Café Car: Dona Queen Knows Donuts Are the Best Dessert When Eating Korean

The Stop: SoDo.

The Vibe: City of industry. The SoDo light rail stop is surrounded by an Asian restaurant supply store, a landscape stone seller, a tire repair center and miscellaneous warehouses. Looming over the buildings are the Franz bakery sign and the mermaid atop Starbucks HQ.

The eatery options along nearby 4th Avenue South cater to the people who drive through on their way to pick up supplies or fix a flat. In other words, it's a whole lot of fast food.

The Café: Of course, there are the chains--McDonald's and Subway-- packed into the blocks near the SoDo station, but tucked into a retail center with a commercial sign store and a National Guard recruiting office is Dona Queen Donut and Deli (2445 4th Ave. S., 264-0503.)

Getting more specific, the "deli" part of Dona Queen is primarily Korean food. Sandwiches and fish 'n chips appear on the menu, but the special on the day I walk in is bibimbap--a bowl (more bucket really) filled with rice, meat, and veggies, and topped with an egg.

As I skim the menu, I start to salivate. Not from the lunch items listed, but the racks of fried dough in front of me. Fritters and old fashioneds, maple bars and chocolate-covered sprinkles beckon from behind the glass.

By mid-afternoon the donuts are pretty well picked over, but a single cream-filled remains, and because it's a personal favorite I order that as the finish to my enormous bowl of bibimbap. I settle in at a table, working through the bigger-than-planned lunch and watch Let's Make a Deal on the restaurant's sole television screen.

The bibimbap on its own isn't the best version of the dish I've had. But finishing up my meal with chocolate-covered, cream-filled, deep-fried wad of dough turns it into the kind of lunch that induces a deliciously delirious food coma for the rest of the day.

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