Monday, November 13, 2006

Memories of the old Krispy Kreme in Charlotte

We used to have a very old Krispy Kreme in downtown Charlotte at Hawthorne Lane and Independence Boulevard.

My parents took me there when I was a little girl, and I continued to go through the years. It was hard to get to, because of the location, and it got worse when they took down the stoplight and closed the intersection because of freeway traffic. But I still went, even taking my own children there when they were very young.

I really liked that location, because it had that old 50's diner look to it. The stools and tables were always full, and there was a constant line going out the door...even if it was raining or freezing outside. Whenever the door opened, you would feel this RUSH of cold air from outside.

When I was little, I would stand and stare at all the different donuts in the display case, right at my level. I would place my hands on the display glass, and my eyes would be huge round circles. All the different donuts, with sprinkles, icing, or cinnamon just amazed me. And the smell of hot cocoa captured my mind. My mama would order a cup for me, and then only let me drink it by dipping it out with a plastic spoon and sipping it a little at a time. It was always SO HOT! But the chocolate tasted like heaven in my mouth.

We would always try to sit at one of the tables where you could look through a window to see the donuts being made. That was SO fascinating to me. The donuts would pop out of the bottom of a big stainless steel bowl, ride on a long conveyor belt, then take a bath in hot oil. When they finished cooking, they would ride other belts to different ports where they would either be coated with honey glaze, iced with chocolate or vanilla, or filled with cream. I could have sat there all day watching that.

When Mama said it was time to go, I would look around the store to see all the other customers, waiting for a table. The place was always packed with EVERY kind of person imaginable. I mean, EVERYONE could afford to buy a DONUT!

My childhood trips to Krispy Kreme were a highlight of my life. I was so sad the day they tore down that location. I felt like a part of Charlotte's character was being erased.

Now, we have other "newer" locations, but they just don't have the same "magic". Sometimes, you'll find a photo hanging inside that shows the old store, and I'll look at it with a wistful eye. Then, reality snaps me back when I hear someone saying, "I don't like the way that hot chocolate tastes. Yuck!" or "Excuse me, can I get a refund on this donut? It's not cooked evenly." I miss simpler times.

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