Randy's Donuts

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Randy's Donuts
Randy's donuts1 edit1.jpg
General information
Type Restaurant, doughnut shop, bakery
Architectural style Novelty architecture
Address 805 West Manchester Avenue
Town or city Inglewood, California
Country United States
Coordinates 33°57′42″N 118°22′13″W / 33.961773°N 118.370355°W / 33.961773; -118.370355Coordinates: 33°57′42″N 118°22′13″W / 33.961773°N 118.370355°W / 33.961773; -118.370355
Opening 1953 (1953)
Design and construction
Architect Henry J. Goodwin

Randy's Donuts is a bakery and landmark building in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles International Airport, in a style that dates to a period in the early 20th century that saw a proliferation of programmatic architecture throughout Southern California. This style had its heyday from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. By the 1950s however, the trend of designing structures in the shape of the product sold there had changed to focus on signs rather than architecture itself. Randy's is represented by a giant doughnut on the roof of an otherwise ordinary drive-in that is a dedicated doughnut bakery. The building was designed by Henry J. Goodwin.[1]

There are actually two different sized doughnuts. Most locations used a 32 1/5 ft (9.8 meters) -diameter version that straddles the building and is aimed at the intersection. In Roadside Giant by Brian and Sarah Butko, the Weintraubs climbed on top of the doughnut with a tape measure and confirmed this for the authors. The Bellflower and Reseda locations, however, feature a small version of the doughnut on a pole out in front the building. This may be 23 feet (7 meters) in diameter, as is widely reported.

The 24-hour drive-in is located at 805 West Manchester Boulevard where it intersects with La Cienega Boulevard, and is near the Manchester Boulevard off-ramp of the San Diego Freeway (I-405).


The iconic Randy's Donuts sign alongside Space Shuttle Endeavour as it is ferried through the streets of Los Angeles on Friday, October 12, 2012.

Randy's was built in 1953 (and first appears in the 1954 edition phone book) as the second location of the now-defunct Big Donut Drive-In chain by Russell C. Wendell, a doughnut machine salesman. There were 10 locations, built over the course of the 1950s. At least four other Big Donuts survive: they are Kindle's Donuts in unincorporated Westmont (this is the original location, built in 1950), the Donut King II in Gardena (3), Dale's Donuts in Compton (5), and Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower (8). Each features the distinctive giant doughnut constructed of rolled steel bars covered with gunite, a material used in swimming pools. Five Big Donuts have been demolished. They were located in Culver City (4), North Hollywood (6), Inglewood (on Imperial Hwy, 7), Van Nuys (9) and Reseda (10).

In the 1970s Wendell sold off the individual stores to concentrate on his Pup 'N' Taco chain (which he sold to Taco Bell in 1984). Robert Eskow purchased the Manchester and Normandie locations in 1976 and named them "Randy's Donuts and Sandwiches" after his son. In 1977 a baker named Gary Kindle purchased the store on Normandie, which is still operating under the name Kindle's Donuts. In 1978, brothers Ron and Larry Weintraub (cousins to the Eskows) purchased the Randy's on Manchester and kept the name; they own it to this day.

Similar to the Big Donut chain is The Donut Hole of La Puente, California, the last of a chain of five stores featuring two 26-foot-diameter (7.9 m) drive-through fiberglass donuts on either side of a small bakery building. A number of Angel Food Donut stores in Long Beach also feature over-sized doughnuts; these appear to have been manufactured out of metal duct work.

In popular culture[edit]

Actor and comedian Jimmie Walker with brothers Ron and Larry Weintraub
Randy's donuts can be seen from airplanes landing at LAX (on the starboard side of the plane). Click on photo to see larger version.

The building was featured in the films Earth Girls Are Easy,[2] Mars Attacks!, The Golden Child, Into the Night, Stripped to Kill,[2] Problem Child 2,[2] Breathless,[3] Californication, California Girls, 2012,[3] Iron Man 2,[3] "Get Shorty", Volcano, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Escape from Petropolis, Blood In, Blood Out (citation needed), Dope and Love Letters. It can be seen briefly with other world-famous monuments in the Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack."

It was also featured in the music videos for Becky G's "Becky from the Block",[4] Randy Newman's "I Love LA"[5] and The Prodigy's "Wind It Up",[6] as well as the music video for Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication."[7]

Similar buildings with giant donuts, under different names, are featured in the video games Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, City of Heroes, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as well as in "Marge vs. the Monorail", an episode of The Simpsons. Garth can be seen slurping jelly from a Randy's Donut in Wayne's World. In Steven Universe, a building known as the "Big Donut" was shown in the show.

The iconic structure was shown on the History Channel series Life After People, showing what would happen to the building without human repair.

The building was shown in the Masked Rider Episode "Ferbus Maximus" where an overgrown Ferbus takes the giant doughnut and tries to eat it, only to reject it for being fake.

The building's famous doughnut can be spotted in the scene changes of the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious.

In the episode "Pier Pressure" of Arrested Development, in a sequence showing Buster's medical trial for THC, medical marijuana, a picture is shown of Buster standing next to Randy's Donuts on the roof attempting to eat his way through it.

In the film Iron Man 2, protagonist Tony Stark is seen eating donuts while reclining inside the doughnut sign.

In the film 2012, the doughnut sign can be seen rolling through the streets in Los Angeles during the earthquake.

The store was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory as Howard (Simon Helberg) tells of a prank pulled on Sheldon (Jim Parsons) while pretending to be Dr. Stephen Hawking to meet at the Randy's Donut at 2 in the morning.

The Building was used in Ken Block's "Gymkhana 7" video.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LA Conservancy, Randy's Donuts". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Bishop, Greg; Oesterle, Joe; Marinacci, Mike (2006). Weird California. Weird (Travel Guides). Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. p. 159. ISBN 1-4027-3384-4. 
  3. ^ a b c Geoff Boucher: Sweet! The story behind that ‘Iron Man 2′ doughnut scene Hero Complex, Los Angeles Times, 2010-04-10
  4. ^ Music Video for Becky G's "Becky from the Block". YouTube. 
  5. ^ Music Video for Randy Newman's "I Love LA". YouTube. 
  6. ^ Music Video for The Prodigy's "Wind It Up". YouTube. 
  7. ^ Music Video for Red Hot Chili Peppers "Californication". YouTube. 

External links[edit]