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The doughnut is nearly a perfect thing: chewy but with a hint of crisp; sweet but light; designed to be dipped, topped, dusted and sprinkled. The innovation is built in! Why must we take it to grotesque extremes? Shown, a box of perfectly acceptable glazed doughnuts at a Krispy Kreme in Charlotte, N.C., in 2004. (Nell Redmond/ Bloomberg News)

National and St. Louis area shops are celebrating National Doughnut Day on Friday, and you can reap the benefits. The national holiday has roots dating back to 1938 when the Salvation Army commemorated its "Doughnut Lassies" who had served doughnuts and drinks to soldiers during World War I.

These restaurants offer special deals to celebrate the day.

• Krispy Kreme: One free doughnut per customer; no purchase necessary

• Dunkin Donuts: One free classic doughnut with any drink purchase

• Walmart: One free doughnut per customer in the Walmart bakery; no purchase necessary

• Strange Donuts: Limited edition Strange Donuts T-shirts available. Proceeds from the shirt will benefit Strange Cares, Strange Donuts nonprofit counterpart.

Hardee’s: Free Froot Loops mini doughnuts with any purchase and printed coupon

• Daylight Donuts, 1965 Madison Avenue, Granite City: one free doughnut per customer

• Duck Donuts1651 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield: one free bare, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar doughnut per customer; no purchase necessary

Hanna Holthaus • 314-340-8104