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Silverton Donut Shop, Cincinnati: The Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 26, 2018

Followers of the Ohio Donut Trail may falsely believe that the roads of these adventures are paved with sugar and carbs and everything nice. However, the Donut Trail and blog posts in general are not always the non-stop joy they seem to be. Sometimes the trail can lead to intense disappointment. There is a long wind up to this pitch so get comfortable. When my Ohio Donut Trail adventures started it was as a distraction during a time I felt lost. People I had worked with for over seventeen years, people I had helped advance in their careers, served loyally and in one case, helped move, very casually decided to fuck me over and destroy my career without warning or cause. Not for anything that I did, but so that they could unseat someone who had been out to get for years and hid a personal grudge as a departmental change. Instead of dealing with one person, they reassigned an entire department. I was the collateral damage. My brain could not process how or why this could have happened and how these people I had supported for years could each allow me to be ground up by this train wreck of a political decision. So I did the only thing I could – invested my time into numerous side projects that I thought might distract me from my rage. Ultimately that did not work. So that is part of the origin story. Next, I have never been able to connect with Cincinnati in the way that I do with Athens, Cleveland or even Dayton. Cincinnati has never felt like Ohio to me, it has always felt somewhat foreign to the Midwest. In addition, I have always hated driving in Downtown Cincinnati, the ribbons of freeway create some elaborate Rube Goldberg Device designed to create confusion, chaos and death. However, the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few or the one, so I felt a duty and calling to fill in the holes on the Ohio Donut Trail and many of those left are in Cincinnati. Now, finally, for the current disappointment, when I pulled up to Bonomini Bakery on Blue Rock Street I saw this……….

It happens more often than one would think. I often visit places that I opt not to write about and sometimes, I just can’t get into a place. So my only alternative was to go to the next place on my list, Silverton Donut Shop about 15 minutes away.

This shop has a bit of back story to it. It started as Pleasant Ridge Donut Shop in 1989 and then moved on 2011 to become the Silverton Donut Shop. It should be noted that this is a certified Kosher Bakery (which may be the first of this kind on the trail to date). The shop is pretty generic on the outside and barebones on the inside. I was happy they still had donuts left since many online reviews indicate they often run out early in the day. The signature donut here is called the Klunker (sometimes called Clunkers at other shops). Klunker’s are German in origin (and Cincinnati has deep German roots). These are muffin sized donuts without any holes that are encased in a thick sugar glaze.

CMH Spouse has a hierarchy of donut needs which follows this order: Blueberry, Eclaire, something creme filled or something with fruit. Using this criteria as well as what was left on the shelves, I obtained a Bavarian Cream Donut for her and a Buttermilk Glazed donut to round out the trio. My wife thought her donut was OK. I liked the Klunker and the Buttermilk donut but was not moved to any emotional or irrational exuberance by what I tried. This is a good, basic donut shop that has a reputation for having great coffee. The most notable feature for me, is the proximity of an Esther Price Candy Store only one minute away which allowed me to stock up on some hard to find Dayton area chocolates (and these shops offer plenty of free samples including a gummy army man for CMH Griffin).

There will be more Ohio Donut Trail adventures…..but it will be a while.

Silverton Donut Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Posted in bakery, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Brewnuts, Cleveland: The Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 19, 2018

I have been an advocate of pairing donuts with beer since at least 2010. Being a peripheral member of the craft beer industrial complex, it was inevitable that Brewnuts would come on my radar. While I wish I could say it was love at first bite, for years I had to be content to love Brewnuts from afar for alas, my life is in Columbus and Brewnuts was born in Cleveland. The description from the Brewnuts website provides some insight as to why I love what they do. I would say I “got them” the first time I heard about them.

Brewnuts is the lovechild of two Clevelanders – Shelley & John Pippin – who gave up their jobs working for “The Man” to pursue their three favorite things: donuts, beer and Cleveland.

