Red States / Blue States: The In-N-Out Burger, Dunkin’ Donuts Divide

Forget Democrats and Republicans. There’s a different Blue State, Red State divide — that between which states have In-N-Out Burger locations and those that have Dunkin’ Donuts.

Red States, Blue States: The In-N-Out Burger, Dunkin' Donuts Edition

As you can see in the map above, much of the western half of the United States lacks Dunkin’ Donuts. Meanwhile, I constantly hear from visitors to California that they crave In-N-Out whenever they come out here. I take them for granted. I’ve got got one less than two miles away from me; six are within 10 miles.

NOTE: Oregon apparently has a Dunkin Donuts. I might update the map later to reflect this.

Really, while President Barack Obama might think that this political map is the Red State / Blue State divide that needs to be bridged (picture from Wikipedia):

Red States, Blue States

I submit it’s the food divide that needs to be shattered. What does it say about our country where there are only three cities in total where you can have both an In-N-Out burger and a donut from Dunkin Donuts at the same time: Mesa, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada?

By the way, In-N-Out makes it pretty hard to get a state-by-state view of all their restaurants, but I did my best working off this list on their site. Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t provide any easy-to-read list at all. Instead, I found a list of all restaurants as compiled by the good people at the new Factual search engine. I filtered that to Dunkin Donuts locations. It might not be perfect, but it was the best and most convenient data I could find.

NOTE: Michael McCulley tweeted me this list of more Dunkin Donut locations, so I’ve updated the map. Texas

Also big thanks to the awesome US Map Maker program from John Adamson at Texas A&M. It made it super easy to produce this map of America’s fast food divide.


  1. says

    Having grown up on Long Island, Dunkin Donuts are in my veins. It was a sad day when I learned they don’t exist here in California. When they showed up on Twitter, I sent a tweet asking when they’re coming to this state – never got a reply. Sad. The donuts here in the bay area are the most hum-drum, dull, boring, tasteless wanna-be donuts on earth!

    But at least we have In-N-Out :-)

    Now, if I could just get more REAL pizza places out here – there’s only two authentic brooklyn-style pizza joints I know of in the bay area. Sad.

  2. says

    That’s funny — I just had 5 Guys for the first time out in Sandy, Utah. Yes, they are very similar. Actually, I preferred the 5 Guys burgers a bit more than In-N-Out — they’re a bit larger.

  3. Jacob says

    I always wondered that, 5 guys are spreading fast here in the southeast and I imagine elsewhere as well. They make a dang good burger.

  4. says

    Yes, we certainly do have Dunkin’ Donuts in Oregon. And while we don’t have In-N-Out Burger, we do have Burgerville, the locally-owned burger chain that uses locally-sourced food. But I guess that’s an accurate reflection of Oregon: We’re a lightly populated, essentially rural state that has substantial Republican representation in the state legislature, while Portland and Eugene are heavily populated by Democratic voters. Which explains why we always have a Democratic governor and right now, two Dems in the U.S. Senate.

  5. says

    I think that In-n-Out won’t franchise – that is why they are locked over there with you West-coast guys. I have to go to all the way to Vegas to get one – long trip from Atlanta!
    I think 5 Guys was likely someone reacting to the non-franchising of In-N-Out by swiping the concept pretty overtly. A fine replacement for those of us too far to stumble into Nevada or California for a bite. The fries are different – I prefer 5 Guys, but the burgers are very similar.

    I cry all the time that I live in Newt Gingrich country…my state is as red as a baboon’s bottom, and just as obnoxious. But now I gotta cry more because I am not a purple state either.
    Thanks a lot, Danny.

  6. Kevin says

    Yeah, here in cali I had a hard time thinking if I’ve ever been to a dunkin donuts place.
    Sadly I haven’t, as we settle for the ever boring krispy scremes donuts…your better off
    Going to a unchained whole in the wall, no name donut hub. But yeah we do have some good food places I.E in-n-out, togo’s sups and sandwhiches, Round Table Pizza( for the. ” I can tfind a pizza around here” guy. I’ve left in a few different popular states in the south aswell as mid west and can’t seem to find one of either….

  7. says

    I’d never noticed the divide before, but then, I grew up in California and barely knew of the existence of Dunkin’ Donuts. The only donut shop I’ve been to recently is Psycho Donuts in Campbell, but alas, the names (massive head trauma = jelly filled donut) are better than the donuts. When I really need a fried dought + sugar fix, I go for the steaming fresh churros at the flea market. Welcome to California!

    The relative scarcity of good donuts is definitely mitigated by the availability of In-n-Out, though. Love those animal style fries.

  8. Dave says

    They opened an In N Out in Denton, TX late last year…figures…we lived in Dallas for 4 years, returned to CA, and they opened one right after we were gone.

  9. Gwen says

    California and Washington used to have Winchell’s Donuts in the “70’s, maybe that’s why they never got DD.

  10. Dave says

    I was out in Houston last week, staying with friends. They have lived in Cali and come out every year during the summer. They took me to 5Guys after I joked about hitting up In n Out…I was quite impressed with the burgers and fries at 5Guys! In n Out will always be my absolute favorite, but if I do end up moving to the Houston area, I will be very happy having a 5Guys near me.