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The Blue Door Cafe & Bakery | Cuyahoga Falls, OH

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The Blue Door Cafe & Bakery
(Facebook)
1970 State Rd. (map it!)
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223
(330) 926-9774
Open Wed-Sun, 7a-3p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N

Visited: Friday, May 16, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

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Thanks to my friend Tom over at Exploring Food My Way, I’ve been hearing a lot about Blue Door Cafe & Bakery over the years. Because of Tom, my Facebook feed is regularly filled with photos of French toast, croissants, and benedicts. It’s a beautiful thing. And finally we got to experience it firsthand. On the road for a weekend trip, my family and I stopped in Cuyahoga Falls to track down the Blue Door. And find it we did: a one-story gray, nondescript little building with a jam-packed parking lot and, yes, a bright blue door.

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As the full parking lot hinted, the inside was busy with customers in line for the bakery or waiting for tables in the cafe. We were seated pretty quickly at a table near the door (which got breezy on a surprisingly chilly May day).

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The menu features the blue door again, with the cafe’s mission statement straight up front.

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I’ve learned from watching Tom’s photo feed that Blue Door is true to the “ever-changing” tenet. The kitchen likes to experiment with specials and ingredients. This is usually a good and bad for regular diners: the downside is that you’re conflicted between choosing your old favorites and the daily specials; the upside is that you can always find something new to try at your old haunt.

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We worked our way through some specials and some regular items. From the specials menu we started with a refreshing Blueberry & Basil Lemonade, balanced nicely between sweet, tart, and slightly herbal. It contains all the title ingredients, plus a hint of vanilla.

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Since the bakery element is clearly a stand-out, we made a couple passes at the beautifully stocked shelves and sampled a two items.

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It’s hard for me to ever pass up a donut, especially when it also has the word “brioche” in the title.

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So we gladly welcomed a custard-filled brioche donut to the table, and proceeded to decimate it. It was perfectly soft, full of custard, and generously dusted with powdered sugar – all without being two sweet. That’s the mark of a good donut: it’s not just a sugar bomb, but it balances the sweetness with other flavors.

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We’ve also heard tell of the croissants, and our server recommended a ham and cheese croissant.

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The croissant was stellar: golden and flaky, with just the right amount of ham and cheese inside.

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By then breakfast began arriving. We began with the corned beef hash with two eggs and a choice of breads from the bakery. The potatoes were thoroughly cooked and mixed with a generous helping of a very smoky brisket. The brisket was very tender, although its smokiness tended to overwhelm the entire dish.

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The eggs are cooked to order, and for that day they were willing to poach them; they were served separately in a little cup, and unfortunately were a little vinegary. They were poached properly, but I think the bottom one sat in the cup a little longer and cooked through more.

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We chose the English muffin (homemade, of course) as our bread. It was large and dense – very different than store bought Thomas’ muffins - and topped with a tart blueberry jam (made in house).

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We also picked the Monte Cristo, in order to taste their fabled French toast in action.

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As far Monte Cristos go, it hit the mark. It was filled with the usual suspects, sandwiched between two (maybe a little too) giant but soft and custardy pieces of French toast. It used some of the same ingredients as the ham and cheese croissant, and came with a side of house-made potato chips.

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The real stand-out was the blueberry pancakes, which were up there with some of the best I’ve had. They’re made with yogurt, which results in flapjacks that are big, fluffy, and browned nicely. Topped with Creme Chantilly (a fancy term for lightly sweetened, real whipped cream), fresh blueberries, and Ohio maple syrup, it’s really hard to beat.

During our meal, owner Michael Bruno stopped over to say hi. He answered our questions and chatted about some of their baked goods. On our way out, we picked up some bakery items to go. Michael recommended their brownies (which were dense and fudgy); we also bought another brioche donut and the last ham and cheese croissant. On the recommendation of the server at the counter, we purchased a pair of moist almond cupcakes. All of them were winners; we had to hide them from the kids so they weren’t devoured immediately.

Consensus? Blue Door is clearly a gem in the Akron-area dining scene. As if I didn’t know that from Tom’s posts and pictures already, just the reaction on social media as I posted photos on Facebook or Instagram (/subliminal message) confirmed it. Pretty much anyone who is from the area or travels there regularly is familiar with the cafe and bakery. Blue Door is a popular hangout and a destination. The sincerely and lovingly made food is reason enough to visit, on top of an adventurous rotating menu, a mission of supporting local and responsibly made products, and the genuine enthusiasm of the owner and employees.

