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Dunkin Donuts Center

Providence, RI

Home of the Providence Friars



Dunkin Donuts Center (map it)
1 LaSalle Sq
Providence, RI 02903

Providence Friars website

Dunkin Donuts Center website

Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 12,400

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Friar Dunk

Providence College is a small liberal arts college located about two miles from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It is the only college or university in North America administered by the Dominican Friars. With a total enrollment of just over 4,500 students, Providence College is the smallest school in the Big East Conference.

Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Providence College was an emerging national powerhouse on the collegiate basketball scene. During this time the team played their home games in the cozy on-campus Alumni Hall, which seated only 2,620 at the time. Demand for Friars tickets was so great that a new, downtown arena was built to house both the Friars men’s basketball team and the American Hockey League’s Providence Reds. The Providence Civic Center, now named the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (or “the Dunk” locally), has been home to the Friars since its opening in 1972.

The Friars are a founding member of the Big East Conference, and Providence has been the home base of the conference since its founding in 1980. The school was a perennial contender for the national title back in the 1960’s, when they won two NIT tournament titles (1961 & 1963). In recent years the program has seen more downs than ups, but has enjoyed occasional success, and has two Final Four appearances (1973 & 1987) on their resume.


What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

How can you give the Dunk a high score when you can't even get a donut in the place? There are two stands run by Dunkin' Donuts here at the Dunk, but all you can get at these stands is coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Despite this limited menu, these stands have lines throughout the game. To inform visitors to Rhode Island, Dunkin' Donuts is a New England institution, with franchises located seemingly on every other corner throughout the region. The coffee, sold either hot or iced, comes in nine different flavors. Most native New Englanders would get the stuff pumped directly into their veins if they could. It's as close to a "must have" item as can be found here.

The majority of the concessions are located on two food courts, located on either side of the arena. Hungry Friar fans will find the Kayem Arena Grille and Express by Uno at these food courts, along with beer stands. As the names of these stands suggest, the menus here feature hot dogs ($4.50) and pizza ($5). The menu does not stray very far from the basics, and fans looking for the unique menu item will have to be satisfied with a pulled pork sandwich ($8), meatball sub ($7), or sausage and pepper sandwich ($7).

A variety of snacks, such as popcorn ($5/$6), pretzels ($4.50), nachos ($6.25), and peanuts ($4) are sold at stands all over the arena. Fans looking for healthier choices will be pleased to find Caesar salads ($7) or chicken salad wraps ($7.50). In addition, portable carts sell Dippin' Dots and fried dough ($4).

Since the Dunkin' Donuts Center is located off-campus, beer and wine sales are allowed here. There is a decent variety of brands to choose from, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Heineken, and Narragansett. Beers are sold for $8 for small, $9 for craft, and $11 for large. Glasses of wine can be purchased for $10. Fans seeking non-alcoholic beverages can purchase Pepsi products for $4.50 and $5.50.

Fans wanting a sit-down dining experience can head up to the Budweiser Bar & Grille, located above section 201 overlooking the court. Buyers beware, the food isn't cheap up there, but it does offer several items not available on the concourse. Another plus is the presence of several television sets scattered throughout the restaurant. Sporting events are featured on the restaurant's screens, making the bar & grille a popular place to be when faced with a scheduling conflict during football season or during Bruins games.

Atmosphere    3

Now that the Friars have returned to the top of the Big East standings, the buzz has returned to the Dunk. Immediately upon entering the arena, you will be greeted by members of the cheerleading and dance squads, who help with any giveaways being held on that day. Staff members sell 50/50 raffle tickets to benefit the Mal Brown Scholarship Fund, and you may bump into Providence's unusual Friar mascot. Many Providence fans have been sitting together for years, and there is a nice neighborhood vibe to the arena.

When you hit the seating bowl, get ready. The Dunk is loud. I am not talking about the fans, although they do provide a lot of noise and energy when the Friars get rolling. I mean that the PA volume is way too loud at the Dunk. It's a way to make a lifeless building feel more energetic, but it's not so necessary here. The team utilizes an emcee who does a nice job pumping up the crowd during play stoppages, and a deejay who provides music and noise during breaks in the action.

There is a cheerleading squad, dance team, and the legendary Friar mascot, who all perform during time outs. The student body does its best to add excitement and noise to the atmosphere. The team provides some giveaways and entertainment during play stoppages, such as t-shirt tosses, half-court shots, and trivia contests. Nothing here pushes the envelope, but it does serve to keep the crowd active during breaks.