Long story short, one night Shelley bolted up in bed and asked John what he thought about the idea of making craft beer based donuts. After a long pause he said “I like that.” The next day we went out and bought a countertop fryer and got busy hatching our plan to make Cleveland’s most unique and delicious donuts

The donuts are made with beer. They are hand crafted, in small batches without pre-made mixes. The varieties are inspired by the local beers they pour into the mix. When Brewnuts started they could be found in limited quantities in select places in Cleveland like Phoenix Coffee. When I saw they were building out a storefront that would also be a local craft beer bar I knew I had to get there somehow, someway, someday soon….but I had to wait a very long time to make my donut Haj. Brewnuts was everything I wanted it to be and more the second I walked through the door.

I had a limited time to explore since I had a child melting down and a spouse that was literally melting from the heat. I had just enough time to explore the place inside and out as well as to order two donuts. Long time readers of the Ohio Donut Trail adventures know I am a cake donut man, but in this case, I was happy to consume yeast donuts….and I liked it.

I tried one cannoli donut. It tasted like some of the best cannoli I have sampled anywhere. It was fresh, flavorful and clearly used premium ingredients. I also tried one Limoncello donut. This tasted like some of the best Limoncello I sipped in Italy years ago. This donut was also super fresh. As the menu board noted, it did contain alcohol. For most of the donuts, the ABV part of alcohol is cooked out in the donut making process but for the high-test stuff, a trace off alcohol remains. It this case it just added more flavor to the donut. Both donuts were exceptional. If I had time (and a budget) to try more I would have gladly studied these in-depth seated at the bar while creating craft beer pairings for hours on end.

Speaking of craft beer, the selections showcased the best of what Cleveland craft beer has to offer and the beer menu would rival any other craft bar in the region with a similar number of taps. Brewnuts does everything right. It is a great addition to the Gordon Square neighborhood. And it is yet another reason why I love the CLE. Donut Mess with Cleveland.

Brewnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bar, beer, CLEGourmand, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Donut Scene, Strongsville: The Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 18, 2018

The Donut Scene was suggested to me by the esteemed and effervescent Liz Martin – a local super food focused person and event maker. Ohio Donut Trail research is being bolstered by some family trips to Northeast and Southwest Ohio this summer. This is good news for some of you that like a good donut and bad news for the Dining Duder (aka ChairmanL) who detests words wasted on donuts.

The Donut Scene is a bit nondescript, buried in the exact middle of a small retail strip off Pearl Road. This is a 24 hour operation, which makes it a popular donut destination for 2nd shift workers and late night revelers. The place opened in 1983 but looks much older. The decor is classic donut shop – simple counters, stools and because this is Ohio, a big American Flag draped on a wall. My teen-aged counter person was friendly and upbeat. I tried a wide range of donuts in order to be comprehensive.

This was my first donut research mission without my beloved porchhound CMH Tobias but this was the first joint team assessment (reluctantly) with CMH Spouse and (with great enthusiasm) CMH Griffin.

My wife’s go to donut is generally a blueberry cake with maple glazed a close second. Both of these were sampled and she found them to be satisfactory but unexciting. She thought the maple had a slight pumpkin flavor to it.

CMH Griffin, sampled a small piece of a cake donut with sprinkles and a small piece of a cherry donut. These were consumed with significant gusto. Over the course of the next 24 hours, CMH Griffin consumed about 1.5 donuts. Considering we have been experimenting with a no gluten diet and low processed sugar diet for him, this was a poor decision on my part. CMH Spouse was quick to point this out with her trademark sarcastic disdain. This was warranted because CMH Griffin was wound up for the rest of the evening so neither of us slept more than a few hours.

The Donut Scene has a large variety of cakes, cookies, apple fritters and such as well. I did not notice this until I left, but in reviewing my photos (see below) I spied a food item I have not encountered before: Kilatchy. Had I seen this at the time I would have ordered one. I think it may be a very interpretive spelling of Kolache. If you go to the Donut Scene, please find out for me and post here to let me know the story.

My favorite donut was a chocolate glazed French Cruller. Before I started down the strange, long and sugary path of the Ohio Donut Trail, the cruller was my favorite donut style but it lost some of is hold over me since they are harder to find in Columbus and rarely very good. This cruller was the best I recall having in this decade.

