Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10

After two and a half years, the sweet, sugary smell of fresh glazed doughnuts finally returns

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Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
The new store on Thursday night as final prep for Friday’s ribbon-cutting was underway.

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

As a longtime resident of Atlanta’s Central Park neighborhood, even if I hadn’t received the media release about Friday’s Krispy Kreme ribbon-cutting event at its historic Atlanta location at 295 Ponce de Leon Avenue, I would have known the 59-year-old business was back. On Friday morning, for the first time in two and a half years, there was once again the sweet scent of sugary deep-fried goodness wafting in the air out my back door.

Standing in front of the brand-new building at the 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony for local press, Krispy Kreme district manager Tracy Bradley excitedly told the assembled, “We are gathered at one of the most historic sites in Krispy Kreme’s 86-year history to share an epic, joyful moment. This is a great day for Krispy Kreme, a great day for Ponce, and a great day for all of Atlanta.”

Bradley’s words were routinely cut off by equally excited drivers, honking their happiness to the assembled Krispy Kreme officials and store staff gathered out front.

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
After the ribbon was cut, the Hot sign was lit for the first time. Holding the scissors is District Manager Tracy Bradley alongside General Manager Devin Stephens.

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

The Ponce location first opened in 1965 and since 2016 has been owned by basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq was out of the country Friday and unable to attend the festivities). In February and July 2021, the iconic shop was set on fire in a pair of still-unsolved arsons. The old building was demolished, but the original 1965 historic sign was saved and has been fully refurbished. For generations of Atlantans, the Krispy Kreme location, along with its signature marquee on Ponce is etched into the city’s history—in her 2011 book Burial for a King, former Atlanta magazine editor Rebecca Burns noted that on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral on April 9, 1968, the Ponce Krispy Kreme store donated 150 dozen doughnuts to Central Presbyterian Church, whose members were tasked with providing breakfast for 5,000 mourners.

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
The Ponce staff stands by the refurbished sign.

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

The location will officially open to the public at 6 a.m. Tuesday, October 10. One major shift for the new store? Unlike the old shop, this one will not be open 24 hours. Store hours are Sunday-Thursday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“Our hearts were broken when this original shop was lost due to arson over two years ago,” Georgeanne Erickson, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer told Atlanta magazine. “Krispy Kreme has had the pleasure to be a part of the Ponce community for generations. So to be back in this community is a privilege.”

Inside the new 4,000-square-foot shop is an enhanced “doughnut theater experience” where customers can once again drool behind the glass as they watch the shop’s iconic original glazed doughnuts being made, from the moment the dough gets dropped in the hot oil, through the hot glaze waterfall to the boxing area. There’s a merchandise area (filled with everything from ceramic mugs to neon Hot Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Now trucker hats) and a bright, natural light-filled dining room complete with a mural of the original building. Outside is an expanded drive-thru (that is already hawking its seasonal Pumpkin Spice doughnuts).

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
Inside the new Ponce Krispy Kreme

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
Inside the new Ponce Krispy Kreme

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

Greg Clay, head of constituent services in Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’s office, is a fourth generation Atlantan who has been coming to the Ponce shop since he was a kid. “This location is a part of the fabric of our culture,” Clay told Atlanta. “When you think of landmarks in this city, this is a true legacy property. Everybody knows what you’re talking about when you say, ‘Turn right at the Krispy Kreme.’”

“This revitalization is important to this community. Coffee shops are gathering places,” Clay continues. “This Krispy Kreme is both a vital asset to this community, but also a part of its new growth as well. As growth continues along the Ponce corridor, this Krispy Kreme is an important part of that story.”

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
Inside the new Ponce Krispy Kreme

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

Rejoice! The iconic Ponce Krispy Kreme returns on October 10
A wide selection of merch is available.

Photograph by Richard L. Eldredge

The Ponce shop’s new general manager Devin Stephens moved to Atlanta from Statesboro, Georgia, where he managed the store there. “This location has been through a lot, and my goal is to keep this store in the condition it’s in now,” Stephens says. “For me, it’s all about making this community happy. There’s a lot of history on these grounds.”

So how is Stephens preparing for Tuesday, when swarms of Atlantans will once again flood the parking lot and drive-thru when that iconic Hot Now sign snaps back on? “Well, I started by hiring a lot of people!” Stephens said with a laugh. “We’re getting fully trained now so that we’re ready for Tuesday. I can tell you the employees are as excited as the customers. We’re ready to get this show on the road!”

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