The Blue Door Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Photos: Cravings Carryout Cafe relaunch

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One of our favorite discoveries from last year – Cookie Cravings Bakery – celebrated a re-brand and a revamp this past weekend. Newly christened Cravings Carryout Cafe, the cafe has new signage, branding, and a new menu. They dropped the “Cookie” from their name because they do so much more. The cookies are still there, but the focus is now on sandwiches, wraps, and  other sides, all highlighting the neighborhood carry out element.

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Owners Matt, Lindsey, and Joan Tewanger have made some small changes to the space. You’ll see new equipment, shelves, and menu boards.

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This includes a new retail shelve with T-shirts, granola, plus growlers and bags of Thunderkiss Coffee.

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The boards showcase the new menu, replete with rolls, burritos, sandwiches, and sides.

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There’s iced and hot coffee, plus juice and tea. I completely forgot to photograph the third board that highlights specials.

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We stopped in about half an hour after opening on Saturday, and already they were busy. Matt was working his magic in the back.

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Cravings added some more seating in the side yard, with has great promise for spring, summer, and autumn breakfasts, especially when there’s a welcoming fire in the fire pit.

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We knew we were going to visit over the weekend, but the promise of bronuts pretty much guaranteed we’d come searching. What’s a bronut? It’s a brioche donut. Cravings makes killer brioche, and they’ve mixed the dough with lemon and rosemary, fried it, and iced it. The donuts were perfectly soft, fluffy, and warm. Ours disappeared in a matter of seconds.

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And then it was on to the sandwiches. Oh, the sandwiches. They were beautiful and delicious, stacked high on golden brioche rolls.

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We started first with the Breakfast Roll, featuring cheddar, bacon, a fried egg, and a rosemary aioli. We barely managed to sneak some bites while our boys devoured it. Our five-year-old (who is not picky, but knows his stuff) said it was one of his favorite sandwiches.

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We also snagged a plate of the sausage biscuits and gravy, made using Bluescreek Farms sausage. It was thick and chunky, served with a soft biscuit, and just what you would ask for in biscuits and gravy.

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Our favorite of meal was the BLT. Like the breakfast roll, it was served on a beautiful brioche roll.

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The sandwich was stacked high with thick-cut bacon, greens, a basil mayo, and these stunning tomatoes. We did not expect to find tomatoes like this in March. Usually  you get those sad, tasteless, translucent ones in the winter, but these were dark and red. Matt roasted them to perfection.

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With the firepit going in the side yard, they set out a cute little smores kit.

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So after brunch we enjoyed some smores roasted over the fire.

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All in all, it’s an exciting new stage for the restaurant! Congrats to Matt, Lindsey, Joan, and the crew!

If you want to visit & connect:
Cravings Carryout Cafe
227 E. Third Ave. (off Fourth St. in Italian Village)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 725-0090
Find them on Facebook and @CravingsCafe614
New hours are Tues-Fri, 11a-7p; Sat & Sun, 9a-3p

Dan the Baker | Columbus, OH

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Dan the Baker (Facebook / @thebakerdan)
1028 Ridge St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 928-9035
Open Mon & Tues, 9a-5p; Wed, Fri, & Sat, 9a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Visited: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

Daniel Riesenberger, aka Dan the Baker, has long been selling his breads, croissants, and pastries at farmer’s markets around town. I first encountered his goods at a workshop at Wild Goose Creative‘s Too Many Cooksa couple years ago, where he taught everyone how to roll sourdough croissants. We’ve been following Dan’s work ever since then, finding him at the Clintonville and the Worthington farmer’s markets. I also keep seeing his name pop up on restaurant menus, as his breads and pastries are turned into sandwiches and desserts.

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Well, finally Dan and his team have opened up a small retail space attached to their production kitchen in Grandview. The space is a little hard to find, down an odd side street off Dublin Road (just east of the Grandview Avenue intersection), but it’s a bright, clean little space with a few tables, decorated in blues with light wood accents.

