When I transferred to University of Wisconsin from Oklahoma City University this spring, there was only one thing that I was truly sad about leaving behind — Hurts Donut Company. The chain, based in Springfield, Missouri, has many locations scattered throughout the lower midwest, including a location in Oklahoma City and nearby Norman, Oklahoma.
A semester wasn’t complete without a late-night run to grab a donut milkshake (yes, a milkshake with a donut blended into it and another adorned on top) or a Hurts Donut-centric fundraiser. Despite opening a Middleton location in fall 2016 and breaking into the Madison market, the company wasn’t as recognized because many UW students do not possess cars on campus.
I ate my last “Slim Shady” donut, a chocolate cake donut iced with white frosting and M&M’s candy, with quiet resignation as I considered the sad fact it might have been my last Hurts Donut ever.
Needless to say, my eyes lit up when I saw a “Now serving Hurts Donut Company” sign outside of Espresso Royale at the 650 State Street location. I immediately postponed my quest to reach whatever event I had to cover that day and gazed at the case filled with about six different Hurts Donuts flavors.
The Homer Simpson flavor stood out the most among the available options. Like the iconic donut from “The Simpsons,” this donut is gigantic and topped with a signature pink colored icing and sprinkles.
Eventually, I settled on the peanut butter cup donut — a resplendent chocolate creation adorned with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I remembered why I was obsessed with Hurts Donuts with the first delicious bite. The chocolate cake donut is so filling and rich, while the coating is about as tasty as the donut is Instagrammable (read: this is food porn).
According to the cashier, who perhaps was judging me slightly as I excitedly ordered my donut, Espresso Royale began receiving the donuts early last week. The flavors come in waves, seemingly with Homer Simpson as a permanent feature.
When I came back in this week to do further research on the donuts, I noticed a couple of new flavors, including the yummy Twix donut that I eventually decided on, had replaced my peanut buttery selection.
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My friend decided on a Nutella donut on this trip, which is a donut that has enough Nutella in its center to feed two to three people. I wouldn’t be the best person to ask about this as I devour all of my Hurts donuts in less than five minutes.
While I’m sad Espresso Royale does not have the donut milkshakes I need to carry me through finals, or the full selection of the entire Hurts Donut Company line one would find at their locations, I am excited to see these wonderful, creative treats come fill a void in the Madison donut market and make their home on State Street permanent.