First Dunkin' Donuts – Quincy, Massachusetts - Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

First Dunkin' Donuts

This small shop walked so America could run on Dunkin'. 

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Quincy, Massachusetts, is known as the “City of Presidents,” as it is the birthplace of two U.S. presidents: John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. The city was also the birthplace of John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence who was also the first governor of Massachusetts.

Formerly part of Dorchester, Boston, and Braintree, the town was named after John Quincy (Abigail Adams’s grandfather, for whom John Quincy Adams is named) and it became a city in 1888. It thrived in the granite, railway, and shipbuilding industries. Besides being the city where notable persons in the U.S. history were born, Quincy is also home to the first ever Dunkin’ Donuts in the country.

During World War II, William Rosenberg, a shipyard worker in Quincy, realized that there were not many options for him and his colleagues to have lunch nearby. He then borrowed $1,000 and used another $1,500 to start   “Industrial Luncheon Services” to satisfy workers’ lunch needs. The business sold sandwiches, coffee, doughnuts, and other snacks from a truck.

After noticing that 50 percent of the sales were coffee and doughnuts, he decided to concentrate on the most popular items in the menu. He established a new location at 543 Southern Artery, Quincy, named “Open Kettle.” This was the predecessor to Dunkin’ Donuts and sold only coffee and doughnuts for 10 cents and 5 cents respectively. The business was an instant success. Having noticed that customers dunked their donuts in the coffee, Rosenberg decided to change Open Kettle’s name to Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950, and the first Dunkin’ Donuts was born.

Today, the restaurant has a retro style to honor its origins. Inside there is plaque that reads “This is the site of the Original Dunkin’ Donuts” as well as original stool chairs in pink and orange colors, and tables with a doughnut shape. There is also a wooden wall with snapshots that tell the history of the first store.

While it might not be possible to enjoy a coffee and doughnuts at their original low price, you can enjoy them in a retro environment that’s considered a living museum by Quincy locals.