A festive crowd gathered in the predawn hours Tuesday for the opening of the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant on Standiford Avenue.
For Mariah Medeiros and her family, it was a homecoming.
“I’m so pumped up for this,” said Medeiros, who moved from Boston to Lathrop a few years ago. Prior to that, she was a regular at the Massachusetts-based chain, which has a large and devoted following on the East Coast.
More than just providing her favorite treats, the folks at Dunkin’ speak Medeiros’ language. Holding up a French vanilla iced coffee, she said she ordered it with “extra, extra and milk and sugar.”
At West Coast coffee shops, ordering like that yielded a blank stare. “They just hand you coffee and point you to the milk and sugar and say, ‘Make it yourself,’ ” Medeiros said. At Dunkin’ Donuts, that yields a specialty drink made with extra pumps of syrup.
Medeiros and her sisters, Tyra Medeiros and Monica Matos, along with Matos’ husband, made the drive from Lathrop to be at the shop by 2:30 a.m. ahead of the 5 a.m. opening and were first in line. “We’ve been waiting for this,” Medeiros said.
She wasn’t alone. Others came to the opening, either because they had lived in places where Dunkin’ Donuts operates and were eager for the familiar, or, in the case of Marcie Ramos of Modesto, to try something new.
“I’m here to see about a menu,” she said. In addition to doughnuts and coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts offers pastries and specialty sandwiches.
The new location, 1300 Standiford, is almost directly across the street from Mr. T’s, a longtime Modesto doughnut maker. Though the operators of Mr. T’s said Dunkin’ Donuts was welcome to open anywhere, some of its customers started a petition asking the chain’s franchisee to select another location.
Gary Shatswell, vice president of marketing and chief technology officer for franchisee Sizzling Platter/Sizzling Donuts, said there is room in the community for everyone.
“We actually love Modesto,” he said. “We are looking forward to being part of the community.”
He pointed out that despite the name, Dunkin’ doesn’t make most of its money from doughnuts. Coffee drinks account for 57 percent of the company’s sales.
“We have a wide variety of drinks and sandwiches,” Shatswell said, adding that the company aims to attract customers throughout the day.
And, as Ramos said as she stood in line for her turn to order, “I like choices.”
As the crowd entered the balloon-festooned restaurant, sampling pumpkin doughnut holes and taking photos with the mascot “Cuppy,” Mr. T’s did brisk business across the street.