it up on the other side of the room. These places get very crowded, and I understand that's the most efficient way to keep everything moving. I waited patiently for my coffee, and had to confirm with the person who had poured it that it was what I ordered. I couldn't help but think how ridiculous that would have been in 1962, when I would have just sat at a counter, and someone would walk over and put my coffee in front of me. I'm kinda thinking that I'd be called "hon", but maybe not.
I suppose in 1962 Dunkin' Donuts would have been considered fancy and flashy, as compared to the little "mom and pop" coffee shops. It was a chain restaurant, and chains, like McDonalds, were catching on. That 1962 picture up there looks quaint to us now, but I'm sure that when it was new a lot of old-timers wouldn't think of going to a place like that - they would stick with the coffee shops that had been there since before 1950.
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Posted by Brad Hall