Dunkin' Donuts opens on Drag

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Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

It actually happened.

A Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins hybrid opened last month near the intersection of Guadalupe and 24th Streets next door to Einstein Bros. Bagels.

There’s been a “Dunkin’ Donuts Coming Soon” sign above the entrance for close to two years, but it wasn’t until several weeks ago that management placed a “help wanted” sign outside.

New and returning students can now look forward to stress-eating donuts and coffee as they run late to their exams at Hogg Auditorium — or Hogg Building.

On Twitter, many students found it hard to believe the donut shop was really open. After about six months of walking past the sign, nursing senior Sam Allega said the thought of the store ever opening seemed comical.

“I was shocked,” Allega said of the store’s opening. “I didn’t think it was ever going to show up. I thought they abandoned plans to finish it.”

Allega said he wished the shop had opened sooner. Now in his final semester at UT, most of his classes are on the opposite end of campus from the Drag, making a donut or coffee run nowhere near as convenient as it would have been when he was taking lower-division classes on the west side of campus.

Sylvia Gomez, the store’s general manager, said part of why it took so long to open is because of the permitting process surrounding the building’s historical value.

In 1936, the Varsity Theater opened across the street from the Texas Union as one of the first suburban theaters in Austin. Five decades later, the theater closed in 1990.

In the years since, the building housed businesses such as a record store and a coffee shop. Now, a Wells Fargo branch, the Tex-Mex chain Qdoba and the new Dunkin’ Donuts call the theater home.

Much of the time preparing for the store’s opening was spent getting the construction plans approved with the city to ensure the building’s character and lavish 1930s Art Deco style would be protected, Gomez said.

“As far as making the architectural design, it was very difficult,” Gomez, who is a UT alumna, said. “We had to follow all of the historical (codes) and submit the actual blueprints and get it confirmed by the city, so that took a long time.”

Regardless of the difficulty in getting the store open, Gomez said she is glad they were able to do everything they could to preserve the building’s history.

“The fact that it took so long is fine,” Gomez said. “I know that sign has been up there for going on two years, but I think that if it protects the integrity, that’s everything.”

Accounting senior Chris Liu visited the hybrid store Monday and said he likes the atmosphere but was a little annoyed by how long it took to open because he graduates in a few months.

“If we had that two extra years, that’s more ice cream,” Liu said.

The store held a soft opening late last month and has spent the last few weeks preparing employees for the flood of students coming in now that classes have started.

UT’s newest and closest destination for an early morning sugar rush will have its grand opening from Jan. 22–25 and plans to have a different band performing each night.