Krisp departure? Doughnuts roll out of town

Blame Dr. Atkins or the lack of foot-traffic on Emmet Street, but the unglazed truth of the matter is that Krispy Kreme's factory store will be closing its doors for good on Sunday, May 18. This may not come as a surprise to carb or stock watchers, since the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based doughnut company's stock has been plummeting this year due, many claim, to America's growing fear of refined white flour, sugar, and fat.

Though lighter than a silk thong, Krispy Kreme's signature Hot Original Glazed doughnut (whose recent claim to fame was a cameo in Sex and the City) packs a hefty 200 calories, more than 50 percent of which come from fat– would we crave them otherwise? Like bread and orange juice manufacturers, this quintessentially American company is fighting the low-carb frenzy with new products like low-sugar and– get this– no-sugar doughnuts, which it expects to launch later this year.

But that won't be soon enough to stop a half-dozen or so closures. In addition to the seven-year-old Charlottesville store, Krispy Kreme announced on May 10 that it'll be shutting down three other factory stores (Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis) as well as three satellite doughnut-coffee shops, including one in Winston-Salem, where the first Krispy Kreme glazed was served back in 1937.

Carbs or no-carbs, Krispy Kreme cited slow sales as the main reason for the Emmet Street closure. "The Charlottesville store was located in an under-performing retail area," says spokeswoman Amy Hughes. "We feel we can meet our customers' needs better through other retail outlets."

Yes, the doughnuts have become ubiquitous around town, but judging from the purchasing trends of many local customers– KK's flat white boxes pack UVA garbage cans during exam time– the famous doughnut theatre closed its curtains all too soon. Forgive me for saying it, but a hole will likely be left when Krispy Kreme closes. I wonder why they don't just serve protein-rich eggs along with their doughnuts– now that's a balanced American breakfast if there ever was one.


Givin' The Nook another look

 May 9 has come and gone, but the truth of the matter is it's always Mother's Day at The Nook. That's because– even though she just handed management duties over to her two daughters, Nancy and Jo Terry Shotwell is still the owner of Downtown Charlottesville's second-oldest restaurant (after Timberlake's) and ever-popular diner.

Born into the melodic Italian name Theresa Delores Maria Manganaro-­ until she married a Virginian named Shotwell– Terry Shotwell is a whiz inventing new recipes (i.e. lemon pepper chicken in a creamy garlic sauce atop fettuccine) and a fanatical cleaner. Her motto, evidently followed at The Nook, is "If there's time to lean, there's time to clean." That's why the 73-year-old engineer-cum-restaurateur can't seem to leave her Nook alone for a day at a time-­ even now that her daughters clearly have things under control.

When I dropped in on Friday, May 7, to meet Nancy, I was pleasantly surprised to find Terry at the next table, chatting with her husband and friends in between control checks in the kitchen. Clearly, she's still in command. "You have to make sure they dust off the pictures," she reminded her daughter Nancy, "and the booths. Do you know these are the original booths?" I nodded. Who would want this woman to disappear? She's clearly in her prime.

Opened in 1950 by John Williams and owned by Terry Shotwell since 1990, The Nook is a classic American, family-run diner that-­ both through its history and management-­ appears ready to withstand the competition from newer, more trendy eateries. With new evening hours (open 'til 7 during the week, 5 on weekends) and snazzy specials ("roast pork loin on herb ciabatta with pesto"), The Nook is entering a new era slowly, but not shyly.

Sharing management duties with younger sister Jo is Nancy Shotwell, a former Director of Customer Service Operations with Crutchfield. How is she adjusting to the transition?

"This is a lot more stressful than corporate life, but it's also a new adventure. The more we make of this business, the better. The Nook is our 401K."

Nadira Masoomi at Krispy Kreme