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Donut Kraze goes beyond the basics with surprises

It was with a glazed-doughnut-laden-heart that Western New York bid farewell to Dickie’s Donuts in July 2011.

In its place, Dickie’s sugary spirit lives on in Donut Kraze. You can’t miss the funny sign – complete with a pink frosted/sprinkled donut icon – that beckons on Exit 1 on the I-190 just off the Thruway.

Redone with sleek counters, tiled walls and new tables and chairs, the place retains its quirky charm with what has to be the world’s shortest (and angled) drive-thru and the offbeat relationship between workers and regulars.

Food? Yes, in limited varieties, but sometimes that’s all you need when the coffee is fresh, and a doughnut reward awaits.

Breakfast sandwiches ($3.49) with sausage, bacon or ham, cheese and egg rival, if not surpass, the chains. For $4.49, get a sandwich, hash brown or doughnut with a medium coffee. A breakfast sandwich can be on a bagel, hard roll or English muffin, served all day.

Our toasted everything bagels with sausage were scrumptious and just what a breakfast sandwich should be – a hot, nice-sized patty with egg and American cheese encased in an excellent, crunchy bagel. The bacon version on an English muffin was equally good. If it’s offered next time, we vow to try the honey dipped sausage doughnut. Yes, sausage served on a split doughnut ($4.49).

Not that hungry? Regular bagels run $1.69, hard roll with butter $1.19, English muffin 99 cents. Danish are $1.89.

Lunch sandwiches are $4.49 with the basics like turkey, ham and egg salad. A turkey club and Chicago beef are $5.49.

Combo Special No. 1 includes chips and a drink ($5.99); No. 2 is a sandwich and soup ($6.49, add $1 for club and Chicago beef).

The chicken tortilla soup of the day ($2.99 bowl) was outstanding. Slightly thick with pulled chicken pieces, corn and carrots, the flavor was rich with just the right amount of heat. It reminded us of a white chili.

Chicago beef is a pulled beef with a nice, savory pot roast flavor. I had it on an everything bagel with melted cheese. The meatball sandwich special ($4.49) on a toasted hard roll had just enough sauce to keep it moist, but not messy.

Now to the soul of Donut Kraze.

Can you get the usual frippery? Yes, chocolate salted caramel, cappuccino, caramel macchiato ($2.99/$3.49); but they somehow seem out of place here. Straight-up hot, fresh coffee ($1.20-$1.70) is the way to go.

And, of course, donuts (99 cents, $5.49 half dozen and $8.99 a dozen).

Like a heartbeat, the dough hook drums the sides of the metal mixing bowl urging a selection. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Will it be a simple peanut stick, sour cream, glazed or chocolate honey dipped?

A sweet indulgence like toasted coconut cream, Boston cream, banana cream, raspberry crumble, apple spice, peanut kreme or strawberry shortcake?

In the end, the hedonist choice won. The “Krazy Donut” of the day: maple bacon ($1.59).

Filled with angel cream, it was topped with maple frosting and a generous amount of bacon. Heavenly, worth every calorie and not crazy at all.

Donut Kraze

Where: 406 Dingens St. (www.donutkraze.com)

Hours: 24 hours daily.

Extra: Call ahead to order any donut on the menu.

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