Thursday, June 21, 2018
Dining

Krispy Kreme lights St. Petersburg's only HOT NOW sign

ST. PETERSBURG — The "hot now" light is on.

The newest store in the Krispy Kreme chain officially opened at 6 a.m. Thursday at 9100 Fourth St. N.

About 75 people had lined up by the time the doors were unlocked for a chance at free doughnuts. Fifty of the first to enter earned a free dozen every month for a year. The first in line, Richard Coley, 61, will get a free dozen every week for the next 52 weeks.

"I've always enjoyed Krispy Kreme doughnuts," said Coley, who had waited in line since 3 p.m. Wednesday, "and it makes for some variety from my Chick-fil-A."

Coley, who wore a Chick-fil-A T-shirt Thursday morning, eats at the chicken restaurant for free six days a week — a perk he has earned in the course of attending 109 of the chain's openings around the country.

He showed up at Krispy Kreme with just a folding chair, a copy of the spy novel Act of Treason and a rain tarp he never needed.

Other eager customers trickled into line throughout the evening; two more joined the crowd about 3 a.m. Thursday, with most arriving closer to 5 a.m.

When the "hot now" sign lit up at 6 a.m. the crowd cheered as they moved slowly into the store, greeted by the familiar scent of the hot treats.

Owner Bob McCoy, son of the original Florida franchisee who opened the Tampa store in 1952, handed customers certificates for the free monthly dozen as they entered.

"Some places that have never had a Krispy Kreme in their market, they have people camping out for three or four days when a store opens," he said.

Richard Buzzo, second in line, secured his spot at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"I always liked Krispy Kreme as a kid,'' he said. "My mom and dad would take me over to that one at Central Plaza when I was little."

Coley left the store with a free Krispy Kreme T-shirt and a dozen hot doughnuts to enjoy at home.

He likes the free stuff, of course, but also the camaraderie from grand opening experiences.

It's part of a seven-year routine. Around the time he got cancer and lost his job as a computer technician, Coley vowed to set a fast-food world record.

"Unofficial," he said.

He has traveled the country in his old Geo Metro, determined to attend more Chick-fil-A openings than any other American.

He has made it to 109 in 26 states. He was one of the first 100 people in line in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Flagstaff, Ariz., where he won free meals for a year.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-9795.

   
Comments
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Published: 06/20/18
Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

ST. PETERSBURGThere are a lot of decommissioned gas stations across the country. Some have been reinvented, cleverly made over as upscale restaurants. There’s Big Star in Chicago, Elaia & Olio in St. Louis, Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Va., even Bi...
Published: 06/18/18
From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

I know we have three more months or so of hot-as-dog-breath Tampa Bay summer, but let’s start things off on the right foot with some frozen treats. Ice cream is on my mind after a recent visit to Disney Springs, when I found love in a perfect scoop o...
Published: 06/13/18
Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

LAKE BUENA VISTA Disney Springs has swiftly become a playground or trial balloon for the country?s celebrity chefs. Art Smith, Masaharu Morimoto, Rick Bayless, Guy Fieri, Tony Mantuano, Wolfgang Puck and others are already on board, with names like ...
Published: 06/13/18
A hook-to-table food experience in Tampa Bay

A hook-to-table food experience in Tampa Bay

Going fishing is like doing your taxes. If it’s something you dive into just once a year you end up relearning the whole thing every time. Jake Whitfield eyed me, no judgment, and decided to cast for me the first time, my little wriggling greenback z...
Published: 06/11/18
Ceviche closing in South Tampa

Ceviche closing in South Tampa

TAMPA – The Ceviche restaurant at 2500 W Azeele St. is closing.Caledon Concepts, which operates Ceviche restaurants in Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg, said the restaurant’s last day at that location will be June 16."The expiration of the lease for...
Published: 06/08/18
Deal alert: Hard Rock Cafe has 71 cent burgers for its birthday

Deal alert: Hard Rock Cafe has 71 cent burgers for its birthday

SAVE THE DATE: HARD ROCK B-DAYOn June 14, 1971, the founders opened their own American-style diner in an old Rolls-Royce dealership and called it Hard Rock Cafe. They had a vision to combine music, memorabilia and all-American fare. Here’s a tip: To ...
Published: 06/06/18
Restaurant review: El Chapo Taco fills a need with fun, friendly Mexican spot in Gulfport

Restaurant review: El Chapo Taco fills a need with fun, friendly Mexican spot in Gulfport

GULFPORTWhat do we know about El Chapo, a.k.a. Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán? He ran the Sinaloa Cartel, even from prison, and first appeared on Forbes’ billionaires list in 2009. He’s 5 feet 6. He’s the father of 12 or 13 children. He has a talen...
Published: 06/04/18
Updated: 06/07/18
National Doughnut Day is back. Where to get free doughnuts, doughnut beers and more

National Doughnut Day is back. Where to get free doughnuts, doughnut beers and more

Believe it or not, Friday is already June 1, which means National Doughnut Day is back with sweet deals.The day was created to celebrate the Salvation Army’s "Doughnut Lassies," who served the treats to American soldiers on the front lines during Wor...
Updated one month ago
A look at how Tampa steakhouse Ocean Prime keeps its menu fresh

A look at how Tampa steakhouse Ocean Prime keeps its menu fresh

TAMPAThe executive chefs all fly into Columbus, Ohio. Before they step into the kitchen, before they sharpen a knife, they sit down and have a meeting, an open dialogue. They examine the whole menu: What’s working? What needs fixing? And then they ge...
Updated one month ago