Dunkin’ to brew up downtown Iowa City

A new Dunkin’ store will be opening in Iowa City in this upcoming fall. The coffee shop will be connected to Iowa Book, and will have an entrance through the store.

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Dunkin’ to brew up downtown Iowa City

Tian Liu, News Reporter

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As different construction projects progress around downtown, Iowa Book prepares to welcome a new neighbor.

A new Dunkin’ location will open in the downtown bookstore this fall, said Chris Benge, the director of store operations at Eastern Iowa Food Service, which operates the shops’ locations in eastern and central Iowa.

For University of Iowa senior and Dunkin’ lover Madelyn Fiene, the news of a new franchise in Iowa City is exciting. She goes to the Coralville shop around twice a week, she said.

“I could see this location increasing my average to four to five times,” she said.

Fiene expects that Dunkin’ would have its full coffee menu in the new location, such as macchiatos and lattes — as it does at its other locations. The expectation is mostly correct — Benge said the Iowa City shop will have a full drink menu but limited food options because of space. Seating also will not be available.

“We won’t be able to make sandwiches there because of space constraints,” he said. “Our space isn’t quite big enough to do it.”

Benge said having customers such as Fiene is one of the reasons that the Eastern Iowa Food Service wanted to open a new spot downtown. Also, he said, staff members expect that the shop will add more choices to the great coffee community that downtown Iowa City has.

“Our targeted consumers are anybody who loves great coffee. That is what Dunkin’ is really about,” Benge said. “We, of course, have doughnuts, but the best-kept secret of Dunkin’ is our great coffee.”

RELATED: Point-Counterpoint: Which coffee shop reigns supreme, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? 

After years of searching, food-service staff found the Iowa Book spot makes sense to have a Dunkin’, Benge said, so the staff approached the bookstore last fall. The new shop will use Iowa Book’s space to operate, but it will be independent.

Peter Vanderhoef, the owner of Iowa Book, said Dunkin’ would have its own entrance and open into the bookstore.

“We are using space from them, and we will be together with them working in conjunction,” Benge said.

Vanderhoef said he believes working in conjunction will help increase traffic in Iowa Book because there will be a lot of people attracted to Dunkin’.

“You can come into Iowa Book and go into Dunkin’, or you can go into Dunkin’ and come into Iowa Book,” Vanderhoef said.

Though the operating hours haven’t been set yet, Benge said, it would be very similar to Iowa Book’s hours. Although the food service has no firm date for opening, he said, the shop will definitely be operating this fall.

Fiene agreed that the change for Iowa Book would stimulate traffic in the bookstore. Getting wraps there for breakfast on the way to class, will be ideal, she said, because of the proximity.

“I could see it going over well for the bookstore because I’d stop there for a coffee and would probably impulsively buy Iowa gear that [Iowa Book] has there — which I’m sure others would also do,” she said.