Canton, Massachusetts based Dunkin' Donuts is returning to Ponce de Leon Avenue.
The doughnut and coffee eatery will soon erect a new roughly 2,100 square foot restaurant at the corner of Boulevard & Ponce de Leon Avenue. The building Dunkin' will replace has been operating as A+ Financial Services - Check Cashing for the past few years, although it was originally built as a Church's Chicken.
Dunkin' Donuts has been making a serious play at the intown Atlanta market with a new location on Monroe Drive and another on Howell Mill Road. On Piedmont Avenue at Rock Springs, Dunkin' replaced Cottage Ethiopian, which was earlier a Burger King restaurant. On Howell Mill, Dunkin' replaced a former KFC/Pizza Hut. In both cases, unlike the Ponce project, existing structures were converted to Dunkin' restaurants.
Dunkin' Donuts closed their freestanding Midtown Place location in 2011, where in its place, Starbucks opened their largest Atlanta area store last year. When built for Dunkin', the building also contained its then subsidiary, Togo's, a sandwich shop, and current partner brand, Baskin-Robbins. All indications are that the new location will have both a Dunkin' Donuts and a Baskin-Robbins.
Whereas the Midtown Place location was about 6 tenths of a mile from nearby Krispy Kreme, the new location will be a mere one tenth of a mile away. The Krispy Kreme on Ponce has been an intown landmark for many years, and its doughnut production viewing room is quite the treat, literally.
Dunkin' has drastically expanded their menu to include breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well a variety of non coffee related beverages. Krispy Kreme, on the other hand, is basically only coffee & doughnuts.
Oddly enough, Dunkin' become the third eatery in just the past few years to return to the area after closing an earlier location. IHOP opened a new restaurant on Ponce de Leon Avenue in 2010 after closing one of their classic A-frame restaurants on nearby North Avenue years earlier. Church's Chicken opened a new restaurant in place of a shuttered KFC on Ponce in 2011. Sadly the restaurant did not fare so well in its second attempt and closed this past December. I broke news earlier this year that a Zaxby's would open in its place. While on the surface the story seemed rather vanilla, it has become one of the top three most viewed stories on this site in its five year and 1000+ post history.
While there have been a number of openings in the area, none of them are really in line with the direction Ponce City Market is taking the neighborhood. The forthcoming project from Jamestown Properties aims to bring local shops and restaurants to the former Sears-Roebuck building next year.
What are your thoughts on Dunkin' Donuts returning to the intown area? Is development, development, no matter in what form it comes? What restaurants or shops would you like to see open in the Ponce / North Ave / Boulevard area?