A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 14, 2006
Dunking Doughnuts (and “Sinkers")
"Dunking" doughnuts became popular when New York City's own Eddie Cantor promoted the practice in his 1931 movie Palmy Days.

The practice of dunking doughnuts in coffee was popular in New York City a many years before that (see "sinkers" below). The Dunkin' Donuts company was founded in Massachusetts in 1950.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022246/plotsummary
Plot Summary for
Palmy Days (1931)
Musical comedy antics in an art deco bakery (motto: "Glorifying the American Doughnut") with Eddie Cantor as an assistant to a phoney psychic, who is mistaken for an efficiency expert and placed in charge. Complications ensue when the psychic and his gang attempt to rub the payroll.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279784/plotsummary
Plot Summary for
Dora's Dunking Doughnuts (1933)
Schoolteacher Andy Wilson makes his usual morning stop for coffee and donuts at Dora's Home Bakery. Today he enjoys talking to Dora so much that he is late to school for the first time. Later that day, Dora tells him about some wonderful new donuts that she has made. Andy is so impressed with them that he decides to have his students help him make a radio commercial, in order to help Dora sell her new product.

https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/company/History.aspx
Dunkin' Donuts was founded in 1950. Today, loyal customers like you can be found in 30 countries and territories, stopping off for a cup of our world-famous coffee and a fresh, delicious donut, bagel, muffin, or other baked good.

It all started in 1946 when Mr. William Rosenberg founded Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered meals and coffee break snacks to customers in the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. The success of Industrial Luncheon Services led Rosenberg to open his first coffee and donut shop, the "Open Kettle". Then, in 1950, Rosenberg opened the first store known as Dunkin' Donuts in Quincy, Massachusetts.

With more than 6,000 Dunkin' Donuts shops worldwide, the company is the largest chain of coffee, donut, and bagel shops.

3 February 1888, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 1:
The beauty of the thing so fascinated "Coffee and Sinkers" that his habitual discretion forsook him,
1 April 1888, New York Herald, pg. 9, col. 6:
Or they can get a cup of coffee and some cakes for ten cents. The facetious patrons of the restaurant call these cakes "sinkers," because if they were thrown overboard they wouldn't float.

January 1892, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pg. 4:
...men who have succeeded in their calling have not disdained "coffee and sinkers" or beef and beans -- that was all that he had to offer, except doughnuts and pie --
27 July 1902, New York Tribune, section II, pg. 2, col. 6:
"A little on the cow" is milk. "Draw one -- black" is coffee, without milk. "One up" is not golf, but a symbol, meaning that the waiter who calls has another cup of coffee coming to him. "Off the griddle" means butter cakes, those deadly bullets of, rather, small cannon balls of dough, which are commonly known to the hardy eaters thereof as "sinkers," but which it is high treason to call by that name within the lunch room.

14 October 1928, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. H5:
Ronald Colman and Herbert Brenon, the director, were dunking their morning doughnuts when the party arrived, and soon started off in their cars to the scene of the day's work.

5 June 1929, Atlanta Constitution, "The Way of the World" by Grove Patterson, pg. 6:
DUNKING.
The editor of a well-known western paper not long ago gave an address, repeated in movietone theaters, on the subject of "Dunking." Folks who dip their doughnuts in the coffee are dunkers. But dunking has a long and not dishonorable history. It goes back into the far reaches of tradition. Our good old-fashioned word "supper" was derived from the practice of sopping bread and gravy.

24 January 1930, Life, pg. 16:
In less than a week her husband's doughnut-dunking habit had been stamped out forever!

17 October 1930, Kingston (Jamaica) Daily Gleaner, pg. 8:
Ohio Penitentiary prisoners are dunking doughnuts again.

21 December 1930, New York Times, pg. 48:
DOUGHNUT HOLES
ENGAGE EXPERTS

Small-Hole Cake Is by Far
the Best for Dunking,
One Declares
(...)
Did either Mr. Holbrook or Mr. Brown try to dunk doughnuts? The doughnut with the big hole wobbles uncertainly and in some cases has even been known to sink! (Sinker (Coll. Amer. slang): a doughnut which goes under.) But the small-hole doughnut remains on the surface proudly, temptingly. Its buoyancy is never threatened by a superfluity of hole.

5 March 1931, Olean (NY) Herald, pg. 3:
In the meantime, Olean restaurant proprietors will continue to permit the graceful practice of "dunking" doughnuts in coffee.

15 July 1931, Charleston (WV) Gazette, pg. 1:
Doughnut Shop Invades
Sacred Gotham Precincts

Largest Shop in World Makes Its Appearance on One
of Most Prominent Corners of Famous
Times Square; Dunking Allowed

NEW YORK, July 14. -- (UP) Broadway, where you can't walk ten steps without encountering a yokel, has been captivated by the doughnut people who are waging a determined campaign to make America cruller conscious.

