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Propaganda Donuts | Grand Rapids, MI

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Propaganda Donuts (Facebook / @PropagandaDonut)

117A S. Division Ave. (map it!)
Grand Rapids, MI 40503
Open Mon, Wed-Sun, 8a-12p; open Fri & Sat, 8p-12a
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/Y

Visited: Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 9:30a

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“Danger. Intrigue. Donuts.” That’s the tagline for Propaganda Donuts, a hip new donut shop set up just south of downtown Grand Rapids on Division Avenue. It sets up an air of mystery and curiosity, which is followed through with a location more like a film noir set than a traditional donut shop. The space itself is an old storefront – one I’ve never visited before – with an in-set tiled entryway, a wooden door, and big windows.

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The sandwich board out front gives you another clue that these donuts will be anything but traditional.

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The interior is one long room, the left wall all exposed brick. There’s a small counter, while the rest of the customer space is dedicated to a few seats for waiting and a desk.

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Even the counter itself is stacked with stuff like detective novels, an old wooden filing cabinet, a bottle of moonshine, binoculars.

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A small display case shows off the offerings for the day. It takes a moment or two to triangulate which sign goes with which donut.

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When we visited, 5-6 people were waiting for one of their daily specials – a French cruller – to be made. But we hopped right up to the counter, ordered, and were on our way.

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The old desk in the waiting area keeps up the detective theme, with books, a typewriter, newspapers (some real, some fictional), and photos.

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Propaganda is nailing the style, and it’s not without substance. We grabbed one of each of their daily offerings. These ranged from the standards of plain, powdered, and cinnamon sugar to more unique eats like honey roasted beets, vanilla bean buttermilk with chocolate and raspberry, and a bourbon caramel with mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and sprinkled with coconut. There wasn’t a bad donut in the bunch, although our preference was for the three more creative specials. Even the combinations that might seem too funky for some (honey roasted beets, for instance) worked quite well. And clearly they’re catching on, given the waiting crowd and the fact neighborhood folks were stopping in for coffee and a donut while walking their dogs (that’s always a good sign to me).

Downtown Grand Rapids is experiencing a bit of renaissance, with new restaurants, the new market opening, brewpubs, and more. So it’s fitting that it would get an interesting donut place, too, and I deduce (see what I did there?) Propaganda is filling the niche. With some fun flavor combinations, responsible sourcing of ingredients, and supreme dedication to their branding, they could be on track to becoming a destination like places like Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland.

Propaganda Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

HoneyDip Donuts & Diner | Columbus, OH

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Honey Dip Donuts & Diner (Facebook)
4480 Kenny Rd. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43220
(614) 459-0812
Open Mon-Sat, 6:30a-2p; Sun, 7a-2p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:30pm

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Who’s up for a big breakfast of donuts and donut sandwiches? Apparently, me! It’s been a while since I’ve been to Honey Dip. The first visit was when they only served donuts, and the second was a quick peek at the new renovations that added the “and Diner” to the name.

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Well, now it’s time to get a good look at how the donut shop has remade itself as a diner. Judging by the decently busy Saturday afternoon, they’re doing quite well.

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Fans of the original version of Honey Dip will still recognize the space and the feel. The long, low counter, the red tile floor, the pink donut shelves. More seats have been added, and the old donut prep area is now a small dining area with eight tables.

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Donuts are still the feature; upon entering you’re greeted with a sight of the classic shelves.

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And a glass case full of the extra special goods like longjohns, cinnamon rolls, and apple fritters.

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The purpose of this exploratory visit: to sample a donut sandwich. Honey Dip offers three: the breakfast sandwich, the BLT, and the burger.

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We found a small table and looked through the one-page breakfast menu. It has all the basics covered: eggs, omelets, pancakes, sandwiches. Even some specialties like eggs benedict and a breakfast burrito.

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My son wanted something simple: the two eggs, home fries, and toast. As with any basic breakfast, you can customize it: eggs, choice of toast, sausage patties or links (or bacon), home fries or hash browns. All of it was nicely done. The eggs were scrambled without being dry, the sausage patty was basic but seasoned well. The hash browns could have been a little crispier, but they came in a generous portion. All in all: a very filling and likable diner breakfast.

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We were hungry, so we also split the biscuits and gravy, a small but rich bowl of thick sausage gravy along with two soft biscuits. The gravy was thick to the point of being a little gummy, but it was chunky and peppery.

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And now on to the main show: the donut breakfast sandwich. When I posted a picture of this on instagram, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “What am I doing with my life?!” And that’s the honest question you have to ask yourself after you’ve ordered one of these. What has led you to this point?