Neighborhood    5

The Dunkin' Donuts Center is located in downtown Providence, directly adjacent to the Rhode Island Convention Center. In fact, it is possible to walk from the Dunk through the Convention Center to the Westin Hotel and the Providence Place Mall without stepping outside. It's very convenient for fans visiting from out of town who want to spend the day downtown without having to brave the brutal winter weather and downtown traffic.

Providence has a well-earned reputation as one of the top culinary cities in the country, and there are countless dining options within walking distance of the Dunk. Trinity Brewhouse, directly across the street from the Dunk, offers a variety of crafted beers. Murphy's Pub is an Irish bar with an extensive deli-style menu and affordable options. Next door to the Dunk is Shula's 347 Grille, offering upscale dining and great steaks. Legendary Federal Hill is a short walk from the Dunk. Federal Hill is a traditional Italian neighborhood loaded with some of the best Italian restaurants you will ever come across. The list of local eating establishments is so comprehensive that they can't possibly all be listed here.

Take a short walk in the opposite direction (you don't even have to walk outside), and you will arrive at the Providence Place Mall, a shopping center with 15 levels of restaurants, stores and parking. Fans looking for things to do outside the realm of sports can visit the Rhode Island state house adjacent to the mall, the Trinity Repertory Company, a nationally renowned theater company, or the Providence Performing Arts Center, which hosts several national Broadway tours and other events throughout the year.

For those travelers looking for things to do outside of Providence, Boston is located a short hour drive away. The beaches of Newport are about a 45 minute drive south, and Cape Cod is about an hour's drive to the southeast. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are located an hour west in Connecticut.

Fans    4

The Friars average a shade under 8,000 fans for their games at the Dunk. As with many schools, crowds tend to increase over the course of the season as conference games begin and March Madness approaches. If you plan to come to a game against one of Providence's traditional rivals, such as Georgetown, or a local rival, such as Boston College or Rhode Island, prepare for the crowd to top 10,000.

One aspect of the crowd that may surprise a visiting fan is the overall age of the crowd at a Providence College basketball game. Fans here are a lot older than you might expect for a college game. Many fans at PC have been coming to the game for years, and have been sitting together for much of that time. It gives the place a nice neighborhood feel. Fans at the Dunk love their Friars, and are very much into the game. The team's recent success has worked to infuse the atmosphere in Providence with some long-forgotten energy.

Despite the Dunkin' Donuts Center's location off campus, there is a solid representation by the student body. The floor seats on both ends of the court are reserved for students, and are generally packed with enthusiastic members of the student body, who arrive downtown via shuttles from campus.

Access    4

The Dunkin' Donuts Center is located in downtown Providence, directly off interstate 95. Be sure to give yourself some extra time if coming to a weekday game, as traffic on the highways running through downtown is typically snarled at this time. If traveling southbound, Exit 21 (Atwells Ave) will deposit you a block away from the arena. If traveling northbound, take Exit 21 (Broadway). Fans traveling to Providence via public transportation will be pleased to know that the Providence Train Station is a short walk from the Dunk, and is a regular stop on the busy northeast corridor. Kennedy Plaza, which is the downtown hub for most RIPTA bus routes, is also a short five minute walk from the Dunk.

There are several parking lots and garages in the immediate vicinity of the arena, which charge from $7-$20 for parking. In addition, fans can park in the garage at the nearby Providence Place Mall. Parking for a game will cost you $5, and the Mall is connected by indoor corridors through the Convention Center and Westin Hotel to the Dunkin' Donuts Center. In the cold winter months, one does not even have to step foot outside to attend a game at the Dunk. Parking at the mall is not recommended during the Christmas season, as it gets incredibly crowded at this time. There is plenty of on-street parking in the area, but be warned that meters run in downtown Providence Monday through Saturday from 9am-6pm.

Once you enter the arena, you will pass through the turnstiles directly onto the main concourse. This area becomes quite crowded at times, but overall the concourse is quite passable. There is a surprising amount of traffic on the concourse during the game, and it does become crowded during halftime, so plan your trips to the concessions and bathrooms accordingly. Speaking of bathrooms, there are several restrooms lining the inner concourse, but they do become quite crowded during halftime.

