As you walk into Hwy 99 Donuts you get a distinct impression it was once a Dunkin’ Donuts. The architecture, the display case, the Photoshopped posters, and even the time sheet that still says Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite all this there is something unique about Hwy 99 Donuts. Its selection is different with a wider variety of doughnuts than a standard Dunkin’ Donuts.
When business is slow and you sit at the diner style counter there is a soft white noise of a cooler’s compressor and of mixers in the back. The air has a faint sent of coffee which is intensified when a fresh batch is brewed. The silence is broken every few minutes by a sharp tone whenever a car goes through the drive-thru.
The doughnuts are beautiful and well decorated, when bitten the frosting stays in place and the fillings are well distributed. They taste great with a certain something that makes them much better than a standard doughnut sold a grocery store or Dunkin’ Donuts.
The store goes through waves of slow or busy. Those who come in are regulars, ordering quickly and then having a conversation with the staff. Jokes are thrown about such as, if I didn’t come in every day she [the cashier] would call the police wondering if I was missing.
A man sits at the counter and gets into a conversation with the cashier. The conversation is mixed in tone. He is happy about a previously mentioned event with his wife. Yet is discouraged by the state of traffic in Eugene since there is a lot of road work currently taking place. For him the roadwork is a mixed blessing since he is trained as a road flagger, but the company that trained him didn’t hire him for their road crew. He hopes to find work soon and the cashier comforts him, by saying that he will find work and should not worry.
As the man leaves the store an elderly gentleman takes his place at the far end of the counter from the door. He settles in and begins drinking coffee. Later a group of men come in and begin referring to him as “sarge,” the group is obviously old war buddies who fought in a past conflict and the way they settle in shows that Hwy 99 donuts is a normal if not everyday meeting point for these old friends.