In and out like lightning (both the restaurant and the food)
Great Neck hasn’t had a great history of maintaining fast food chain restaurants. The one exception is the Dunkin Donuts by the train station. They don’t offer fine dining by any stretch of the imagination, but they make up for it with decent standard fare and speedy service
Great Neck has a small handful of chain fast food joints. There’s the Subway on Cuttermill Road and the Chipolte and Cheeburger Cheeburger in the Waldbaum’s shopping plaza. Other than that, I suspect the town council keeps the number of fast food restaurants small to preserve the town’s unique flavor, no pun intended.
While other fast food restaurants like the Cosi have long since closed down, the Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be pretty popular, I’m guessing for one main reason: location, location, location. It’s a 25 second walk from the train station across the street. As far as food in the train station itself, the newsstand there has a few bagels in plastic wrap, but that’s about it.
I went to the Dunkin’ Donuts late on a weekday morning and expected it to be empty. Surprisingly, it was jam-packed.
The Dunkin’ Donuts here is pretty much the same as any other around the country. I was greeted by a cardboard cutout of Eli Manning waving a Big and Toasty sandwich in front of me.
Even though the line was long it moved very quickly. I’d signed up to receive Dunkin’ Donuts mails, which means once a year they send me a card for a free medium drink on my birthday. One slightly annoying thing is that the girl at the register was in such a hurry that she charged me full price for the drink that should been free and applied to coupon to a coffee that should have been part of my combo. But after a brief amount of protestation from me, the manager quickly went to the register, pressed a few keys, and all was well again.
As for the food, what can I say? It’s standard Dunkin’ Donuts fare. In our case, it meant getting sausage and egg on a crossant.
…and their newest offering, the aforementioned “Big N Toasty” suggested by Eli himself.
Now when you go in for breakfast or lunch at Dunkin’ Donuts, you have to go in with the right expectations. No, they don’t fry the eggs out of the shell, nor do they bake the croissants. You can also probably tell by the picture that these are the greasiest sandwiches on the face of the earth. I think I could have wrung my Big and Toasty sandwich into a bucket and left with a couple tablespoons of butter and oil. But I have to admit, they were tasty and very, very quick. For my heart’s sake, I won’t be going there every day, but every now and then when I’m hungry and the train is 8 minutes away, I might make a quick run across the street.
The restaurant wasn’t dirty, but it didn’t strike me as particularly pristine either. There was only seating for a few people, so it’s not exactly the kind of place you’d want to hang out for a long time. But I sense that was probably by design, as the vast majority of people are probably people waiting for trains.
Still, every time I pass this Dunkin Donuts I see it bustling, and that’s a testament to the owners and the management knowing who their customers are and what it takes to be successful: getting great coffee and decent fast food into their customers’ hands before their train gets in.
Great Neck, NY 11021
Mon-Fr 5am – 10:00pm
Price Range: $
Takes Reservations: No