I asked about customer favorites and was told that Devils Food and Sour Cream were the top-selling donuts. If I had looked before asking I would have noticed the rack/trays for both were three times bigger than their peers.

All in all, the Donut Scene is worthy of the Ohio Donut Trail.

Donut Scene Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

R&M Bakery – Newark (Back on The Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 13, 2018

Family Gourmand has been kicked in the nuts for the bulk of 2018 with one calamity, illness, etc., after another. So there has been little time for writing and even less for donut exploration. This post is the result of pure “serendonutipity”. I never had R & M Bakery on my radar but while doing a brewery run in Newark, I happened to notice the sign for the bakery. Then I spied a donut display case I could see through the window while I was waiting for a stop light to change. Although I was very pressed for time, I decided to pop in for a look. From outside appearances, I thought the place had a lot of potential. The building looks to be at least 100 years old. The nearly non existent parking lot is made of turn of the 20th century brick street pavers. I nearly did not see the business signage because it is old and faded. Walking into the shop, I had pretty low expectations. Interior design and decor is definitely not a priority of the owners but that is neither a pro nor con on the donut trail but did help to lower my low expectations It was late on a Friday afternoon and no self respecting bakery should have much stock at this time of day. R&M delivered on that unwritten law of bakeries, the shelves were nearly bare. Donut Trail criteria is based on dough alone.

I typically judge a potential Ohio Donut Trail spot the merit of their cake donuts (because those are the best) but all I had to choose from were a few yeast donuts, long johns and a few specialty items. While chatting up the young fella at the counter, I discovered that the bakery is very well-known for the quality of their cakes and cut-out cookies. None of those were available to sample and to be true to form, this is the donut trail so that is not relevant but still noteworthy. However, I should mention that I did try one Oreo ball and it was beyond divine. It was a small dense and moist ball of chocolate cake with a touch of Oreo flavor to it that was encased in dark chocolate. Really good. Best Oreo Ball ever. Small in size but big it flavor. It will not disappoint. (Written in Trumpian style for no reason).

Moving along to the donuts, although what I tried were items that would typically be on the second tier of my donut consumption pyramid, each variety I tried was exceptional for the category it represented. I tried a vanilla glazed yeast donut. The icing was flavorful and the donut tasted crazy fresh for a Friday afternoon. I tried a maple long john. The icing was lightly glazed on to the top of this tube-shaped treat but tasted true to the maple traditions of most Ohio donut shops. I sampled a vanilla cream as well and was impressed with the light fluffiness of the icing as well as the flavor. I also tried a baked good I had not encountered before which is called a Chop Suey Roll. I picked it because it was the last of its kind left in the display case. The base of this treat is a cinnamon roll style dough that looks to be cut in thick noodle or French fry form that is then mashed together and covered with a thick layer of vanilla icing. This was very good so I saved a few bites for CMH Griffin Gourmand to munch on one hour later when I picked him up from daycare. He gave it two thumbs up. My boy is no slouch when it comes to donuts so I hope you can appreciate his opinion although he is still under three years old.

I also tried an apple fritter, a staple of any Ohio Bakery. The fritters here are leaner that the typical fat and sassy fritter found in these parts but it did not fail for flavor. There was a very good sugary glaze coating throughout the exterior and the interior housed several fresh apple bits. I was impressed.

For an unplanned exploratory mission, I tried enough to want to visit again. If you go, I advise you to look for off street parking nearby. The bakery is at a pretty busy intersection. The brick parking lot is short and narrow, it might fit two cars if the drivers are considerate of each other and not in a rush to get in or out.

Doing a bit of sleuthing, the bakery has been around at least thirty years with a largely supportive local following minus a few Facebook rants back and forth in the past.

Note:
The correct phone number seems be: (740) 345-3615.

R & M Bakery Incorporated Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio Donut Trail | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Back to Family Donut Shoppe for a Burger…..

