Krispy Kreme Donuts

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Clockwise from top left: Boston Creme, Glazed Cluster, Chocolate Glaze and Sugar Glaze. (JOHN WOIKE)

This stretch of the Hempstead Turnpike between the Meadowbrook and Wantagh parkways is lined with fast-food restaurants, strip malls and the occasional office building. If not for the Long Island accents and the crazy driving, you'd think you were on one of the more congested stretches of our own Berlin Turnpike.

That may explain why Mike Dillon of South Windsor has spent the past three months living out of a hotel and working, happily, at the local Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store. He's a manager-in-training, and his first assignment is going to be one of those new Connecticut Krispy Kreme outlets.

Dillon doesn't know if he'll be working at the Newington store, which opens Tuesday on the Berlin Turnpike, or at the Milford location, which is scheduled to open next month on Route 1. But he's definitely psyched to be on the Krispy Kreme team.

"I get so excited, I've got to calm myself down sometimes," he says with a smile nearly as bright as his Krispy Kreme golf shirt. "It's a great thing."

Connecticut doughnut lovers certainly agree.

Given all the advance fuss, you'd think the arrival of Krispy Kreme in Connecticut, which is also the first foray by the North Carolina-based company into New England, was on a par with the Second Coming.

Perhaps for some it is. One recent caller to Brad Davis' radio show on WDRC-AM (1360) was so enraptured by Krispy Kreme doughnuts that she compared the experience to the Blessed Sacrament.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts get that kind of reaction.

"We get some 7,000 e-mails a month from customers telling us their Krispy Kreme experiences," says Brooke Smith, a company spokeswoman. "Some are recounting memories of going every Sunday with their grandfather after church or taking dates there on Friday nights. What customers tell us is not only about the doughnuts but also the experiences they've had there."

Smith says the adulation never becomes routine.

"It continues to amaze us that customers have such a great level of excitement and enthusiasm," she says.

Well, maybe some do.

Certainly Helene Fico of Glen Oaks, N.Y., couldn't quite believe a Connecticut food writer would drive all the way to Long Island for a doughnut.

"I was more excited about Wal-Mart," she admits.

Yet, for Fico and her two kids, this trip to the East Meadow Krispy Kreme is also a milestone. It's their first time inside the store. Usually, they buy their Krispy Kremes at gas stations or other outlets.

Why come?

"Because you get a chance for a hot one," Fico says.

Ahhh. A hot one.

Hot is Hot