Ohio Donut Trail: Amy’s Donuts (Columbus, West Side)
Posted by cmh gourmand on May 18, 2016
There has been a lot of buzz about the new donutery in town, Amy’s Donuts so I felt obligated to check out the place. When I determined the location, I was a bit puzzled. The type of donuts offered and the pedigree of the brand might seem initially like a better fit for the Short North or OSU campus. And looking at some of the neighbors, this repurposed (Taco Bell, or Tim Horton’s or similar fast food building shell) is a colorful anomaly in a sea of downtrodden buildings and brands. Case in point, neighboring M & S Pizza (which features a sign on top of a large propane tank) has as a tag line beginning with – Best Chicken…..
However on further reflection as well as looking at the later hours of operation and the proximity to the casino, this business model makes perfect sense. People down on their luck or low on cash need a low-cost, high carb and sugar option to keep them going. Based on the crowd and demographic mix at Amy’s, they are serving the masses exactly what they need. Also, most of the restaurants nearby are taco trucks and other exotic “non-merican” eateries so this offers the tour bus set a safe snack for the ride back to the retirement home.
On my first look at the offerings, I was overwhelmed. There are over 150 possible donut types available in one form or another including specialty donuts with cereal, candies and sugar glazes. I became glazed over with indecision. This gave me more time to observe the operation of the place. This is clearly a new business. I counted no fewer than 14 employees (that I could see rambling around ). The employees are clearly new to this game and several seemed new to employment with confusion evident and some conversations that would not be confidence building on either side of the counter. After a little more observation, I figured out who the most skilled employee was and made eye contact with her for ordering. I did not try anything too complicated or fancy but in the middle of my order – her eyes glazed over and she disappeared mid box fill to listen to another employee that seemed miffed by a series of misplaced donuts and misplaced pronouns. My donut ambassador eventually came back to finish my order. For $10 I received 12 donuts and was on my way.
As I got to my car, I felt a bit out of sorts. I knew I could partially fix that with a donut but I surmised my real problem lied deeper than that. Internally, I found myself debating on whether this is really an Ohio Donut Trail spot or not. Although the building showed some wear and tear the business was new. And while the donuts sampled were good, a few elements seemed missing. The first was character. While this is an independently owned business (a critical component for the unstated rules of the donut trail) Amy’s is an expanding donut chain. The place seemed to lack a little bit of soul. Almost all Ohio Donut Trail spots offer a mixed of grizzled and old “donuteers” who have plied the doughy trade for decades as well as a few hard-core regulars to guard a seat on a prized stool or to whom one could set their watch by their daily pick up of something or other. The place also reminded me of Voodoo Donuts which in turn reminded my of one of only two (the other was having food poisoning upon arrival to New Orleans) of my epic travel adventures that sucked (were in not for the company – or lack there of – of my companion I would have had the time of my life). Which made me wonder, does the donut trail reward repetition or does it lean to old quirky styles lost to the ages.
Ultimately what matters is that the donuts are good, the variety is exceptional and this is worth a visit. However, to balance my credo and conscience, I will place this place on Donut Trail probation for several years to give it a chance to build up the character and characters it has not had an opportunity to acquire. I only sampled the cake donuts and can report the Blueberry and Red Velvet are worth every cent.
Amy’s Donuts Columbus (on Facebook)
Address: 650 Georgesville Rd, Columbus, OH 43228
Monday to Thursday 5AM–8PM
Friday to Sunday 5AM–10PM