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The space includes a small counter and a few shelves. The main shelf behind the counter shows off Dan’s picturesque breads. Serious, follow him on Instagram to get a daily dose of his breads. We ended up picking a loaf of sunflower flax seed bread (bottom center) which was simply delicious. He preferences local and organic ingredients in his bread. The price point is a little higher than grocery store bread, but the flavors, textures, and overall quality are hard to beat.

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He also sells smaller pastries, croissants, and scones.

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Plus cookies, shortbreads, and “tiles.”

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That day there were some fresh and crisp apple galettes.

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Dan also offers full coffee and tea service, with a variety of loose leaf teas.

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He also serves espresso, lattes, macchiatos, cappucinos, V60 pour overs, and more, using beans from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Columbus’ Cafe Brioso.

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I had a smooth and creamy shot of espresso to go with the galette.

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The cafe space has a window into the pastry kitchen. It was dormant when we visited, but I can imagine it’d be some fun watching while enjoying coffee and a snack.

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Daniel took us through their production kitchen, too. The space used to be owned by The French Loaf, so when Daniel took it over, it was mostly ready for production. He added some equipment, including a new oven, but it was good to go as a bakery!

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We saw delicious savory croissants.

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And cheddar bacon scones.

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Around the kitchen you can see the remnants of Daniel’s small start, like labeled equipment from his time baking out of the Hills Market’s kitchen.

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As expected, they were busy. We found Colin scoring loaves of sourdough bread and loading them into the oven.

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Daniel and his crew are still getting started with the shop, but they’re already doing quite a bit with it. They’re open most days of the week, and look for an official grand opening soon. You can stop in to grab a snack, or hang out with a pastry and some coffee. It’s a quiet little spot, perfect for some reading, studying, or conversation with friends!

Dan the Baker on Urbanspoon

Clark’s Donuts Plus | Cranberry, PA

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Clark’s Donuts Plus (Facebook / @ClarksNo1Donuts)

7150 U.S. 322 (map it!)
Cranberry, PA 16319
(814) 677-7336
Open Mon-Fri until 3p; Sat until 12p (they open early while donuts are still being made)
Accepts cash & debit/credit

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Over Thanksgiving we were taking the kiddos to ride the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad, a little historic train that rolls you through the beautiful Pennsylvania hills and past the world’s first oil well. But we can’t just go ride the train, especially when we find there are donuts nearby!

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My father-in-law knows the area well, and had seen cars lining up outside Clark’s Donuts many times, so we joined the throngs to see what all the fuss was about.

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It didn’t take long to find out why. Trays of donuts, that’s why. Trays and trays of fresh donuts.

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Note the “Plus” in the bakery’s name. That’s because Clark’s Donuts Plus is the secondary location of – you guessed it – Clark’s Donuts in nearby Titusville. The Plus store has been open for over 20 years, an employee told us, while the original Clark’s has been around for nearly 75 years.

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Like a true old-school donut shop, they’ve been getting by on the strength of their donuts and not the sophisticated digs or strong social media presence. People know about their donuts because of good old fashioned word of mouth.

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I mean, what’s not to like about seeing trays of donuty goodness? Clark’s was well-stocked, even mid-morning with a steady flow of customers.

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They had a tremendous variety of donuts, too. Cake donuts, fritters, giant bearclaws…

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…longjohns overflowing with creme.

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We boxed up a sample of nearly everything, because, you know… research.

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We didn’t meet a donut we didn’t like, but the longjohns were impressive, not to mention these iced donuts with toasted coconut.

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And these maple-iced beauties that were light and fluffy.

I love knowing that old donut shops like Clark’s are still thriving. The American culinary landscape would be poorer without them. So if you find yourself traveling through the Cranberry area, pick up a box. And grab one for me, too.

Clarks Donuts Plus on Urbanspoon

Tuula’s European Cafe | Dublin, OH

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Tuula’s European Cafe
(Facebook / @TuulasEuroCafe)

3856 Hard Road (map it!)
Dublin, OH 43016
(614) 923-3083
Open Mon-Sat, 9a-6p; Sun, 10a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

There are a lot of restaurants out that that go by someone’s name. Sometimes the name points to their history, like Jack’s Sandwich Shop or Dan’s Drive-In named after the original owners. Sometimes the names don’t have much meaning, but they still linger, like Michael’s Goody Boy or Fitzy’s Diner. And sometimes it’s named for the person standing behind the counter, the person who made and serves you your food, like Colin’s Coffee, or Tuula’s European Cafe.