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 8, 2017

Readers may recall several mentions of Family Donut Shoppe in my multiple explorations of SR 56 on my way to Athens. I will come clean, in the spirit of glasnost (all hail President Putin), in addition to my normal investigations I have been scouting the area to buy property for a combination Bigfoot Sanctuary, Pony Ranch and Tiny/Little House court. Anyone that wants to donate to the cause, contact me directly for investment opportunities.

Anyway I vowed I would head back to Family Donut Shoppe for what looked to be a good burger. I did try on the day before Thanksgiving only to find…after driving all the way there, that a business that is open 24 hours a day…decided to close early and I missed them by 15 minutes. It was a long drive home.

I tried again last week with better results. The hamburger was well worth the $2.30 I paid for it. It was a handmade patty on a fresh bun and liberally doused in mustard, ketchup and pickles by request. You can see a photo below.

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I saw a hand written sign for vegetable soup on the wall so I ordered that as well. It was well worth the $2.25 for at least a 12 ounce serving of soup in a reuseable plastic bowl. The soup broth was homemade with a large volume of frozen vegetables cooked into it and a very generous proportion of ground beef. There was some cabbage thrown in for good measure. Vegetarians beware, old school vegetable soup is often not entirely made of vegetables.

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And of course I ordered a selection of a dozen plus donuts to take home to share. These donuts are exceptionally good. Fans of my Ohio Donut Trail may know that Family Donut Shop is considered among the top three donuteries of the thirty-three I have evaluated around the state of Ohio (to date). The dilemma with these donuts is that I have not been able to evaluate these head to head with Donald’s Donuts and DK Diner on the same day. I did take these donuts to a few hardcore fans of Donald’s Donuts who had tried some of those a few days previous. They too are torn. It is only 82.7 miles from door to door of these two spots so if I get DK Diner donuts before I leave Columbus and sample all three after arriving in Zanesville I may someday have an answer for this critical issue. In the meantime, we are certain that Family Donut has the best custard filled donuts (neither Donald’s or DK offer this style).

In you go to Family Donut Shoppe (only 15 minutes from Chillicothe) please call ahead. While they are open 24 hours, on the very odd chance they opt to close early you do not want to be left holding an empty bag at the mid point of your journey. Let me tell you it is a bitter drive home (but pretty if you take SR 93) without donuts or the satisfaction of a burger in your belly.

box of donuts

donuts at Family Donut Shoppe

Posted in donuts, hamburgers, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

8 Sisters Bakery, Mt. Gilead (The Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 11, 2016

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To begin, there are not eight sisters working at 8 Sisters Bakery. The owner is one of 8 sisters in her family with a long baking heritage. Although in the beginning there were four of the sisters working together, now it is one sister with at least 3 locations, probably 4 (Marion) and maybe five (Marengo)? It was difficult for me to determine with an online search how many total locations are open to the public. The business opened in 2010 but the baking tradition started in the Amish upbringing of the owner (who left the community later in life) and some exposure on farmers markets in the early days.

I visited the newest location in the 8 Sisters empire which opened in September of 2016. Located in the Bonecutter Mall (on SR 95) a short hop off of I-71 (exit 155) the exterior would be described at best as nondescript and unassuming. Inside the space is warm, inviting and fairly expansive with some seating and a lot to look at. Within the confines there is a coffee shop, some hand painted baking themed signage and of course a cornucopia of baked goods coming from a deep and very busy open kitchen.

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A handful of breakfast and lunch items are available. The tagline of the business is “You Name it, We Bake it” so I will offer a sample of the baked goods available at this location: donuts, specialty donuts, cookies, handmade candies, fruit pies, cream pies, pies, sandwich breads, brownies, pumpkin bars, muffins, bagels, cupcakes, cheesecakes, cakes and wedding cakes. Oh, my!

I asked for a random assortment of a dozen regular and specialty donuts. I sampled the following: buttermilk, red velvet, chocolate, strawberry cheesecake (in stick form) yeast/glazed, sticky bun, apple fritter & Cookies and Cream (cookie bits). Two donuts I did not try but am very intrigued by are Buckeye (peanut butter and chocolate of course) and Chop Suey Roll.

