The giant donuts of Los Angeles

There are a lot of giant donuts in the greater Los Angeles area. This isn’t a bad thing, but more of an observation.

Once upon a time, there was a young donut machine salesman named Russell C. Wendell who opened a small store  on Normandie Ave. in South Central.

He called it the Big Donut Drive-In, and in order to attract customers, he mounted a huge donut on the roof—because who can’t resist a giant donut replica? According to the Daily Breeze, he went on to build several more of these bad boys. Ten stores in total.

Wendell eventually sold off his giant donuts to focus on tacos (fair enough)—but some of the stores still stand today:

The original location was purchased in 1977 by a guy named Gary Kindle and renamed Kindle’s Donuts.

Photo: @kmtwanderlust
Photo: @kmtwanderlust

Another Big Donuts location is Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, which has achieved iconic status on its own.

Photo: @kmtwanderlust
Photo: @kmtwanderlust
Photo: @kmtwanderlust

Located just west of the 405 Freeway, it has appeared in several films and videos including the Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication video (around 2:58).

Donut King II was the third Big Donut location, which still serves hot and sugary goodness on Western Avenue in Gardena.

Photo: @kmtwanderlust
Photo: @kmtwanderlust

The fifth Big Donut spot was renamed Dale’s Donuts and is located on South Atlantic Boulevard in Compton.

Hello LA!

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If you’re more of a bagel person, the final Big Donut location still in business is now called Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower.


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Donut Hole has a different history and vibe, but it is equally important in terms of donut-ness in Southern California. Located in La Puente, customers drive through two giant donuts to place their order.

the donut hole.jpg
Photo: The Donut Hole / Facebook

Newlyweds have been known to drive through the donuts, perhaps for good luck or the sexual symbolism..?

And the giant donut tour of SoCal doesn’t end there.

There are even more in Long Beach from a separate chain. Weird California has a break down here.

Fun fact: After the donut run, Wendell went on to open dozens of Pup ‘n’ Taco drive-in locations. More than 90 of these stores in California were later purchased by Taco Bell.


Kindle’s Donuts: 10003 S Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90044
Randy’s Donuts: 805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301
Donut King II: 15032 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90249
Dale’s Donuts: 15904 Atlantic Ave, Compton, CA 90221
Bellflower Bagels: 17025 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706
Donut Hole: 15300 Amar Rd, La Puente, CA 91744

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