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Tuula’s space is a single room cafe with a strip mall storefront. It’s a little difficult to find, with its front toward Hard Road, a little west of Sawmill Road. It’s a high-traffic area, but there’s no clear driveway from the road into the parking lot of Tuula’s. We drove past it, then took our first right and had to cut through the back parking lot of a larger shopping center. Still, we found it!

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Our stop at the cafe took place on our way to a pumpkin patch for some autumnal goodness. The skies were threatening at first, so Tuula’s was a cozy respite while we waited out the rain. Tuula’s is meant to be just such a place: a casual and quiet spot for a small lunch or a quick snack plus coffee, or to relax, read, or get some work done.

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The cafe counter gives you the opportunity to drool over all of the fresh-baked goodies. There are cookies, cakes, and pies, or you can go savory with a quiche or a frittata.

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And behold: standing behind the counter is Tuula herself! She’s very sweet and welcoming. These are the types of places you want to go, where you can meet the owner. It changes the experience entirely.

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Tuula certainly knows how to present her handiwork. Towers and plates of the baked goods practically sell themselves.

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We were in a sweet snack mood, so we chose a pulla, with is made out of a yeast dough with various spices and fruits.

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The pulla is fluffy and very lightly sweet, with fruit mixed in plus a little glaze and some powdered sugar. It’s big, a little chewy, and good for sharing – it cuts easily with a fork.

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Same for the cinnamon roll, which is about as big and seems to be made of the same yeast dough. It’s nothing like the over-saturated garden variety cinnamon rolls. Just a little sweet and easy to pull apart.

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Top these pastries off with a wicked latte – especially on a cool fall morning – and you know you’re in the right place. Whether you find yourself regularly in the Sawmill Road area or not, I think Tuula’s is worth stopping in, especially if you need a quick snack, a cup of coffee, or quiet place just to hang. Knowing that the restaurant’s namesake will most likely be there only makes it better, and even more worth the visit!

Tuula's European Cafe on Urbanspoon

Photos: Kolaches With Karina

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It’s Kolaches With Karina! Last week Friday Karina Nova and I hit up Kolache Republic for our September Breakfast With Nick segment on 10TV. The visit gave us time to chat with Doug Sauer, one of the owners, and Ben Russell, one of their employees. Also, it made me fall in love even more with kolaches.

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You can learn more about these sweet-but-not-too-sweet little pastries by tuning in this Saturday morning, but if you’re not in the know, a kolache (pronounced “kol-LAH-chee”) is a Czech pastry that’s made its way to the U.S. over the years through Czech immigrants. It’s become especially popular in a number small Texan towns, which is how it came to Columbus.

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Karina and I spent the morning with Doug and Ben, bothering them while they tried to run their business.

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We caught them just after the morning rush, as they prepped for lunch. Here they are rolling out fresh kolaches.

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The great thing about kolaches are their versatility: the dough is a neutral enough flavor that the filling can be nearly anything, from, well, pumpkin to buffalo chicken.

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Doug makes a fresh batch of dough daily. He said its flavor and texture is more like a dinner roll: lightly sweet and fluffy.

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In addition to the smaller sweet versions, they roll out larger savory ones.

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The inside is a generous dollop of the good stuff. This is their signature bierock, with ground beef, cabbage, onion, and sauerkraut.

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The kolache dough is the right texture for wrapping it around the ingredients.

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The end result looks a little like this one: the breakfast kolache, with scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese. It’s this perfect little hand-held breakfast.

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When Karina and I were hanging around, they started making the lunch special of buffalo chicken.

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Seriously, just look at these! Other specials include taco kolaches, braised pull pork, and a Cuban kolache with pork, ham, onion, mustard, and pickles.

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Tune in this Saturday morning on 10TV to see Karina and I chowing down on kolaches and chatting with Doug and Ben!

Donut World | Lancaster, OH

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Donut World

601 N. Broad St. (map it!)
Lancaster, OH 43130
(740) 653-4888
Open 24/7
Accepts cash only

Visited: Monday, September 2, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.

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The first sign that Donut World is the right spot for donuts: we almost drove past it. This is important to note, especially when it comes to donut places. If it’s got a huge sign out front, and a giant parking lot, and everything is sparkly clean, you’re not in the right place for donuts. If it looks like a tiny wooden shack with a faded sign and mismatched lettering in the windows, chances are you’ve hit the jackpot.