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The construction is simple and really, it seems so obvious. You take a breakfast sandwich (a fried egg, a sausage patty, a slice of cheese) and you grill two donuts instead of bread. It’s the perfect marriage of sweet + salty. The warm donuts collapse under the pressure into two solid layers of sugar. But I have to be honest about two things:

1.) This sandwich was delicious. I mean, seriously: it’s a breakfast sandwich made with donuts. The only failing point is that you mostly just taste the donuts. Sure, there’s a hint of sausage, a soupcon of cheese, a waft of eggs, but for the most part you’re tasting two warm, soft honey dip donuts.

2.) This sandwich also sat with me for a long time. A long time. I honestly wasn’t hungry until the next day.

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You also can’t walk out of a donut shop without some donuts (and I’m wondering why I was still full the next day?), so we snagged a half dozen of a couple custard-filled donuts, two longjohns, and a pair of their signature glazed yeast donuts. Honey Dip has long been a favorite donut shop of many, and they’re still riding on that strength.

Well, now you know about breakfast at Honey Dip in all its glory. If a full-blown donut sandwich isn’t your thing, you can always settle for a donut and a cup of coffee, or a small plate of eggs and toast. Overall, Honey Dip seems to have successfully transitioned over the years from a favorite donut shop to a favorite donut shop and diner.

Honey Dip Donuts & Coffee 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

The Little Donut Shop | Columbus, OH

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The Little Donut Shop
(Facebook)

1716 N. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 725-4940
Open daily 9a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.

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A new donut shop? What?! This is big news for any breakfast aficionado, as well as any red-blooded, pastry-loving American. So imagine my surprise when I read online about a new donut shop opening across the street from Ohio State’s campus. It snuck up on me! So on our first available Saturday we sought out the new shop with the quaint name: The Little Donut Shop. You can find The Shop on street level below The Big Bar (get it?), part of the Newport Music Hall building facade.

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Little Donut Shop’s space is clean, new, and nicely packaged. Their branding is solidly designed and consistent throughout.

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The interior includes a small ramp up into the space (which eventually leads to the staircase up to the bar). There are cab tables and counters spread along the walls. It’s fairly open and easy to access for the grab-and-go customers.

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The menu sports a good variety to begin with, and I’m sure they cycle in some specials once in a while. The pricing is pretty standard, at $1 per donut, $5 for the half dozen, and $8 for the full dozen. I didn’t think to ask how many donuts come in the Late Night Bucket. What’s a little odd is that the current hours – 9am to 4pm – aren’t exactly of the “late night” variety, so I’m not sure when is the ideal time for such a bucket.

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Little Donut Shop’s donuts are a little smaller, maybe about three inches across. The intention seems to be that customers can put away two or three of these, in lieu of a single giant bismark or a thick cake donut.

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They make up for the smaller size, though, with an over-the-top line-up of toppings, glazes, and flavorings. They seem to draw inspiration from some of the wackier donut shops out there, like VooDoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon. Which is good, in some ways, because Columbus doesn’t have anything quite like that (although Heather at Destination Donuts gets pretty creative). They use one type of cake donut as the base and then go all out with the toppings. See above: the Oreo and the M&M donuts, covered in a white glaze and generously smothered.

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Or, of course, the maple bacon.

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There’s the raspberry lemonade.

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The chocolate and the strawberry shortcake (I think?).

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Or the powdered and the Dirty Worm.

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We grabbed a good variety: maple bacon, M&M, chocolate, samoa, Milky Way, and sprinkle. The verdict? Good, but not mind-blowing. Certainly very sweet and fun to eat: a big hit with our kiddos. The base donut is pretty simple, and the toppings are very creative, but they came off as overly sweet. Case in point: the Milky Way is a donut that’s glazed and drizzled with caramel and mini chocolate chips and more chocolate. It’s just a lot of sugar packed into one small bite. I guess my ideal for this size of donut is something like Duck Donuts in North Carolina and Virginia, which uses a simple yeast donut as their base, and then dips them in sweet but balanced toppings.

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Little Donut Shop is certainly differentiating itself with a lot of creative flavors. They’ve done a wonderful job with that space and the branding, and hopefully the nearby student population will take notice. Their challenge will be carving out a niche when nearby tried-and-true spots like Buckeye Donuts have already been winning over donut fans for decades.

The Little Donut Shop on Urbanspoon

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!

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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! ;)

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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!

