Monday, February 21, 2011

Randy's Donuts | Inglewood, CA

Located on the corner of Normandie and Manchester, Randy's Donuts was created in 1953 by donut machine salesman, Russell Wendell, as the second location in a chain of fast food service eateries he called The Big Donut Drive-In. He would go on to open as many as ten locations throughout the LA area, but only four others like Randy's Donuts still delight customers: Kindle's Donuts in Los Angeles, the Donut King II in Gardena, Dale's Donuts in Compton, and Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower.

Their appeal was found not just in their popular menu items, which were quite extensive by the way, but also in the extremely large structure that sat on top of an otherwise ordinary drive-in destination. Known as programmatic architecture, where the buildings resemble the product they sold, each of the locations sported a giant donut constructed of rolled steel bars covered with gunnite, a pliable material typically used in swimming pools. The one sitting atop Randy's Donuts was incorporated in the design of the building by Robert Graham, and it is perhaps the most recognized having been featured in numerous music videos, commercials, magazine ads, television shows, and motion pictures such as Iron Man II, Earth Girls Are Easy, and Coming to America.

The original owner of Randy's Donuts continued to operate the drive-in well into the 1970s before selling it to Robert Eskow in 1976, and it was Eskow who set in motion the subsequent name changes, taking The Big Donut Drive-In and switching it to Randy's Donuts and Sandwiches in honor of his son. In 1978, Eskow's cousins, Ron and Larry Weintraub, took over and shortened the name to what it is popularly known today. They haven't looked back since.

Now, I try to be impartial when it comes to writing about the places we feature in our blog, but I must say that Randy's Donuts is good. Not because they feature most of our favorites, but I've seen occasions when even the healthiest eater, who says "no thanks," will quickly change his mind to a "don't mind if I do" attitude once it's known that the donut in question is from Randy's Donuts. They are truly hard to resist with an array to choose from including crumb raised, chocolate chocolate chip, jelly-filled, custard-filled, and the plain glazed. Specialty items such as apple fritters, cinnamon sticks, blueberry crisps, and a chocolate cinnamon log also tempt and essentially deliver.

My affinity towards Randy's Donuts doesn't just stop there. Once upon a memory, we lived in Playa Del Rey, a mere hop, skip, and a ten minute drive to their doorstep. It was a regular stop when the itch for a guilty pleasure needed to be scratched, but it also played an important role while my wife was pregnant with our son. She craved three things that, looking back at it now, were just all bad, but oh so good: spam musubi, chili cheeseburgers from Original Tommy's, and donuts from Randy's. Ironically, these are three of our son's favorite foods. Connection or coincidence? I wonder ...

Randy's Donuts is open for business seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Randy's Donuts
805 W. Manchester Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90301

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  1. Oh I am so craving a donut right now! That is so funny that you post this, just last weekend I was watching Iron Man 2 and the main character ends up sitting in the Randy's Donut donut in the movie eating a dozen donuts in his iron man suit haha. Too funny, thanks for sharing this!

  2. Randy's Donut holds a special place in our hearts. The great thing about Randy's is that their donuts are not complicated and are just plain good! So glad that you enjoyed the blog!!

  3. I can't believe I lived only a few miles from this place my entire childhood and still have never been there (well, I can believe it - my parents are health food obsessed).