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During a recent extended stay in my hometown, the routine of walking into town for a meal became a nightly ritual. Along this path, a Dunkin Donuts graced my journey, wafting the irresistible aroma of fresh donuts. The scent, though tantalizing and hunger-inducing, also stirred up memories from my youth—a time when another donut purveyor, Mister Donut, held sway in town.
In my younger days, my mother and I would embark on bi-weekly pilgrimages to Mister Donut. Taking our places at the counter, she'd enjoy a cup of coffee and a cruller, while I'd relish a plain donut paired with grape soda that was more ice than effervescence. Those moments etched themselves as paradisiacal interludes in my memory.
Mister Donut, brought to life by the vision of Harry Winokur, emerged as a formidable competitor to Dunkin Donuts. Yet, the narrative took a turn when the parent company of Dunkin and Donuts acquired Mister Donut. This corporate transition led to the majority of US-based Mister Donuts either transforming into something else or adopting different names. As the US landscape shifted, the legacy endured in a handful of Asian nations, where Mister Donut continues to thrive. However, for those on American soil, only a solitary outpost in Godfrey, Illinois stands as a vestige of this cherished past.
While a pilgrimage to this solitary location may be a distant dream for me, I wholeheartedly encourage those in its proximity to embark on this culinary journey—a gesture that embodies support for this vestige of nostalgia. And for those who find themselves far from Godfrey, or even Japan, the virtual realm offers a trove of Mister Donut memories, a digital treasure trove that keeps the legacy alive.