Few foods excite me less than doughnuts. Far too often have I been tempted by the mere idea of a doughnut only to be let down; the actual experience of eating a doughnut never coming close to exceeding the fantasy. For years I have simply gone without and the occasional free doughnuts at the office no longer entice me in the slightest; no willpower is necessary when there's no allure. But I have come to realize that, as with all things, there is always some master of the craft hidden out in the world who is capable of transcending your expectations. Whether they bring a novel twist to an old idea or just get it right; these virtuosos are capable of changing your mind about something you thought was settled.
I'm going to ask you to do something that, for a multitude of valid reasons, you would be absolutely opposed to under normal circumstances but, my dear reader, I assure you that these are not normal circumstances. I want you to wake up somewhere between 5am and 7am on any day but a Monday. Already I can feel your protests but I urge you to continue. Next I want you to grab some cash (this is important) and drive to the Arlington Expressway and get off on University Boulevard going north. Again, I completely understand your reticence, of all the things I could ask you to do, this could very well be the furthest from what you had in mind. Now, about a mile up on the right you will see a Gate gas station. Attached to this gas station is an unassuming little place called The Donut Shoppe. Go inside, buy some goods with the cash you brought, and leave a changed and enriched person.
Looking at the case of sweet indulgences, it's hard not to get excited. Everything looks amazing. There's even a certain quality to the shape and sheen of the donuts that you don't see at the bigger chains. Given the variety and personal tastes, I'd be hard pressed to make suggestions but I would recommend adding a chocolate eclair and a honey stick to that bag of calories. The staff members are exceedingly friendly and are more than willing to answer any questions you might have about their wares. You may even be lucky enough to get a small sample. Whatever the final contents of your brown paper bag(s), the one guarantee I'm confident in providing is that disappointment won't be an ingredient.
The car ride home, right after walking through the door, later that day, and finally a few times the next day; these were the many times I was unable to prevent myself from indulging in my decadent bounty. My iron clad will was no match for these fried treasures. Just as Cami Cakes had allowed the word "cupcake" to enter my dietary lexicon, The Donut Shoppe had simultaneously destroyed my previous conceptions about the doughnut craft and reaffirmed my decision to steadfastly refuse anything less than their supreme artistry.
Get up early, because when they're out they close the shop. Do not forget to bring cash. Prepare yourself for a mind altering experience. Neither doughnuts nor the city will ever seem the same to you again. Be careful. If you do choose to eat and drive, please remember to keep your eyes open, however hard it may be.
The Donut Shoppe
1721 University Blvd N
Jacksonville, FL 32211