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Donut World is a small corner building – almost a shack – in “downtown” Lancaster. If you’re heading to Hocking Hills from Columbus, you can re-route yourself with only the slightest inconvenience through Lancaster to stop at Donut World. You don’t even have to get out of your car; just pull up to the drive-through window to pick up a box of donuts.

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If you choose to step out of your car and into the building, you’ll find that the customer area only gets a sliver of the square footage. The rest of the space includes the production area and a counter facing racks of delicious, delicious donuts.

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Donut World’s selection is pretty wide, from cake donuts glazed and coated every which way, to yeast-raised donuts, fruit-flavored, and specialties like apple fritters, Bismarks, bowties, cinnamon twists, and rolls. In short, enough choices to satisfy your donut preferences.

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Donut World is a classic example of those old-school donut shops, with lettered menu boards, signs taped up all over, and big yellow trays for the donuts. They’ve been running things the same way for so long, and there’s really no reason for them to change.

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Part of that old school-ness is the woman behind the counter, who has clearly been working in the shop for years and years. She has no reason to change either. To some customers, her attitude might come off as abrupt or even rude, but to me it just shows that she knows what she’s doing, she knows what she’s selling, and she’s been asked every possible question by every possible customer.

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This also means that she won’t steer you wrong: she knows which donuts are the best.

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Taking the advice of a few online friends, we picked up an assorted box. And let’s face it, when it comes to good donut shops, an assortment is the way to go. We certainly liked some things better than others, but we didn’t find anything bad in the box. The sour cream donuts were very moist and soft, with the blueberry a special stand-out. We loved the cinnamon rolls, especially the iced one, and the apple fritter was chewy and very appley. And the Bismarcks were about as good as you can get.

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Donut World is a worthy stop for any of the following reasons:

1. They serve really, really good donuts.

2. It’s a convenient stop coming to or from Hocking Hills.

3. It’s an example of a shop that does one thing, old school, very well.

4. Bonus for the autumn months: pumpkin donuts. Enough said.

Donut World Co on Urbanspoon

Guest post: A Donut Crawl with $20 Dollar Dates!

It’s always nice to find people who share my love of breakfast. And, really, that’s everyone.

This is especially true when it comes to donuts. Everyone loves donuts! And with the weather turning autumnal, it’s time to celebrate them every way possible. For a quick snack, for a full breakfast, or… on a date?

I’d like to welcome a guest poster, Jess from the blog $20Dates. Jess and her husband Rob have proven to be a great resource for inexpensive date ideas in and around Columbus. And they’ve turned their attention to donuts…

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Hi, I’m Jess from $20Dates! $20Dates is a guide to affordable & creative dating ideas in the Central Ohio area. Rob (my husband) and I are constantly looking for activities and hidden gems throughout Columbus, all while not breaking the bank and keeping our dates under $20. I think Nick is awesome, and Rob & I (being breakfast people) are constantly checking in to see the latest breakfast joint Nick is posting about. When we came up with the idea to do a donut crawl (aka fit as many local donut shops into one morning as possible), we immediately thought of Breakfast with Nick. Thank you Nick to letting us guest blog! Happy Dating!

This week’s cheap & creative date idea is…

Donut Crawl!

What: A tour of the delicious donuts Columbus has to offer – 7 different stops
When: We did our tour on a Saturday morning (Sundays are possible too, with the exception of Schneider’s which is closed on Sunday)

Rob & I love donuts. A lot. So we decided to embrace our sweet tooth(s) and spend a Saturday morning at several local donut shops!

Schneiders
Stop #1: Westerville – Schneider’s Bakery ($.80). In high school, Schneider’s was a popular late night destination, being that they start baking around midnight and open their doors at 1am. We had to include this iconic Westerville bakery as our first stop. We got the Davey Crockett per one of their employee’s suggestions and were satisfied – cinnamon bun-type donut with maple glaze. YUM. First stop down, 6 more to go!

HoneyDip
Stop #2: Upper Arlington – HoneyDip Donuts & Diner ($.90). We decided to stick with the traditional for this second stop, and we ordered an Old Fashioned Cake Donut at this old-style diner. Not my favorite (I loooove icing) but Rob enjoyed the simplicity of this one.

