Heaven with a Hole
One of my fondest collegiate memories is of midnight runs for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We'd pile into my sorority sister's old T-bird and rumble through the streets of Lexington, Kentucky, homing in on the glow of the red neon sign flashing "Hot Doughnuts Now."

For the uninitiated: A Krispy Kreme is to ordinary doughnuts as Blue Bell is to lesser ice creams. I don't even like doughnuts; I just love Krispy Kremes.

The Krispy Kreme yeast-raised glazed doughnut is made from a jealously guarded secret recipe, born in 1933 as the brainchild of a New Orleans cook, Joe LeBeau, and Vernon Rudolph, a Paducah, Kentucky, farmer turned entrepreneur. (The original handwritten formula is locked safely in the corporate vaults.) The fledgling enterprise moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1937, beginning a Dixie tradition that's since achieved cult status.

Krispy Kreme now has an official "Minister of Culture," Mike Cecil, who evangelizes "without an ad budget" across the country. If you watched the movie Primary Colors closely, you noticed that one scene took place in the retro red, white and green decor of a Krispy Kreme store. ("Remember all the doughnuts on the shelves in the close-up?" Cecil asks proudly. "I stocked that display myself.") Krispy Kremes have also made guest appearances on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, ER, and -- of course! -- NYPD Blue; they've even been inducted into the Smithsonian.

For the first 50 years or so, you could only get Krispy Kremes south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi. But a careful eight-year expansion program is now bringing doughnuts to the faithful across the country. By the end of this year, you'll be able to find Krispy Kremes at 135 stores in 17 states.

Now you've been warned, so brace your belt lines: Krispy Kreme is coming to Houston. According to Cecil, Houston will have four locations by the end of next year and ten by the year after that. The first will be on the west side of town; other locations have yet to be determined, but at least one of those stores is guaranteed to be inside the Loop. ("That seems to be important to y'all," Cecil notes.)

Local franchisee Bill Borborra and his four partners will open the first Houston outlet in mid-November on Westheimer, two blocks east of Dairy Ashford. Over 300 Houstonians have already asked to be added to Borborra's invitation list for the opening ceremonies. If you want to be among the first in Houston to see the "Hot" light go on, register at the Krispy Kreme web site, www.krispykreme. com.

-- Margaret L. Briggs


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