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My first impression of these donuts was good. While these are the most expensive dozen donuts in my donut trail research (by about $5 more) these were without a doubt the heaviest by weight and volume, easily weighing twice as much as the typical box of a dozen donuts. The cake donuts in particular were very dense. The icing and fillings in all the donuts were fresh and flavorful. The verdict, these are good donuts.

As I departed, I decided this would be a good opportunity to explore Mt. Gilead. I have only had two previous exposures to the county seat of Morrow county. In high school, when I listened to Q-FM 96, the tag line of the station was “We Rock Columbus” but DJ’s would localize it by saying we rock -> Clintonville, Whitehall, Westerville, etc. Every once in a blue moon they would say, Mt. Gilead….and then giggle a little. My second encounter involved a shattered dream. I once knew a young lady named Anna Bell F (name hidden to protect you stealing a good idea from me). She was easily one of the three best bakers I have encountered in my lifetime. I had big dreams of, like a Kentucky Colonel with a prized racehorse, taking her on the Ohio County Fair circuit and dominating all of the prize ribbon contests for a decade or more. She never bought into this agenda. Perhaps she was afraid of the fame or terrified of me wearing a Kentucky Colonel suit all of the time. That was all I had to work with as a frame of reference for Mt. Gilead.

The last 11 miles of my trip to 8 Sisters Bakery involved a white knuckled drive over a long stretch of black ice on I-71. Therefore, I decided that it was worth the seven mile drive to downtown Mt. Gilead to take the long way home via State Route 42. On my journey up, the last few miles before I made the turn off on exit 155 all of could think of was “I am going to be really pissed if I die on a f**king donut run).” And I did not want to drive back thinking “I’m going to be really pissed off if I die before I eat all of these f**king donuts.”

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Downtown Mt. Gilead is charming and features all of the elements we expect in a small Ohio town: mom and pop shops, a town square, an old movie theater, some Donald Trump/Pence signs and a civil war monument (this time an Obelisk instead of the typical bearded general statue). There was (as I previously documented there is a state law mandating this) a small bakery as well which just happened to be another 8 Sisters location. I decided to pop in here as well for perspective. The shop on South Main street is very small and does not have 1/10th of the offerings of the other 8 Sisters I stocked up at earlier. But, as I would have expected, as I entered the door I was greeted warmly and called honey, just like the other location. Some things never change.

8 Sisters Bakery
6200 State Route 95
Mount Gilead
(Closed Sunday)

8 Sisters Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bakery, desserts, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Honeydip Donuts & Diner – Redux (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 16, 2016

honey-dip-diner

Take a look at this blast from the past, a -> 2007 posting on Honeydip Donuts. My how things changed. Back then in the primordial stage of this blog, I was less interested in donuts than I am today. Clearly I have evolved into more of a donut docent. During that time Honeydip Donuts evolved into a diner. An update is highly warranted so here we go. But first a detour with a few questions related to the old post. One: is it donut or doughnut (see the previous post). Two: why did I tag the entry Ohio Donut Girl – I clearly had something else on my mind in 2007 – an apparent conflict of priorities.

Here is the not so skinny on Honeydip Donuts & Diner. They do have donuts. Their selection is OK, they tend to run out before they close for the day. In my tasting trips there has not been a specific standout donut. Their Pumpkin donuts seem to be the most popular they have a good stick donut, some turnovers and muffins too.

On the diner side of the business they do seem to have a fair number of regular customers. Most of them are pretty long in the tooth and several appear to drop in on an almost daily basis. I like that.

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Breakfast appears to be the go to menu choice here. The pancakes are good. There are three donut related special sandwiches to bridge that dark world between breakfast and lunch. On the lunch side, there is a different soup offered each day. These have some merit. I don’t often issue a dire warning but I have a fiduciary obligation to my blog base to tell you – DO NOT waste your time with their gyro or fries they would be best served inside a bag of deplorables.

