Krispy Kreme, the Southern doughnut so prized by cruller cognoscenti, opens for business at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at its first Western New York location at 1250 Niagara Falls Blvd., across from the Boulevard Mall.
But even before that, members of Krispy Kreme's "Ambassador Club," people who know and extoll the chains' creations, will join local officials for a special tasting in the new, freestanding store from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
"We're really excited," said developer James A. Cosentino, who has the territory from Buffalo to Syracuse. "We have a store under construction in Henrietta, outside Rochester, and we plan two more stores in Buffalo, one near Walden Galleria and another somewhere in the Southtowns, before we head toward Syracuse."
Can the southern-fried sweet out-Horton Tim?
Could be. Those who've tasted hot, glazed doughnuts from Krispy Kreme claim they are the best they've ever tasted.
And the company, which went public awhile back, is booming -- although very careful about new franchises, preferring joint ventures with local developers like Cosentino, who owns two Radisson Hotel properties and 33 restaurants (TGI Friday's, Denny's and Papa Johns) in New York and Florida.
Four years ago, in Daytona Beach Fla., Cosentino -- who is trying to control his weight -- tried one Krispy Kreme and before he knew it had scarfed down four of them.
"I knew I had to get a franchise, and I worked on the company for three years until I got one."
Last year he began hiring employees -- 100 so far -- then sending them around the country to learn the doughnut business and the tricks of operating the special machinery that shapes, cooks and glazes the doughnuts.
"Actually, there are 15 different varieties of doughnuts," he said in a phone interview from Krispy Kreme's Texas corporate headquarters, "but the big draw is the 'hot light, when we pull fresh, hot, glazed doughnuts from our ovens."
The new store will have a 24-hour drive-through and a small sit-down space that will be open from 6 a.m to 11 p.m. daily.
"Initially we'll try to have the hot light on all the time," Cosentino said "but after that, we'll be baking fresh glazed doughnuts -- at a minimum -- from 5:30 a.m to midmorning and again from 5:30 p.m. until late evening."
The machines are in, and test runs were successful, with employees discovering just how tasty the product is, the Krispy Kreme franchisee said.
"Last week we did a test run and I decided I'd better only eat a half-doughnut. But with each batch I tasted another one. Good thing. That way I only ate two entire doughnuts. One of the guys ate 10 of them!"
On Tuesday, Western New Yorkers will be able to see how well their diets can resist the Krispy Kreme siren song.