Long ago (starting maybe 60 years ago), in a land far away (Champaign, IL), there was a little hut (a glorified lemonade stand really), called Ye Olde Donut Shoppe. They made donuts daily: hand-cutting the dough and whipping up their own fudgey or mapley icing. The donuts were so delicious that they often sold out quickly and every afternoon (most afternoons? did this really happen?) the sign on the hut would magically change from ‘Ye Olde Donut Shoppe’ to ‘Ye Olde BBQ Pit.’
I have recounted this tale so often that I began to think that possibly I made it up. Ye Olde What? On which street corner? It’s not there now…. was it ever there?? And then I saw this:
Ye Olde Donut lives!! Ye Olde Donut is real!!! Ye Olde Donut has become a food truck with only a handful of donuts and some egg sandwiches??! Shame. Knowing this could not possibly be the conclusion of the story, I set out to track down the elusive donut selection of yore. There were rumors that the donuts were being made in the Law Building, but no one working at the Law Building knew anything about it (actual law librarian quote: “I don’t know anything about any donuts.”), and upon searching at 8:30am (8:30AM!!!) one day, all I found was this disapproving glare:
Donut judge me.
As it turns out, getting a donut from Ye Olde requires some wake-up and some know-how. Secret tip: it is best to place an order ahead of time by #1: calling their phone number or #2: going into the Law Building cafeteria and asking the cashier the cryptic question, “Can I place an order for donuts?”
And then, on your appointed donut pick-up day, you rise with the sun and head to the Law Building through the misty morning fog. It will seem locked, but don’t be deterred – at least one door will be open.
Make your way past the bronze uptights on the wall and head for the cafeteria. It will probably be deserted, or maybe there will be one lone lady making tuna sandwiches. If you tell her you are there for the donuts, she will know your name. Great customer service or mystical powers? Up for debate (at the Law Building! I just came up with that).
Each donut is $1 (cash) and if you are lucky (and early, like 7:30am early) there may be more donuts to add to your already boxed order/cardboard treasure chest (if you will). Apple fritters to rival Randy’s, chocolate iced cake that tastes exactly like “donut,” the mildest maple bars, specials of blueberry, red velvet, Devil’s food or some seasonal delight (the Halloween orange is even orange-flavored!)……
So there you have it. A legend to be passed on for generations to come….. And as my epic adventure came to a close and I headed out the door, the oracle cafeteria lady whispered, “Well they did used to make bbq.” (for real, and also I asked)
I KNEW IT!!! And I lived happily ever after.