There’s a few things coming up that I’m extremely excited about, but for now I want to update the ol’ blog with something I am only reasonably excited about: Dunkin Donuts is coming to the greater Los Angeles area, AND it’s already ahead of schedule. I think it’s kinda whack that the first few locations all fall outside of the city and pretty far from my neighborhood, but what the heck, I’m sure it won’t take long to have a local Dunkin at my disposal. Once transplanted Yale grads having to journey to South Central for their fix becomes a concern, they’ll already have one in the works on every block.
Growing up in NE Ohio, I was never a big Dunkin Donuts fan. Or at least I didn’t know I was. We only had a handful, and they were too spread out compared to the availability of Starbucks. There wasn’t even one at-or-near Kent State until after I graduated. No, it wasn’t until I went to NYC for summer session and there was a Dunkin on every corner that I realized it was the best go-to place for coffee. Starbucks was exposed as kind of a bitter, overpriced, over-sweetened farce (Of course Starbucks isn’t that bad, but you get the point). It might not be flashy…but Dunkin Donuts coffee is affordable, consistent and very strong. For these and many more reasons, Dunkin is the Duncan of coffee
So I welcome Dunkin Donuts and hope for it to be a part of my morning commute in the next year or so, but more importantly, it got me thinking of some NE Ohio/Midwest-centric exports I’d welcome. Here are some old-fashioned Power Rankings.
5. Taco Tantos
There’s plenty of great Mexican food constantly available in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, but Taco Tantos in Kent always put an interesting spin on the classic burrito that I think would be a big hit here. It’s nowhere close to authentic, unless “authentic” means your “Mexican” food tasting like a Broken Bells album sounds, but they pull off some very unique food for a great price. Simply read the Yelp reviews and you’ll realize Taco Tantos would be a great fit in any gentrified neighborhood. http://www.yelp.com/biz/taco-tontos-kent.
Akron native Lebron’s favorite local burger chain. It’s drive-in style fast food that is literally FAST -they hire young, fit, unseasonably tanned dudes to run to your car and take your order/bring you the food once it’s done. I’m not guaranteeing that bringing Swenson’s here would lure ‘Bron to the Lakers, but it wouldn’t hurt. Plus, if that doesn’t work out, one of Swenson’s quick footed, fit waiter boyz could easily run point for the purple and gold.
3. The Cleveland Browns
Anytime I go out in my throwback Browns sweatshirt it starts a conversation. Believe it or not, it’s usually very positive. One of Hollywood’s best bars (St. Felix) is already a Browns Backers bar. Johnny Manziel would be closer to the parties at Drake’s house in the hills. The fact that the second largest market in the country doesn’t currently have an NFL team is pretty ridiculous, but I hope the Browns stay put, step it up in Cleveland and give the fans something to be proud of in Cleveland and nation wide. Plus, I think it’d be better if New York just gave Los Angeles The Jets. It would definitely be funnier.
2. Guy’s Pizza
There’s NY style pizza, there’s Chicago style pizza, and there’s Guy’s Pizza which is in its own zone. I don’t know if it’s the sauce, the cheese, or memories of post-Zephyr bar visits that make Guy’s so special to me and countless other NE Ohio natives (actually I think it’s definitely the sauce) but you just can’t duplicate it. The small chain is superior to 99% of the pizza I’ve had in Los Angeles, which, to be fair, is not known for quality pizza (though the new, by-the-slice place on York blvd holds its own). Plus, I’m a bit partial because Guy’s was started by a group of cool Garrettsvillians so I’d love to see the #Guys #brand go national and eventually global (sorry, I mean #global. Looks way better with the hashtag). Guy’s Pizza is a great local business story and an incredible piece of pizza you have to root for.
Thiswas a no-brainer as #1. I always explain Sheetz to those not in-the-knowz as “7-Eleven but with gas and "made to order" food" with namez that end in "z". What "made to order" entails is a huge menu of sandwiches, salads, finger foods, coffees, burritos, chili, hot dogs, and SO much more that you order from a touchscreen menu. The food is prepared for you while you finish pumping gas or gathering other goodz…and most of the food is pretty awesome. Sheetz would be unstoppable off freeway exits up and down Southern California, amongst the chaos of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, and it would be a breathtaking site to see the red glow of several Sheetzs (Plural of Sheetz?) while overlooking the San Fernando Valley at night. The thought honestly gets me kinda choked up. Speaking of choked up, people in Southern California love being stoned, and Sheetz was invented to be in while stoned. Especially at 2AM.