Just sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee and thinking of what might be.

Just sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee and thinking of what might be.

In a year or two, that might be a Dunkin’ Donuts cup of coffee. Sai Jitta plans to open three stores in Eastern Jackson County, one in 2011 and the other two by 2013.

“We are looking in Independence, Blue Springs, Oak Grove and Grain Valley,” he said Monday. Ideal sites would have high traffic counts and would be on the right side of the road for morning commuters. (Think Starbucks on 23rd Street in Independence.) The company also is looking to expand elsewhere in the Kansas City area.

This got me to thinking about other chains with regional or national scope that have been pokey about coming to Kansas City, or, like Dunkin’ Donuts, should come back. Dunkin’ Donuts seemed to do well here for quite a while, then left many years ago and has recently come back with a couple of stores on the Kansas side.

 I’ve been a fan of Krispy Kreme for more than 25 years and had despaired of them ever coming to our fair city. Lo and behold, they’ve been on Noland Road for several years and even survived that promotion in which they gave away doughnuts when the Royals hit the ball. The Royals actually did one year, and that was the end of that.

For years I heard friends rave about Chick-fil-A, the company with those goofy “Eat Mor Chikin” cows. The Atlanta-based company opened in front of Independence Center some time ago. So there’s always hope.

Those ads on TV for Whataburger – usually on Big 12 basketball and football games on a signal orginating in Texas – might make you think the company is near or coming soon. Anything called Whataburger has to be worth checking out, right? Well, unless you’re willing to drive to Tulsa, you can forget it. The San Antonio company is in 10 states from Arizona to Florida, but not the happy half of Big 12 country.

Menards has been running TV ads – “Save big money at Menards” – in Kansas City for basically one store, in St. Joseph. The home improvement company, based in Eau Claire, Wis., also has a store in Columbia and is opening one in Sedalia, so maybe it’s creeping this way. (Sedalia? Yeah, but Staples opened in Sedalia before coming to the metro. Go figure.)

So I wonder: Even in these challenging times for retailers and restaurateurs, some are looking ahead and planning to grow. What do you think we need? OK, I use the word “need” advisedly. What’s out there that you think would raise your personal quality of life or at least satisfy your sweet tooth? How about a Whole Foods east of the Plaza? Valentino’s pizza is pretty good, but why are the nearest ones in Nebraska City, Neb., and Des Moines?

And dare I say it? What’s the deal with White Castle?

E-mail me at jeff.fox@examiner.net with your thoughts. Let’s start a movement.