Randy’s Donuts, California

One of the Big Donuts branches

It was late at night around 2 or 3 am when my alarm started buzzing. I opened my eyes and turned it off, and then across the room I yelled at Long. He wasn’t a heavy sleeper so he woke up. I told him its time to go to Randy’s Donuts, and I asked him if he wants to go and he replied with a “yes.” So we got up and didn’t change. The cold 48 degrees we ventured out and drove halfway across town to visit this landmark. As we drove the nearly empty LA freeway here is the beginning of the history of Randy’s.

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:

Smore’s Donut and more
  • Kindle’s Donuts in unincorporated Westmont (this is the original location, built-in 1950),
  • Donut King II in Gardena
  • Dale’s Donuts in Compton, 
  • Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower


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, North Hollywood, Inglewood (on Imperial Hwy, 7), Van Nuys and Reseda.

You might be wondering why we were risking our goodnight sleep just to go to a donut place. Well aside from being one of the famous landmarks in the LA area, people flock all around the world just to buy something from this donut shop. So I checked the popular times and early morning was the less line….So when we got there, there was no literally a line. We were the only customers! Randy’s Donut was easy to spot because it was right off the freeway by LAX and the giant donut sign was very recognizable.  So we parked and walked around the area and it was cold. As we explore here are some more information about its history.

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 La Cienega location and later the Century and Normandie location in 1976 and named them “Randy’s Donuts and Sandwiches” after his son.

more donuts

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. Recently, they decided to retire, and sold the business to Mark Kelegian (reportedly for US$2 million), who is expanding the brand by opening a branch in the Westfield Century City Mall.

There were few people who came up to the window as we realize it was a drive-thru mostly. You don’t even need to get down to buy the donuts. But in our case, we have to so we can look around a bit. People inside this glass building were still busy making donuts and we had our chance Long and I order the special ones, I got the Smores on top, Oreo on top and unfortunately there was no more of Nutella on top.

Iron Man 2

Randy’s Donut became more iconic when it was featured on the second Iron Man. It is the scene where Nick Fury found Tony Stark sitting inside the giant donut.

Sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to exit the donut.” Nick Fury said.

Anyway Long got his and a souvenir and after that tried some of the donuts we ordered and it was fantastic! For weeks I will still be craving for this sweet goodness! After trying one we went back to the car and drove back to the hotel to finish the rest and also to get some rest for tomorrow’s adventure.

Here are links for more information:



Location Visit: Randy’s Donuts, as Featured in Iron Man 2

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