Honeydip

There are two reasons to pull me back here. 1) A fond Thanksgiving memory from my youth. 2) Honeydip has an incredible variety of old photos related to donuts. It is well worth the time to drop in and spend several minutes looking at history of a very democratic snack (as well as a wall dedicated to photos of regular customers) between bites of a donut.

honey-dip-diner-sign

Honey Dip Donuts & Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Diners, donuts, Ohio Donut Trail | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Spudnut Donuts- Berea (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 7, 2016

Spudnuts sign

The call of duty for the Ohio Donut trail led me just south of Cleveland – Berea, Ohio. I’ve had my eye on Spudnuts for several years and as luck would have it, this special spot is not far Fat Head Brewing and what better way to prepare for drinking beer than loading up on donuts.

Spudnuts Building Berea

Let’s take a quick step into the Wayback Machine to discuss the place Spudnuts has in American Donut history. The first Spudnuts started in Salt Lake City in 1940 by a couple of brothers with a knack for kneading a special potato based flour. The uniqueness of the recipe and wartime shortages made Spudnuts a favored snack. Fueled by low franchise fees by 1954 there were over three hundred Spudnuts in 38 states. In the early 1970’s numbers continued to swell including 170 Japanese Spudnut locations. However by 1979 the company ceased operation and the franchises were left on their own without access to the special Spudnut flour. Today about 37 independently owned Spudnuts soldier on throughout the country (including one in nearby Mentor).

box of Spudnut Donuts

This location features about thirty kinds of donuts, including the bestsellers Toasted Coconut, Butter Pecan and Maple Bacon. Most of the styles are round, yeasty donuts with special fillings such as key lime pie, apple jelly, maple bacon, raspberry, strawberry, apricot, custard/cream, cherry, blueberry, peach and chocolate cream. Because it is Northeast Ohio, there is a maple donut and because Cleveland Rocks there is a Maple Bacon donut. The donut makers fry about twenty pounds of bacon a week to meet demand. I’ve encountered a few bacon donuts in my donut daze but to date most have had bacon as an afterthought or gimmick. At this Spudnuts the bacon is piled on thickly and it tastes great!

My favorite here was the Cruller. A donut style that I rarely encounter but the version here was exceptional. It was fluffy and airy but had an incredible flavor and mouth feel.

I continued to sample from my box of twelve over the next three days and found these Spudnuts are long lived and maintained a fresh flavor well past 72 hours. So next time you are passing by, drop in for a spudnut.

Spudnut details

Spudnut Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in CLEGourmand, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

4 Mile Bakery (& General Store & Furniture Store), Jackson, (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 18, 2016

Initially, I was skeptical that Jackson Ohio could offer two candidates to the Ohio Donut Trail. My journey to 4 Mile Bakery (et. al) was much longer that four miles. It took me over the freeway, through the woods, past some large houses, horse pastures and more. As a place far from home and only open a few days a week, it was a long time for the stars to align in such a manner as to allow me to visit and take care of the rest of my “business” in Jackson.

My first thought was the business might not be focused enough to deliver a good donut. In addition to 4 Mile Bakery, I saw references to a general store, fireplaces and a furniture store. Sometimes all were listed together or just a combination of two were spelled out…..or alluded to.

When I pulled up, these were the two things that caught my eye.

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Walking down the wooden porch, passing by rockers for sale, I walked through the door to see the set up of a typical general store. Then I saw an aisle of almost any candy I have encountered in my life, then another of the Amish store du jour staples of pickled vegetables, jerkies and whatnot. Then I spied row after row of self service donut cases filed to the brim with styles of donuts I have never encountered…..ever. Among these new discoveries: maple pecan apple fritters, fritter toes, apple fritters shaped like feet (with the toes still attached), donut pillows (small square donuts filled with cream / creme which I would not mind falling asleep on), pretzel shaped donuts covering in maple and giant yeast donuts that are two times bigger than any previously sighted / cited donut in my life experience. Those are just some of the styles I saw displayed.

