Dozens of doughnuts sit in rows in Happy Donuts' display case, enticing customers with their sugary goodness

Dozens of doughnuts sit in rows in Happy Donuts’ display case, enticing customers with their sugary goodness.

Routinely mocked as gluttonous and unhealthy, the stereotype of the American diet has its fair share of misconceptions.

However, many of us in the land of opportunity undeniably use our freedom to indulge in one type of junk food in particular: doughnuts.

From old-fashioned to chocolate glazed with rainbow sprinkles, these pastries are irresistible to anyone looking to fill their stomach with sweet, empty calories — that is to say, the majority of Americans.

In Palo Alto, the most well-known doughnut shop is Happy Donuts, sitting on El Camino Real near Baja Fresh.

Happy Donuts, a popular café for high schoolers and Stanford students, is one of only two Palo Alto culinary establishments open 24 hours, alongside the Subway on University Avenue. Happy Donuts’ constant availability attracts a wider demographic of customers, including insomniacs, students cramming for the next day’s exam and odd nocturnal characters looking for a bite to eat.

Even though it’s on a busy street, Happy Donuts is difficult to miss.

Light floods out of Happy Donuts' iconic exterior as late night customers sit inside.

Light floods out of Happy Donuts’ iconic exterior as late night customers sit inside.

Its striking exterior, painted in a unique shade of maroon, stands out amongst the various shops running along the street.  No matter the hour of day, various characters are likely to be seen inside the shop, ranging from oft-seen Stanford students to homeless  people looking to grab a sweet bite.

Although Happy Donuts is an extremely popular hotspot for students and adults alike, many customers dealt with a minor scare in early June when the then-management announced that they would be shutting down their Palo Alto branch.

However, new management was found within a week, and Happy Donuts lives on, much to the delight of Palo Altans of all ages.

Since then, Happy Donuts has maintained its reputation as a 24-hour hotspot for anyone looking for a tasty treat and study hub at any hour of the day.