The seating bowl at the Dunk is divided into upper and lower levels, with private boxes located along the top of the seating bowl. Seats are new, thanks to an extensive renovation completed in 2008, and pretty comfortable. Sight lines from all sections of the arena are good. Fans requiring handicapped seating will be happy to know that several accessible seating areas are available at the top of the 100 level section.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets for Friars games vary in price from $12 for seats in the upper corners to $95 for courtside seats. Seats at center court in the 200 level will cost you $37. It's a bit pricey for college basketball in this area, but Providence College is the top dog on the Rhode Island sports scene, and the prices reflect this.

Parking in the various lots and garages in the area will cost between $7-$20 on game day. If you don't mind a walk of a few blocks, you can save yourself a significant amount of money. The lots closest to the arena are much more expensive. Many fans choose to park at the nearby Providence Place Mall, which will cost $5 for a game. The mall is connected to the Dunk via enclosed elevated walkways that take you through the Westin Hotel and Rhode Island Convention Center. You can walk the entire way without stepping foot outside, a definite plus on a cold Rhode Island winter night. The mall also contains many restaurants that fill up with Friars fans before and after the game.

Concession prices are also a bit on the high side for a facility in this area. Many fans choose to visit one of the many fine eating establishments in the area over dining at the game. With a little planning, a night at a Friars' game can be very affordable.

Extras    2

An extra point is awarded for the sense of history and accomplishment present at the Dunk. Banners hang from the rafters honoring the many successful Friars teams of the past. Final Four appearances, conference championships, and tournament appearances are all commemorated here. In addition, several retired numbers are honored with banners at the Dunk. Casual basketball fans may be surprised by some of the names of players who played in Providence, including NBA top 50 honoree Lenny Wilkens.

Providence College is remarkable for the effect it had on modern college basketball today. As the founding member of the Big East, today's super conferences can trace their roots directly to Providence College. In fact, in the front offices of the arena is the table where the Big East conference was formed. It is commemorated by a plaque. The great majority of the fans who visit here will never see this piece of history, but the Dunk played a very important role in today's college basketball landscape.

Final Thoughts

Providence College basketball is the king of the Rhode Island sports scene. With much of the state's attention focused on the professional teams in nearby Boston, the population of Rhode Island clings tightly to the Friars as their own franchise. The team's return to relevancy in the Big East conference has truly brought the buzz back to the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Energetic crowds are returning to watch the defending Big East champions. The Dunk, while not the biggest or newest arena you will find, is a solid mid-sized arena that fits in well with its downtown surroundings. Unless you come to Providence expecting to get a dozen donuts at the arena, you won't be disappointed.


When I was there in 2004, you couldn't find a donut in the place. Aa a fat guy, that drove me crazy. It appears from the photos that is no longer the case.

by CigarBoy | Mar 09, 2011 05:39 PM

Donuts now available

Indeed, there is now a Dunkin' Donuts inside the arena, so you won't have any trouble getting your fill. I myself would opt for the fried dough with powdered sugar though...

by jonah | Mar 10, 2011 03:54 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Slam Dunk

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 2

It doesn't get much more New England than the Dunkin' Donuts Center - the name says it all. Suffice it to say you won't find Starbucks in here. A solid all-around venue with not too many frills, the place has what you need as a fan, no more, no less. In Boston you've got your tourists and fair-weather fans; in Providence, you avoid the "just-there-to-be-seen" crowd and find yourself surrounded by other folks who are simply there to take in the game. The Providence College Friars basketball program has had its share of glory days, including the 1987 Rick Pitino-coached final four team (featuring Billy Donovan at point guard), as well as a Big East championship in 1994 and an Elite Eight trip in 1997. While the program has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2004, when they were led by current Los Angeles Clipper Ryan Gomes, they remain a popular attraction in the Ocean State.

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Local Food & Drink

Trinity Brewhouse  (map it!)

186 Fountain St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 453-2337


Murphy’s Pub  (map it!)

100 Fountain St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 621-8467


Shula’s 347 Grille  (map it!)

21 Atwells Ave

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 709-0347


The Capital Grille  (map it!)

1 Union Station

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 521-5600


Union Station Brewery Providence  (map it!)

36 Exchange Terrace

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274-2739


Local Entertainment

Providence Place Mall  (map it!)

1 Providence Place

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 270-1000


Trinity Repertory Company  (map it!)

201 Washington St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 521-1100


Providence Performing Arts Center  (map it!)

220 Weybosset St

Providence, RI 02906

(401) 421-2997



Providence Biltmore  (map it!)

11 Dorrance St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 421-0700


Hilton Providence  (map it!)

21 Atwells Ave

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 831-3900


Omni Providence Hotel  (map it!)

1 W Exchange St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 598-8000



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