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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

Schneider’s Bakery | Westerville, OH

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Schneider’s Bakery
(Facebook)

6 S. State St. (map it!)
Westerville, OH 43081
(614) 882-6611
Open Mon, 6a-12p; Tues-Thurs, 1:30a-6p; Fri, 1a-6p; Sat, 1a-3p
Accepts cash only!
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 6:15 am

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I hope donut shops last forever. I hope they never go out of style, never change, never stop serving the same favorite donuts day in and day out. I know that’s a lot to ask of a small business, but it’s the simplicity and consistency of small donut shops, places like Schneider’s Bakery, that keep our culinary heritage alive. Yes, they’re mostly all the same, but each one has its quirks, its history, and its sense of being “owned” by the community. Donut shops are the true City Hall.

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If you grew up in Westerville or went to Otterbein University like a number of my friends have, then Schneider’s is a no-brainer. It’s your neighborhood donut place, and you probably have years of memories associated with it. I’m still getting to know Schneider’s, but even after a handful of visits I can appreciate its place in the hearts and stomachs of its regulars. And judging by the constant opening and closing of the door every time I’ve visited, there are a lot of regulars.

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For those who don’t know Schneider’s, it’s a small corner bakery in Uptown Westerville, which is actually the “downtown” focused along State Street. It’s a nice collection of coffee shops, retail, banks, restaurants, galleries, all with that quaint small-town feel. Regulars visit Schneider’s for boxes of donuts or simple snacks, like this one: a carton of milk and a Davy Crockett, a maple glazed cinnamon fry.

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The exterior and interior are a far cry from fancy. It’s lit in plain fluorescent lights and decorated in creams and browns, and probably has been for decades. Every available space is taken by display cases filled with the familiar yellow trays that many bakeries use. Every time I’ve visited (which is pretty early in the morning), there’s a wide selection available, and honestly, I haven’t had anything bad.

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My preference has been for the Davy Crocketts, the apple fritters, and the Nut Toppers, which are simple honey buns (a glazed cinnamon fry) covered in icing and nuts.

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Schneider’s isn’t the type of place to do really funky things like maple bacon or hibiscus glazes, but they really don’t need to. They’ve got the basics covered very well.

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Very well.

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Very, very well.

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They specialize in the simple comfort of all things glazed, rolled, powdered, and cream-filled. Even in the heat of summer, each bite tastes like a little bit of autumn.

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Rows upon glorious rows.

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Of course, if you want to act like a grown-up, you can always buy loaves of bread or rolls for dinner.

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But you really came for boxes like these: chocolate-glazed yeast donuts, Dave Crocketts, Nut Toppers, longjohns with their thin strip of icing across the top.

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Boxes and boxes of them.

A couple important notes about Schneider’s:

1. They are cash only. The nearest ATM is a bank across the street, and it’s difficult to access. Come with some green.

2. For the dedicated night owls: Schneider’s actually opens at 1 or 1:30 a.m. (depending on the day). As a father to two boys, I have not been able to visit when the donuts are truly warm and fresh. One of ladies behind the counter said it’s typical to find, especially when Otterbein is in session, a constant line of students out the door between 1-3 a.m.

3. At $6.75, an assorted dozen is pretty cheap. Not that donuts usually break the bank, but at most places you can expect to pay anywhere from $8-12 for an assorted dozen – something that includes bigger specialties like apple fritters or longjohns.

Schneider's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Duck Donuts | Kill Devil Hills, NC

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Duck Donuts
(Facebook)

710 S. Croatan Hwy (map it!)
Kill Devil Kills, NC 29748
(252) 480-3320
Open daily 6:30a-9p
Accepts cash & debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.

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I owe a big thanks to reader John for suggesting Duck Donuts to us while vacationing on the Outer Banks. I had noticed one or two of the locations as we drove down the islands toward our destination, but given that we stay about 45 minutes south from the nearest location, it never quite popped on the radar. However, John suggested it at just the right time, as we were making a day trip up to Manteo (which is an incredibly cute little town with a lot of history). On our way back to the house we detoured north to visit the Kill Devil Hills location of Duck Donuts. And, oh, we’re glad we did.

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Duck Donuts is a chain of four (soon to be six) small donut shops spread out along the northern reaches of the Outer Banks. As the name implies, they got their start in the town of Duck, but have expanded to Corolla, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills (with locations in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg coming this fall). When you really think of it, Duck Donuts is a brilliant business model. Much of the islands’ economy is based on seasonal visitors, so for restaurants to succeed you need something that is an easy draw, is memorable, and can produce quality food quickly. Duck Donuts does all of these things.

