BizBeat: City suffers from deep-fried delicacy deficiency

Long before the fate of Twinkies came into question, Jefferson City faced a more critical dilemma: the lack of a doughnut shop.

With the passing of another National Doughnut Day (it was on Friday, for you health-food nuts), the issue weighs heavily on our city. Or at least on me.

One of the fond memories I have of growing up in Athens, Ga., is of Dad making a rare stop at the doughnut shop before dropping me off at school to let teachers and administrators deal with my sugar high.

When I first came to Jefferson City in 1991, I also enjoyed stopping by Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a baker’s dozen from owner Dave Brizendine for little more than $2.

It was pre-Internet and before the influx of coffee shops, but it was still a gathering place. Back then, locals chatted about the same things they probably chatted about in diners in the ’50s: everything from the weather to, well, debate about whether the city should get a convention center.

I remember Randy Allen being a regular customer, sitting on a bar stool and enjoying a cup before heading to Architects Alliance, where he worked before coming to lead the local chamber. (You would think he would now be in a position to facilitate the luring of such an establishment to our fair city. Hint, hint.)

But since Dunkin’ Donuts left in the ’90s, have we really had a decent doughnut shop? (I considered Donut Heaven to be Donut Purgatory at best.)

Don’t get me wrong. There’s no lack of doughnuts in Jefferson City. You can get them at grocery stores and convenience stores, among other places. Even Krispy Kremes, although they’re shipped in from who knows where. And for the record, I don’t necessarily need a doughnut. My doctor hasn’t yet discovered a fried-dough deficiency in my diet, but I think it’s better to be proactive than reactive.

So what’s the outlook for a standalone business to feature these deep-fried delicacies in the Capital City?

I gave both Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts a chance to weigh in, but it was so quiet you could have heard the moo from the sample-doughnut cow at Schulte’s (which, by the way, fries up a pretty darn good doughnut for a grocery store).

The one silver lining? Dunkin’ Donuts has previously told us that franchise opportunities still exist here in Jefferson City. We just need a business-savvy earlybird to step up to the deep fryer and announce: “Time to make the doughnuts.”

Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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