The world's largest doughnut shop has opened on one of the most prominent corners of Times Square -- immediately adjacent to the Astor -- and today it required the expenditure of great effort and will power for a person to jam his way in close enough to get a glimpse of a glorified doughnut.

A press agent, hired by the doughnut people to attract attention to the place, sent out word that the shop is becoming the hangout of philosophers. But the only person remotely resembling a philosopher found at the shop today was Will H. Hays, the movie man.

A brass rail runs along the windows to keep people from glueing their noses to the glass while contemplating the manufacture of doughnuts. It was to this rail that Hays, dressed in an immaculate white suit with black stripes, pushed his way.

"What's this?" he demanded of a reporter, who was momentarily absorbed in thoughts of the categorical imperative of Immanuel Kant.

"Doughnuts," answered the reporter.

"Doughnut? Where?" the motion picture man asked.

"Right there," he was told, "right there on that tray. Lots of 'em."

Hays gazed at the fluffy crullers a bit and a far-away look came into his eyes. He was musing, no doubt, on a Hoosier childhood -- on the doughnuts of old Indiana, when life was young, the frost was on the punkin and doughnuts were cooked in a pot.

Hays gave way to two young things in taffeta, who giggled and gushed as they watched the doughnuts coming down the revolving tray. Their conversation is scarcely worth reporting, save for a single line.

"I wonder," said one of them to her companion, "how they'd taste with gin?"

Inside it was learned that the management neither encourages nor discourages dunking. "If you want to dunk," said one of the half dozen young ladies who wait on the counter, "go ahead and dunk. Personally I'd as leave dunk as not."

9 September 1931, Olean (NY) Evening Times, "New York Day By Day" by O. O. McIntyre, pg. 10:
Broadway now has a Java and sinker salon for dunking de luxe on the corner north of the Astor, where glittering machines once cascaded cigarettes. Today drooling peepers through the oval window see machines minting luscious brown doughnuts.

5 November 1931, Helena (Montana) Daily Independent, pg. 3 ad:
In line with Eddie Cantor's NATIONAL "DUNKING" Contest, every patron will be given a luscious Eddy Bakery doughnut.

11 November 1931, Newark (Ohio) Advocate, pg.9 ad:
Eddie Cantor
Announces

That He Dunks His Doughnuts
Both In and Out of "Palmy Days"

You, Too, Will Enjoy Dunking
When You Once Taste

Huber's Doughnuts
(...)
HUBER'S BAKERY
61 South Second Street
Newark, O.

16 December 1931, Frederick (MD) News, pg. 9 ad:
GLORIFYING
THE AMERICAN DOUGHNUT

LEARN THE ART OF
"Dunking"
Garber's Preferred Doughnuts
FROM
EDDIE CANTOR
-IN-
"PALMY DAYS"
AT THE
TIVOLI THEATER
WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY, DEC. 16-17

The Garber Baking Co.

30 April 1934, New York Times, pg. 15:
ADAM BREDE DEAD;
NOTED FOR BEEF-AN'

His Cuisine at Dolan's in Park
Row Delighted Celebrated
Patrons for 40 Years.

NAMED "SINKERS" BY DINERS.

Adam Brede, one of the famous characters of the old days on Park Row, who worked in Dolan's restaurant for forty years, 1877-1917, and cooked the beef-an' which made Dolan's popular, died yesterday at his home, 32-28 Decatur Avenue, the Bronx, at the age of 78 (...)

For nearly two generations Adam Brede knew nearly everybody of importance who worked in downtown New York, and many who journeyed to Park Row for some of the plain, well-cooked fare always obtainable in the little "beanery" opposite the post office.

Sinkers, as the customers called the chef, loved his work and cherished a store of recollections of his meeting with celebrities.
(...)
He cooked in various places...before Pat Dolan engaged him for his "beanery" at 3 Park Row.

(Trademark)
Word Mark DUNKIN' DONUTS
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 029 030. US 046. G & S: DOUGHNUTS AND DOUGHNUT FLOUR, FRUIT FILLINGS FOR DOUGHNUTS, COOKIES, CAKES AND PIES, VEGETABLE OIL SHORTENING AND COFFEE. FIRST USE: 19520500. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19520500
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Design Search Code
Serial Number 71684644
Filing Date March 31, 1955
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0692491
Registration Date February 2, 1960
Owner (REGISTRANT) DUNKIN' DONUTS OF AMERICA, INC. DOING BUSINESS AS DUNKIN' DONUTS CORPORATION MASSACHUSETTS 25 HUNTINGTON AVE. BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS
(LAST LISTED OWNER) UNKNOWN RANDOLPH MASS.
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19800202
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date February 17, 2001

Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 14, 2006 • Permalink