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In essence they’re just a donut shop, plain and simple. It’s the preparation and serving – and an excellent final product – that make it work. They serve one type of donut: a spongy, not-too-dense cake donut. It tastes great on its own, but a customer can order a variety of glazes and toppings, and the donuts are assembled to order. A basic donut maker (see above) slowly pumps out the fried goodness. At busier times two machines will be working away while the employees rack finished donuts on trays.

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When you place your order, the donuts are boxed and then taken over to the glazing and topping station. Each donut – still warm – is dipped in the glaze of your choosing: chocolate, vanilla, lemon, peanut butter, strawberry, powdered sugars, maple, and so on.

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You can also order them topped with sprinkles, peanuts, and the like.

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What’s smart about this is that the donuts are always fresh, it’s easy to customize orders, and you don’t have to worry about running out. Customers don’t need to line up a 6 am to get a taste of a certain donut, because it can be made at any time, and it will have just rolled off the line.

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It’s fun to watch the crew at work while waiting for your donuts. Even at its busiest moments, the shop had customers in and out the door within ten minutes.

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This was our selection for our first dozen. The top row is peanut butter, lemon, and chocolate. The second row is chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. The bottom row is more vanilla and two plain glazed. The donuts are a perfect balance between a heavy cake donut and a melty yeast donut (a la Krispy Kreme). They’re the right size, too, so it’s easy to snack on a few of them. And all of the glazes were excellent. As you might guess, we made more than one visit on this trip.

My only regret? We didn’t get any maple bacon donuts. Next year…

Duck Donuts on Urbanspoon

Destination Donuts | Columbus, OH

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There’s a new donut game in town: Destination Donuts. Heather Morris has begun setting up regularly at North Market. Heather is serving homemade donuts in flavors and combinations that no one else is doing around town. When you really think of it, there isn’t a donut place at North Market, is there? This could be a good permanent addition!

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I visited one of her first days setting up shop, and she had five different donut varieties: pumpkin pecan, PB&J (yes, you read right), thai peanut, chocolate insanity, and dueling vanilla. Her selection since then continues to rotate.

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She gives you the opportunity to sample the goods before you buy them. Hint: sample them all, then buy one of each.

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These are the chocolate insanity, made with chocolate ganache and crumbled Oreos.

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And then there’s the Thai peanut, with a little bit of spice. Most of the donuts were served essentially like large donut holes.

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The only full size donuts (and my favorite) she had that day were the dueling vanilla. They’re called dueling because she uses both Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla. It’s like a thick yeast donut. Very nice.

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Heather – aka the “donut queen” – is typically there on weekends. Give her a follow on Facebook or on Twitter (@heatherdonut) to see when she’ll be at the market next!

Dough | Brooklyn, NY

Dough (Facebook / @doughbrooklyn)
305 Franklin Ave. (map it!)
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(347) 533-7544
Open daily, 7a-5p
Accepts cash only

Date of Visit: Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.

As we were saying good-bye to New York, we still managed to sneak in some delicious eats. Before we even hopped in the car, we walked with our friends down the street to Dough, a corner shop in the neighborhood serving big donuts to a steady line of regulars.

The shop seemed empty when we first arrived, but within seconds it was crowded with folks nabbing fresh donuts and coffee, then sneaking back out the door. The customer area is fairly small, with just a small counter and a couple seats if you want to stay. But the retail front is surrounded by big glass walls that let you see into the back and side rooms, where a small army of bakers is busy at work.

We managed to find some room to stand and nibble on donuts, and watch one baker roughly chopping chocolate.

Despite the small size, their output is clearly enormous, as evidenced by the loaded carts and vans parked out front.

Dough specializes in one type of donut: large yeast donuts with a variety of very creative toppings. There’s no simple sprinkles or vanilla icing here; they dowse these bad boys with chocolate, fruit, nuts, even flowers.

Let’s take a look in their display cases. Example one: a cafe au lait donut topped with strussel.

Example two: a pumpkin donut with a light glaze and pepitas.

We attacked our box of donuts with gusto. Our selection included (clockwise from upper right) coconut, hibiscus, chocolate with cocoa nibs, and blood orange. These donuts back a punch flavor, so these aren’t easy coffee-and-a-donut type donuts. These are “I’ll slice a small piece off each one” donuts. The chocolate was rich with a slight bitter edge, the coconut nice and toasty, the bloody orange very strong, citrusy, and a tad sour from the acid in the actual slices of orange. And the hibiscus? Well, I don’t know how else to describe it but sweet and floral. All four were really delicious and fascinating types of donuts – like nothing I’ve had before. I like that they seem to use a base recipe for the yeast donut, and then use the toppings to really distinguish them.

As we were headed out of town, we didn’t linger too long over the donuts, but I’d love to go back and try even more.

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