BuckeyeDonuts
Stop #3: OSU Campus – Buckeye Donuts ($.99). Buckeye Donuts is a popular hot spot on OSU’s campus and is open 24/7. Definitely holds some fun memories for Rob & I and their quality of product is the same as it was ten years ago – wonderful! We ordered a cappuccino donut and sat at their window seats, people watching and reminiscing on our college days. J

Auddinos
Stop #4: Hilliard – Auddino’s Bakery & Cafe ($1.50). Famous for the Doughssant (a croissant + donut hybrid), we of course picked that and fell in love! Oh. My. Goodness. We ordered the smaller version (which is still quite large!) and savored the flaky sweetness that is the Doughssant. Rob is from New York, so when his dad called him earlier this year to tell him about this new Cronut sensation spreading through NYC, we laughed because Columbus had it first! The Doughssant at Auddino’s can kick the New York Cronut’s butt any day! ;)

LilDonutFactory (2)
Stop #5: Hilliard – Lil Donut Factory ($.85 + $.95). The first new stop for us on our Donut Crawl, and we were extremely satisfied with this stop. On their front door is a sign that apologizes in advanced if they’re sold out on the weekend – we knew we were in for a treat! Definitely a hidden Hilliard treasure – sandwiched between a gas station and a bar, you could completely ignore that there is a delicious donut factory right in front of you. We have already spread the word about the Lil Donut Factory, we love it that much! We ordered the Old Fashioned Glazed & the Double Chocolate and couldn’t stop making “yum” noises! Hilliard, you have made us happy. On to Grandview!

DKDiner
Stop #6: Grandview – DK Diner ($1.75). We love DK Diner for breakfast but we, believe it or not, have never had a donut there! Shame on us, since the “DK” stands for “Donut Kitchen!” This stop I got to pick the donut out (in exchange for Rob’s pick at Honey Dip) and I ordered a large cream donut for us to split. The donut is actually two separate pieces held together with cream, which was delicious. Rob didn’t enjoy this one as much, as he doesn’t like “unnecessary filling” in his donuts, so I got this donut all to myself!

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Stop #7: Grandview – Luck Bros’ Coffee House($7 for 2 cups of coffee + $1 tip). We started experiencing the start of a sugar coma so we knew coffee was a must-have. We had also heard that Destination Donuts sometimes has donuts at Luck Bros’, so we drove from DK Diner to the tucked away Luck Bros’ Coffee House. I love Luck Bros’ so this was a special treat for both of us. Not only do we love their coffee, but the atmosphere is relaxing and inviting. Iced coffee for me, hot for Rob, we enjoyed our coffee break and conversation together. The super nice barista told me that they typically sell out of Destination Donuts early in the morning, but to check Destination’s Facebook page to see where else they were today. That led us to our last and final stop, The Hills Market Downtown!

DestinationDonuts
Stop #8: Downtown – The Hills Market, Destination Donuts ($3 + $1.76 bottle of water). We had never been to The Hills Market Downtown, so this was an exciting last stop. Full of delicious smells, local goods and friendly employees, we definitely enjoyed this stop. They have an entire sweets section when you first walk in, with so many local bakers to choose from. We found Destination Donuts quickly, but had a hard time deciding between the decadent flavors: apricot pistachio, red raspberry hibiscus, butterscotch sea salt & mocha. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! By far our most expensive donut on the crawl, but the apricot pistachio (with crumbled pistachio on top) melted in our mouths and was well worth it. With beautiful weather, we sat outside on their patio.

We found a calendar of events going on at The Hills Market, and this place alone is a great $20Date! Mondays = Charity Happy Hour, 5p-8p. $7.99 Pizza, $3 Beer, $4 Wine. Thursdays = Beer Tasting 4p-6p. Saturdays = Pancake Breakfast 9a-1p & Sip While You Shop 12p-4p. Sundays = Crepes a la Carte 9a-2p. With local candy, cheese, beer, meat, produce, dessert, hot sauce & more, The Hills Market Downtown has got it going on!

