A&E

Full circle

Open 'round the clock, local donut shops serve as community gathering spots

It's 6:30 a.m. at Chuck's Donuts in Redwood City. Most eatery owners are just beginning to open their doors, if they're open at all. But when you step inside Chuck's Donuts, it's already bustling.

Customers rush in and out while others find places to sit with their laptops and newspapers. Donuts are sitting on cafeteria-style tables, served up in red plastic baskets, and often accompanied by a cup of coffee. The staff works quickly behind the counter, taking orders, pouring coffee and bringing out fresh trays of donuts.

Based on the activity level, one might think that Chuck's has already been open for hours, which is absolutely correct. The shop never closes, operating on a 24-hour schedule.

Chuck's is one of few local establishments that is open around the clock. No-frills places like Chuck's and Happy Donuts in Palo Alto have long been neighborhood hangouts for all kinds of clientele, from hungry high-school students to blue-collar workers to those who are simply fond of donuts, at any hour of the day. As donut enthusiast Greyson Horst told a reporter, "I'm 99 percent vegan, 1 percent donut. I can't resist them."

— Ian Malone

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