(What used to be) Dunkin’ Donuts, Miami Beach, Florida

Sometime last month I noticed that the Dunkin’ Donuts by my house—16th Street and Alton Road on South Beach—had closed down. So I walked over and looked in the floor-to-ceiling window on the side. It was a scene from a snatched-by-aliens movie: metal donut baskets sat sparkling but empty. The glass-fronted refrigerator was packed with Cokes, juice cartons, Lipton ice teas, and water bottles. Two industrial coffeemakers, carafe bowls stained from years of juice, brooded over a pail of Equal packets. Powdered sugar dusted the floor behind the counter. I’d been a semiregular at this Dunkin’ on weekday mornings. Whenever I had time before rushing to work or just didn’t give a shit about being late, I’d go there for my coffee. Every so often I went to the Starbucks across the street, on the other corner, and felt disloyal. Dunkin’ Donuts is not a mom-and-pop, but I felt a kind of loyalty to this old, pre-Starbucks-and-Pottery-Barn South Beach place staffed by ladies who wouldn’t have been hired at Starbucks—middle-aged Latinas who never complimented my Hello Kitty wallet or Japanese anime pins.

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