|All photos by Nicole Danna|
|The country's only Dunkin' Diner still features its original sign.|
Now here is something you don't see every day: a fresh egg being cracked and cooked at Dunkin' Donuts. But you could see it every day if you happen to live near the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant just south of Palm Beach Gardens in Lake Park.
This Dunkin' Donuts location isn't like any you've ever seen -- or will see -- in the country. Originally opened in October of 1962, this diner-like location is truly a one-of-a-kind, a restaurant-style, full-service Dunkin' Donuts featuring 11 banquet booths and a six-seat retro diner counter where you can order from a hand-held, laminated diner menu.
According to restaurant's current owner Dan Bowers, the site was originally opened by Dunkin' Donuts founder Bill Rosenburg, who opened the first five Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Massachusetts in the early 1960s. At the time, fast food wasn't as popular as it is today, and the fledgling company was developing ideas for how to expand the Dunkin' Donuts brand nationwide.
The Lake Park location -- which is thought to be the first Dunkin' Donuts in Florida -- was one of several diner-style restaurants the company opened across the country in the late 60s and early 70s. Today, it remains the only one of its kind in operation.
What makes this Dunkin' diner location different than any other Dunkin' Donuts? A full-service menu, for one. Although the original building was remodeled in early 2005 to accommodate a drive-thru window offering the brand's standard menu offerings we all know and love, this particular location also features a unique sit-down diner counter with retro-style stools and booths.
Here, patrons can stop in any time of day to order off a four-page diner menu offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options. There is even a small waitstaff dedicated to taking table orders, while additional employees man the standard walk-up counter where you can purchase any of the usual donuts, bagels and bacon and egg sandwiches from the menu offered at all nationwide locations. No bags or plastic forks here, servers will deliver your beverage in a glass or ceramic mug, while food is delivered with real silverware.
Most importantly, the food preparation is the real-deal. An open kitchen behind the seated counter gives patrons a glimpse of the restaurant's griddle, where everything from eggs, pancakes and burgers are cooked up fresh to order. It's also extremely affordable: nothing on the menu is over $10, and there's even a kid's menu.
For breakfast you'll find many of the same options you'd order at a traditional diner, including biscuits and gravy, 3-egg omelets, pancakes and French toast ($3.99 - $7.99). There's even a New York-style steak and eggs which -- at $9.99 -- makes it the most pricey menu item. One thing you may not find anywhere else, however, is the Dunkin' Diner breakfast hash browns, a platter of cheese and onion-smothered hash browns made to your specifications.
For lunch and dinner there's more to come: chili cheese fries, gravy fries and wings for starters, and burgers, sandwiches and melts for the main course ($2.99 - $7.99). There's also several premium hot dogs that include the White Hot, a grilled bratwurst with chili and onions ($2.99 - $3.49), and diner "specials" that feature fish and grits.
There is one thing the menu is missing, however: dessert. Guess you'll just have to settle for a donut.