Krispy Kreme Celebrates Birthday of Paducah Donut
By Matt McClain
PADUCAH, KY - Paducah doesn't have a store, but that's not stopping Krispy Kreme from celebrating the 77th birthday of their original glazed doughnut that apparently came from Paducah.

In a news release on their website, Krispy Kreme says "July 13, 2014 marks the 77th birthday of Krispy Kreme and the iconic Original Glazed doughnut.  On Friday, July 11, in celebration of this sweet occasion, Krispy Kreme is giving its fans the gift of a Dozen Original Glazed Doughnuts for 77 cents with the purchase of Any Dozen Doughnuts."

With the nearest Krispy Kreme in Evansville, IN and Nashville, TN, it still remains somewhat of a mystery on why Paducah doesn't have one of its own. Calls to Krispy Kreme's Media Department asking about their birthday, and why they haven't placed a sort of "heritage" store in Paducah have not been returned to West Kentucky Star.

Based in North Carolina, Krispy Kreme has hundreds of locations across the country and around the globe, but the apparent birthplace of Krispy Kreme, Paducah, remains Kremeless. 

The University of North Carolina Library Archives says "Vernon Rudolph opened his first doughnut shop in 1933 in the town of Paducah, Kentucky, with a recipe his uncle had purchased from a chef in New Orleans. Within a few years, he had moved his business to several other Southern cities, and was focused on selling his doughnuts wholesale to local grocery stores. He still had not found the perfect location to establish his business. It wasn't until the summer of 1937 that Rudolph set off for Winston-Salem, NC, with little more than twenty dollars in his pocket, two friends, and the intention of opening a new doughnut shop."

The Chronicle, Duke University's Student Newspaper in Charlotte, NC, has a bit of a different story written in 2003 about Paducah's role in Krispy Kreme:

"According to the Krispy Kreme website, Vernon Rudolph bought a doughnut shop in Paducah from a French chef named Joe LeBeau and inherited a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe that would become the magic formula still in use today.

But in the 1980s, the company sent one of its in-house lawyers to Paducah to find out a bit more about LeBeau and the company's roots and could find no traces of the French chef. Then in 1997, Carver received a call from a Paducah-based historian who wanted to know more about the company. Two years later, Carver went down to Paducah, where he and the historian were initially confounded.

"There was no doughnut shop in 1933," he says. "There was no Joe Lebeau."

"There was a Joseph G. LeBoeuf," he says, drawing out and emphasizing the 'was', "and we traced him to Louisville, Ky."

LeBoeuf worked as a cook on a barge on the Ohio river and was famous for three things--his flapjacks, his coconut cakes, and his light and fluffy doughnuts. Uncle Ishmael probably admired the recipe, Carver says, and LeBoeuf would have been flattered to share it--no secret transactions involved. Unfortunately, Joe LeBoeuf had passed away just 10 months before Carver Rudolph made it over to Paducah so there is still a bit of mystery regarding the exact origin of the recipe. As Carver explains, LeBoeuf was only making a few dozen doughnuts a day whereas his dad had to produce about 400, so, "I'm sure he doctored it right away... the proportions just don't work the same."

While you can celebrate Krispy Kreme's birthday in Paducah (and even buy a ready made dozen shipped into town made from one of their stores a few hours away), you won't be able to buy one from a store with a "Hot Now" sign lit up in Paducah. Unless officials with Krispy Kreme are willing to tell us, we may never know exactly why Paducah doesn't have a store of its own.

On the Net:

Read more from the University of North Carolina Library Archives by Clicking HERE
Read more from The Chronicle by Clicking HERE
Read more about Krispy Kreme's 77th Birthday by Clicking HERE

Published 10:00 AM, Thursday Jul. 10, 2014
Updated 10:22 PM, Friday Jul. 11, 2014

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