I never thought I could feel tenderly toward the Dunkin' Donuts chain until I visited Providence.
Providence loves donuts, and consequently loves Dunkin' Donut. There are more Dunkin' Donuts per capita in Providence (a city of 170,000) than there are in any other city in America. They are so prevalent and so beloved that they are used in giving directions, as in "You go straight and then take a right at the Dunkin' Donuts." In fact, I am told, people actually give directions based on where a Dunkin' Donuts used to be.
Dunkin' has returned the love. The bought the naming rights for the indoor arena that became known as the Dunkin' Donuts Centers. Locals call it "The Dunk." It all contributes to that rare phenomenon in which a national chain actually feels like an integral paint of the local cultural fabric. I still don't like Dunkin' Donuts. Don't like their product, their obnoxious signs, their ubiquity. But I kinda like that Providence likes them.