Richard Hyatt

Richard Hyatt: Krispy Kreme is more than just doughnuts

You could call it a comfort food, but when you get down to it, a Krispy Kreme doughnut is closer to an obsession or an addiction.

Give me a box of Krispy Kremes and a quart of cold milk and I’m happier than Willie Nelson in a cannabis field. I can’t eat just one, and I can’t stop thinking about the past.

It’s a Southern thing. In grade school we sold them to raise money.

I set a sales record in the seventh grade but never reported how many dozen we ate rather than sold.

Why they trigger memories I don’t know.

It must be something in the glaze.

But it is comforting to know that Krispy Kreme remains the same. The recipe is unchanged. So is the taste and so are the cravings.

Even a 5-year-old knows these things, and it was she who brought us into the shop on Veteran’s Parkway.

She wanted to see them being made, but we were a little late. By then, they were hosing down the kitchen.

“You have to come in between 5 and 10 in the morning or 5 and 10 in the evening,” Nathan Suber told us.

Suber is a managing partner in the local shop. He served 12 years on Columbus Council.

Now he serves doughnuts, in partnership with his Uncle Henry. That would be Henry Aaron, a man most of us still consider baseball’s Home Run King.

Aaron has become a successful entrepreneur and among his holdings are Krispy Kreme shops here and in Atlanta. The local shop opened in 2004 but had to close for a while after a fire in 2010.

However, Suber reminded me that there were once shops on Manchester Expressway near Columbus Tech and on Macon Road.

They were so much a part of my early life in Atlanta that I assumed the company was founded in Georgia, but Suber said they started in Winston Salem, N.C. Company history says the recipe for their iconic glazed doughnut is the same as it was in 1937.

“I’m told the owner cut a hole in the wall of his bakery so he could sell hot doughnuts to his customers,” Suber said. Not much has changed for there is a drive-thru window on his shop, too.

Bucking common marketing strategy, they “milk the same cow,” specializing in one memorable product.

But one thing is different, and it stings. They now inform us that a glazed doughnut contains 190 calories and my favorite lemon filled doughnut has 339 calories. Those are numbers I prefer to ignore.

Like 260 other shops in the country, Suber marks Krispy Kreme’s 77th birthday on the 11th of July. Buy one dozen and get another for 77 cents.

You’re on your own for the cold milk.