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Freddies Doughnuts is back ... in a small way

Sarah Hemingway staked out the corner of Hertel and Norwalk. Her father, Robert, was watching at Hertel and Commonwealth.

There was no way they were going to miss the first Freddies Doughnuts Buffalo has seen in 28 years.

When Deborah Frandina arrived at House of Jacob, 1453 Hertel Ave., with a tote full of Freddies Doughnuts boxes, the crowd of about 15 people that had gathered on the cold, gray morning brightened up and formed a line.

Frandina, whose son Fred acquired the recipes and rights to the famed Buffalo doughnuts, started with an apology. Fred said these doughnuts weren't at their best, she told the crowd, so everyone could have one for free.

Fred Frandina is bringing back Freddies Doughnuts, a half-dozen at a time. (Freddies Doughnuts)

Robert Hemingway, having arrived at House of Jacob after his daughter alerted him to impending doughnuts, wasn't talking any chances. He bought two boxes, each containing a half-dozen, for $6. Outside he bit into one, powdered sugar on his chin. "She said the quality would be better tomorrow, but these are good. Look at that. These aren't all air. "

He took another bite.

[Gallery: The return of Freddies Doughnuts]

"This is great," he said. "You want a bite? Now someone has to get the recipe for Paul's Pies."

The doughnuts were gone in minutes, with Frandina saying her son was on his way with more. Those were swiftly gone, too. Fred Frandina's plan was to offer Freddies from the back of a bicycle pedaling west on Hertel to Elmwood.

Torn-Down Tuesday: Freddies Doughnuts, 1989

From the look of the crowd Friday morning, he might not have to hit the bricks to sell all he can make. The 50 boxes of doughnuts were gone in under an hour. Frandina said he will be back at House of Jacob with more doughnuts on Saturday morning. The six-doughnut boxes contain a mixture of doughnuts, in flavors such as classic glazed, blueberry pancake, vanilla dip and cinnamon sugar old-fashioned.

"I was very happy with our first day, a great response," Frandina said "We're working out the kinks, and we're going to make more doughnuts for tomorrow. People are loving it."

The batches are small now, made in a rented church kitchen, but he hopes to expand production as he gains more experience. He will be posting updates to Freddies Doughnuts' Facebook page if people would like to follow his progress.

People like Keith Threat will be waiting. He was 6 when Freddies closed. "That was my first doughnut," Threat said. "I remember the location like it was yesterday, the doughnuts being made behind the glass, waiting in the hallway with my mom."

She has died, he said, but when he saw the article about Frandina's efforts, he knew he had to be here, waiting for Freddies again. "I said, 'I'm gonna do this for mom.' "

Lawrence Moore of Buffalo waited in line for an hour for a Freddies Doughnut. He thought they did not look like the originals, but tasted like them. Doughnuts ran out on day two by 9:45 a.m. Saturday, April 22, 2017. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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