‘WILD CHICAGO’: The saga of “Punkin’ Donuts”

The Dunkin’ Donuts that used to be at the northwest corner of Belmont and Clark earned its nickname in the 80s and 90s.

In 1987, Ben Hollis and John Davies pitched Chicago PBS station WTTW on a program that would capture the city’s obscure corners, unusual characters, and fringe phenomena. To show the station what they had in mind, they’d shot a “guerilla demo” at a spot Hollis already knew: the Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner of Belmont and Clark in Lakeview. He’d often driven past it late at night and seen groups of young people hanging out in the parking lot, and he figured it’d be worth investigating. What were they doing there? Why that spot, not somewhere else? And what was the appeal?

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