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Mrs. Gourmand believes the maple covered pretzel donut may be her favorite item I have dragged home from my donut trail expeditions. The blueberry rated highly with her as well. In order to continue researching the donut trail it is important that certain people of influence are occasionally not disgruntled in spite of my being absent from home. A third saving grace for 4 Mile Bakery and _______ is that Mrs. Gourmand believes their custard may be as good as the current custard champion front-runner Family Donut Shoppe. This bodes well since the wife of my occasional research assistant, the Grumpy Old Man, whom we refer to as the Queen, has only been pleased by one trophy from the donut trail, (and perhaps never pleased by anything else….ever) a custard donut from Family Donut Shoppe. If a place can offer a custard donut fit for a Queen, then then is hope for the Grumpy old man and a continuation of the Ohio Donut Trail.

4 Mile Bakery (on Facebook)
6005 4 Mile Rd, Jackson, OH 45640

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Tender Fluff, Jackson (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 17, 2016

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My quest to wrap up the southern leg of the Ohio Donut Trail took me to Jackson Ohio to try not one but two donuteries. My first stop was in Jackson proper to visit Tender Fluff Donuts. The name has a decades old history in Jackson with the original location on Broadway. In 2012, Tender Fluff drifted away from the town center to slightly off the beaten railroad tracks on Harding Ave. The present location is three times larger than Tender Fluff 1.0 and it needs to be. By report the space creates 200 – 300 dozen donuts a day. In addition to customers frequenting the shop the business delivers to over 30 locations in the region.

The place does not make an impression which makes one want to “come hither”. It is a nondescript cinder block building with minimal signage and limited frontage and windows. Just a short hop away from the railroad tracks and while not at a major intersection, the area seems to be a high volume thoroughfare for the whole county – countless cars streamed past me as I was circling Tender Fluff to get a lay of the land and figure out where to park, it lacks ambiance. However the first rule of donut exploration is “don’t judge a donut by its building”.

When I walked through the door, I had the feeling of being the greenhorn walking into an old western bar. The ladies gathered around the table knew me for the outsider I was. After watching me gaze around the space and looking dejectedly at the dozens of empty plastic tubs lining the counters and tables one of the donut slingers directed me to the main counter. She guided the greenhorn to the last creme horns and random remaining donuts. The place is open until 1 pm but often sells out well before that. I came through the door just after high noon. I could tell from my clinical style observations that hours ago there had been at least fifty varieties of donuts in this space. Even the bins labeled day old donuts were bare to the bottom.

The display case had maybe thirty donuts left and since it looked like the ladies were getting ready to call it a day I was offered a deal – a dozen of any type, even the “specials” for $8. That is a good deal, especially when I was given a true bakers dozen. Among my assortment was a cannoli. I am always wary of any cannoli in Ohio. Over 95% of what I have tried in the Buckeye state have been a dismal disappointment (since my cannoli baseline is based on the Italian bakeries of old Boston, it is a high bar). Because of my past cannoli experiences, I did not bother to try the one I picked up until the next day…..and it was SUPERIOR! The key to Tender Fluff is to get to the doors early (5:30 or 6:00 am).

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The other donuts and “specials” I tried were all of high quality. In particular, the simple, long thin stick donuts were melt in your mouth light and featured a thin, sweet glaze which helped these tubes of dough slight right down into my belly. The icing used as filling in two of the donuts was also among some of the best I have tried in my dough fueled travels. Another interesting feature, Tender Fluff offers both soft and hard creme horns. I have never been a creme horn advocate but in this case the soft creme horn was a game changer for me and a perfect platform for delivering large volumes of creme.

A few other tasting notes. My next destination for the day was 4 Mile Bakery a few miles away. Located at the mid-point between these two donut purveyors is a local favorite Rowdy’s Smokehouse . I, of course picked up an order of BBQ to go (to eat on my way to McArthur). Even though Rowdy’s messed up my order, I was impressed with what I consumed (over several days).

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Tender Fluff on Facebook
91 Harding Ave.
Jackson
740 286 6619
Monday to Friday 5:30 am to 1 pm
Saturday 6 am until all is gone

Tender Fluff Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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