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Bonomini Bakery, Cincinnati: On the Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 18, 2019

The road on which the Donut Trail is paved is not always sugar and spice and everything nice. Last year, I attempted to visit Bonomini Bakery but when I showed up I found a sign on the door that the business was on vacation for a week. This year, I missed that vacation by a week. A lesson moving forward for those that visit Bonomini, and you should, if it is July, call ahead and make sure they are open.

The baking tradition of Bonomini owners goes back to the 1950’s but Bonomini’s origins started when when the family took over Blue Rock Bakery in 1976.

Bonomini has a lot to offer. The bakery is cited for having incredible cakes, especially wedding cakes and has earned plenty of accolades in that category. There is no shortage of baked goods to choose from in this bakery. The go to item by reputation and by seeing this up close would be the German kasekuchen (cheesecakes). It would be impossible for these to be anything but good. However, it was a very hot day and we had a long drive with multiple stops ahead of us and I did not have a cooler. So alas, I could not take one of these with me.

Because of my duties to the Donut Trail, I was here to get donuts. There we plenty to choose from. They all looked amazing. Of course being Cincinnati, I had to get a Klunker. A Klunker is basically a malformed, not quite square, not quite round, lump of dough for a – most say donut, some say Danish, that has a light sugar glaze to it. It tends to be darker than a typical donut and seems to have some German heritage to it. Only three places (maybe a handful more) in Cincinnati have them (Holtmans and Silverton Donut Shop – both already detailed on my donut trail) and this is one. People in Cincinnati love them but so far, for me, they are donuts without holes.

There are so many things I loved about Bonomini. The exterior and interior exude classic old school bakery. The woman that helped me was incredibly kind, helpful and patient with all of my questions. I also heard about an unknown donut type, the “pull through” (see photo above) with is a long, twisted donut. They tie their carry out boxes with string – which they pull from big cone of string. This is so old school. The only other places I have seen this still in practice are classic bakeries in Boston. I gathered an assortment of treats from Bonomini and got to my car holding CMH Spouse and CMH Griffin just before the rain started. I offered my wife first bite of an eclair …and she did not care for it. I hoped it was a fluke and gave her first shot at a raspberry filled donut with vanilla icing and she did not like that either. I could see the filling, about the size and depth of a dime hiding in the center…. bummer. She was disappointed with this offering as well. I then handed CMH Griffin a donut. He loves donuts. He even has a special intonation of the word when he sees one or asks for one. He ate his quickly but he did not ask for another one. That has never happened in his four years of donut consumption.

I tried a Klunker….it was OK. I tried another type of donut….it was OK. When we got home, I sampled more but I just did not get excited about any of my selections. Maybe it was the summer heat. Maybe a pinch of salt or 1/2 cup of sugar was missed. Maybe something did not make it to the mixing bowl while getting ready for vacation but they all lacked something. As a whole, the donuts tended to be a bit dry and a bit lacking in base flavor. The glaze/icing was good, but everything else was..meh.

I’m assuming I may have arrived on an off day. I do wish I had taken the risk to get the kasekuchen to bring home (see below). So while this stop may not have panned out for me, I would still say this is a place worth to dropping in to explore, but if you have only one donut stop to make while in town, you may want to save those calories for Holtman’s. Reflecting on my donut trail experiences to date, I find that places that just do donuts are really the places I get the most excited about and also, if donuts are a sideline for a place, you have to give some consideration for that….or try them with a grain of salt….or sugar.

Bonomini Bakery
1677 Blue Rock St
Cincinnati 45223
(513) 541-7501

Open 5:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday to Saturday

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