We had made it! Seven donut stops, one coffee stop, a lot of fun conversation and a morning spent together, Rob & I had successfully completed our first ever Donut Crawl. We were happy, full & ready to share our love of donuts with the world. Or at least with Columbus. J

TOTAL = $19.60!
(+ free parking at all stops, excluding Buckeye Donuts. $.50 for the meter not included. Tip: bring cash, as some stops do not take credit cards & when you pay under $1, it’s just easier with cashJ)

Happy Breakfast Dating,

Jess & Rob

Photos: Sassafras Bakery soft opening

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This morning we peaked in to Sassafras Bakery’s soft opening in the new brick-and-mortar space in Olde Worthington. We’ve enjoyed following the updates online, as the cafe has been remodeled, equipment was installed, decorations placed.

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It’s been especially fun to follow the progress of Sassafras’ owner, AJ Perry. We’ve been big fans of hers at the Worthington Farmers Market over the years, so to see this space materialize is very exciting. It can be found at 657 High Street in the middle of Olde Worthington, next to the Worthington Inn, around the corner from Igloo Letterpress, and across the street from spots like House Wine and The Candle Lab. In other words, they’re in good company.

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Just look for the signs out front!

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Already there are some sweet decorations up, including a full wall of pie tins.

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We stopped in to look around and, of course, to pick up some Sassafras treats like donut muffins.

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There’s also warm cinnamon rolls.

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A tower of scones.

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Cookies that your kids will spot instantly.

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Granola bars.

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Lots of goodies. Sassafras is also serving Cafe Brioso coffee.

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Early reviews suggest it’s a big hit (as if there was any doubt).

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There’s a retail shelf that’s being stocked with Columbus goods like jams, cards, and a certain breakfast book.

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Lots of street parking is available, plus a few spots down the side of the building. Just look for the signs!

The soft opening was today, so keep an eye on AJ’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, or her website (sassafrasbakery.com) for ongoing updates to the cafe’s progress, regular hours, and full opening.

Kolache Republic | Columbus, OH

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Kolache Republic
(Facebook / @KolacheRepublic)

730 S. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 928-3151
Open Mon-Fri, 7a-2p; Sat, 8a-3p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.

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It’s an exciting time for food in Columbus. New restaurants and carts and tours and breweries and bars are opening all the time. So much development is fun to track, as new places become old favorites while existing mainstays solidify their place in the Columbus culinary fabric. What’s most exciting is to see entrepreneurs who have worked hard over the years finally coming into their own, from roasting coffee at home, to baking goods and selling them at markets, to making a homebrewing passion a full-time job, to exchanging a food cart for a brick-and-mortar space. That’s why it’s so exciting to see a place like Kolache Republic open: years of work baking and delivering goods all over town, the KR crew has settled into their own space on South High Street.

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The small corner space features big windows, deep pastel walls, and a beautiful wooden floor. There are a few small tables if you’d like to sit and enjoy. I’m guessing that this space will be prime for them, being part of the Brewery District, with German Village at their backs, and Downtown up the road. This type of crowd will hopefully be ideal for their offerings of drinks, small snacks, and hand-held items.

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As you’d expect, the menu focuses on kolaches, with both sweet and savory choices. There seem to be some standards you can always expect, while specials rotate in and out.

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I love that the space is bright and full of colorful fun. Like the magnet letters on the specials board.

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A kolache is a simple, square, fluffy pastry with Czech/Slovak origins that has been embraced by different communities in the United States, particularly by a variety of towns in Texas. The owners of Kolache Republic hail from the grand old Republic of Texas, hence the name Kolache Republic.

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The kolache is a very versatile pastry; its center is designed to be filled with almost anything.

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This allows the kolache to easily swing sweet or savory, and for specials to be rotated in and out.

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I picked three for this visit. Clockwise from top left: poppy seed, chocolate, and cheese. All three: excellent. They’re not overly sweet, so the featured flavor still has a chance to shine through.

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I also ordered the kielbasa, cheese, and jalapeno kolache, which comes out like a small, hot roll.

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Here’s the kolache torn open. I had meant to order the hot hot hot polish kolache, but since they were out of the item, they gave me the kielbasa/cheese/jalapeno one with a side of their three pepper jam. It makes for a warm, juicy, soft – and imminently very crave-able – sandwich. The jalapenos and the pepper jam give it a very sharp bite of heat, which I love with the warm breading, kielbasa, and cheese.

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If you live or work in the area, I suggest making Kolache Republic a regular stop. I loved what I had there, and I’m already trying to figure out when I can next stop in.

Kolache Republic on Urbanspoon

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