Breakfast at Dominique’s

For a few months in 2021, I had excitedly been anticipating the launch of Breakfast at Dominique’s Coffee Co. on Twitter. At that point, the online coffee business was about to launch and start off its first sales with three coffee blends that honored three classic film stars: Hedy Lamarr, Jean Harlow, and James Dean.

Once the business did launch, I was able to order all three coffees and enjoyed them immensely! (The Hedy Lamarr blend is my favorite.) Moreover, I appreciated the fact that they paid homage to classic Hollywood. The Lamarr coffee is a cinnamon bun blend, Harlow is a chocolate caramel blend, and Dean is a house blend. As of March 2022, Breakfast at Dominique’s has also launched a Joan Crawford Grand Hotel blend. The shop also sells metal straws.

Looking to learn more about the company, I interviewed owner Dominique Benedict. The interview is published below.

Annette: Breakfast at Dominique’s uniquely pays homage to classic Hollywood through coffee. What brought about this business idea?

Dominique: My branding itself pays homage to that period of time. The design, mystique, and classic glamour fascinate me to no end.

My products are created to pay homage to people, their lives, and inspire consumers to accomplish the goals they’ve been daydreaming about, but just haven’t found the courage to chase them. I have an interest in life stories and especially those who found success before social media, no matter the era or field during which success was found. I hope to shed light and keep people talking about stories of actors, musicians, athletes, and more as Breakfast at Dominique’s continues to grow!

Annette: How did you become interested in classic Hollywood?

Dominique: My mom and I have always loved Elvis. As I type this, an Elvis stand-up “chills” behind me as living room decor… haha! I guess I would say he was my first interest within the “Classic Hollywood” era, but I really started diving into the lives, stories, and films of Old Hollywood after watching 2015’s Life with Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan! It acted as a launchpad for my interest in James Dean and, well, now we’re here!

Annette: Currently, your coffee blends celebrate Jean Harlow, James Dean, Hedy Lamarr, and, more recently, Joan Crawford. What made you decide upon highlighting these particular individuals?

Dominique: I started planning out this concept with a list of Icons who fascinate me and tossed around combinations for the “perfect” launch collection. I was originally planning to launch with five icons, and two of them ended up falling through, which I’m going to call fate because my budget was already spent on the first three. Ha!

James Dean, as I mentioned in the previous question, posed as a particular inspiration for me. I was absolutely floored when I got the confirmation that I could move forward with a Dean blend and definitely called some people screaming in excitement! Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow, to me, were the absolute perfect ladies to round out this trio with because they forged their own paths in such unique ways. It really was a perfect balance between the icons that I felt, and still feel, so proud to bring to the world.

Joan Crawford’s is my latest, and oh my gosh, I am so proud of that. I was approached with the idea, we set up a meeting to discuss, and crafted this amazing idea to produce blends each year as a birthday celebration inspired by her roles throughout her career.

Annette: Certainly, no two blends are the same. How do you go about matching coffee blends to a particular star?

Dominique: Each icon is a different process. It all starts with the little things we know about an icon and their likes and dislikes. For example, James Dean’s favorite drink and ice cream flavor was coffee. Because of that, I wanted to keep him a straightforward, no-frills coffee that still impressed consumers through the unique combination of origins. Joan Crawford’s coffee is a play on the film it was inspired by, so we went with a breakfast blend. Hedy Lamarr’s is actually the one with the least sensible reasoning. When I went through the process of sampling different roasters from across the country, I absolutely fell in love with that blend and knew I had to pair it with a complex icon because that’s what it is – a complex profile of flavors that blend so beautifully. Jean Harlow’s coffee became a chocolate caramel because it is seductive, decadent, and charming, much like the characters she portrayed, but it’s also a sweet combination adored by everyone. I just felt it represented her quite well.

Annette: What do you think people should know about the classic Hollywood stars you are currently profiling with Breakfast at Dominique’s?

Dominique: Know they were real people with real lives. They weren’t perfect. They were flawed and troubled and beautifully imperfect. The way each one dealt with their particular issues, overcame them, and still lived a life so accomplished that we still talk about it today – that’s what I want others to take with them and learn from.

Annette: Of the coffee blends you are currently selling, of which one are you proudest? Which is your best seller?

Dominique: I’m proud of each blend. In a weird way, they’re like my babies. Over a year was spent planning the original trio, and I could gush over them for hours on end. The James Dean blend, however, will remain extra special to me. Learning about him changed my life, and opened a world of possibilities for me. I am eternally grateful to each estate that takes a chance and allows me to craft something like this in honor of each person.

The best-seller position varies depending on the week, it seems. Originally, the Jean Harlow blend outsold the others. The James Dean blend caught up quickly and surpassed it being my first to restock. Now, the Hedy Lamarr Blend has become my most consistent seller. Joan Crawford’s blend has only been out for a day, so we shall see how well it does!

Annette: Which stars do you plan to feature in the future?

Dominique: If I can swing it with my budget, there are 2 – 3 more icon blends coming this year, and all three are absolutely legendary. More to come on that when it’s all confirmed.

As for my bucket list, dream blends, or whatever you’d like to call it… Marlon Brando would be a DREAM. I relate to him immensely. It’s almost strange. Haha! Matthew McConaughey is also, in my eyes, an icon with a story so inspiring that I’d be honored to share. He has a speech in Dazed and Confused that changed my life and way of thinking so much that I got part of it tattooed on me. I admire him so much, so that’s a personal long-shot goal of mine. Besides them, I want to bring Mae West back into conversations again. I’ve been trying to find her estate information with no luck. I find her so fascinating, and not enough people know about her!

Visit the Breakfast at Dominique’s shop here.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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