CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

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Archive for the ‘donuts’ Category

Mrs. Renison’s Donuts, Marysville (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 23, 2016

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On my way back from The Donut Shop (at Indian Lake) I decided to check the hours for Mrs. Rennison’s Donuts in Marysville which was the mid-point for my drive back to Columbus. Checking the map, it is just a few minutes away from 33 so I decided to cram in a second donut run into my morning. The second it came into view I experienced Donut Trail Deja Vu. The place looks a lot like The Family Donut Shoppe (now in my top three donut places in the state) both in building size, design and they have a drive through window and parking lot sets up that are similar.

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Looking at the sign and seeing that the recipe dated back to 1929, I was excited. When I got home I found out that this business dates to 1989 so at first I was less excited, then I found out where the 1929 reference comes from:

Crispie Creme Donuts began in Portsmouth, Ohio, and was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Renison.

It is known by names such as Mrs. Renison Shops, Mrs. Renison’s Doughnuts and Mrs. Renison’s Crispie Creme Donut Shop. Shops have been found in Ohio in Lancaster, Marysville, Wheelersburg and Chillicothe.

It appears that at some point the Renisons sold the business or franchised the name to allow other similarly named businesses to operate. For example, the Marysville shop that opened around 1989 is run by Keith and Cindy Hill, using “Mrs. Renison’s original recipe from Portsmouth

I’ve been to the Crispie Creme in Chillicothe so now I saw the historical connection.

Walking through the door, I was greeted by fast and very friendly service. Feeling a bit bloated already I tried to order just eight donuts but my new friend at the counter pointed out that for a few cents more I could have one dozen. And the price was right $9.50, sold!

This shop offers a wide variety of yeast and cake donuts. The standout to me was the cinnamon. It is a six-sided yeast donut with a bit of a swirl on the inside and a thin glaze of vanilla icing on top with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. The other winner was the last of its batch on the shelf. A dark chocolate cake donut with a thick layer of chocolate icing on top. The level of chocolate was almost overwhelming but not off-putting.

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622 E 5th St, Marysville
937 642-7008

Mrs Renison's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Posted in donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

The Donut Shop & Bakery, Russells’ Point/Indian Lake (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 21, 2016

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In 2016, I’m wrapping up the southern leg of the Ohio Donut Trail and focusing my eyes on the north. A few readers had suggested The Donut Shop (known as Hinkle’s long, long ago) at Indian Lake. I decided to make my move while it was still summer to get a feel for the vibe of the place. I’ve never been to the area so I budgeted out some time to drive around Russel’s Point to explore the community. I thought this would be a good way to tip my toe into the water of the northern Ohio donut trail.

Reading some online reviews, the only complaint I could find about the Donut Shop was that there is not inside space to the place. Everyone orders from a single window in the shop. The donuts are displayed through the other windows. I could see where this might be a drag in the winter but from my perspective that gives the workers a lot more space for donut production so I support the business as is. There is a large variety of yeast and cake donuts to choose from as well as cookies, cinnamon rolls and other baked goods. The two signature donuts here are both yeast style donuts. The first is the Buckeye which is a mix or peanut butter, chocolate, cream filling and a bit of whipped cream. The flavors on this donut were big and rich. The other signature donut is the maple bacon. The maple glaze had a good flavor to it but the bacon bits were a cursory adjunct at best. My favorite donuts of the dozen I sampled were the vanilla cake and the apple fritter. The fritter had a good shelf life to it, still tasting great two days after I bought it. It also had great apple flavor. It is one of the better apple fritters I have trip along the Ohio Donut Trail. As I was rounding out my order of a dozen I was asking the woman at the window if there were any favorite donuts I missed? Before she could answer her co-worker said – “well there is at least one you can’t have.” (I wondered, what did I do wrong and then I thought, this is a challenge, there must be some type of donut they think I won’t eat). As it turned out I was just here at the wrong time. The most popular donut in the shop is pumpkin which is a fall only seasonal flavor. A close second is an apple crisp donut which rolls out at the same time.

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The kicker for the Donut Shop is everything else it has to offer. They offer ice creams and sandwiches during the weekends. I was impressed to see they serve Homemade Brand Ice Cream (from UDF the best “macro” ice cream maker in the state). While the shop closes at noon during the week, they stay open as late as 9 pm on warm weather weekends. They also have two good deals: Box lunches for $5 and day old donuts (not many to choose from) for 25 cents each ($3 for a dozen). Another perk is a great view of the lake.

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Also noted as I looked at the windows I saw this sign, which I had seen at another place before. I took a liking to the concept of a Donut Party – both politically and socially. I have hosted donut parties in the past. But politically, the concept of a donut party appeals to me during this election year I could best describe as insane.

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The Donut Shop and Bakery
104 Main St E, Russells Point
937 842-1969

The Donut Shop on the Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Lil Donut Factory – Hilliard (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 16, 2016

Mr. Donut Face

Exploring the Ohio Donut trail took me reluctantly to….Hilliard. Longtime readers may be puzzled by my reluctance to travel such a relative short distance. The conundrum is created by my long-established willingness to travel hours through the state to other destinations or the many occasions to roam around the state in search of donuts and more. I’ve never connected with Hilliard for a series of gray reasons – it makes me think of urban sprawl, most of it feels like an extended strip mall and getting there always seems to be inconvenient to me. So I have outed one of my many old man biased thoughts.

However my desire to cap off the Columbus zone of the Ohio Donut Trail drove me to drive out of my comfort zone and into this suburb but still with some dread. Over the years I made two attempts to visit the Lil Donut Factory but both were busts, once the place was closed unexpectedly and the other time the donuts were decimated.

As I approached my gut told me I would be disappointed. The Lil Donut Factory is an unlikely business, in an inconvenient place near a slightly off kilter three-way intersection that ends in a mini mall Sunoco gas station complex that also features a bar called Nasty’s and a Goodwill drop off site. The sign of the factory was nearly faded away by the sun. You would have to know this place existed to find it. My donut-y heart continued to droop.

Within moments of arrival, my reservations were cancelled before I even tasted a donut. In the Lil Donut Factory I found a thinking man’s donutery. The walls have a hodgepodge of comic book art including a framed 1941 Super Man Sunday comic. Other elements that struck my fancy: Star Trek art, a Four String Brewing howler, framed classic vinyl records, a nice selection of books for customers to read and a guy at the counter that offers suggestions on books by lesser known German authors. Last but very much not least, the front window sports a Bernie 2016 sign….pretty daring in this section of Hilliard. At this point, I did not even care if I liked the donuts.

I tried blueberry, stick, cinnamon twist, maple, maple-bacon, and apple fritter and a few others. The price was $9.50 for a baker’s dozen (a real deal). However my latent aversion to Hilliard must had caused a unconsious desire to get rid of the evidence because I accidentally deleted all the photos I took on site. The only visual I have to offer is a face made out of my remaining donuts. Insider tip for the Lil Donut Factory – go as early as you can while the selection is large and the donuts are fresh. If you have time, hang around for some coffee and good conversation.

Update: Special thanks to my blogger-pal Joe, from 614ortyNiner for sending me this photo of the Lil Donut Factory.

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Lil Donut Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Ohio Donut Trail: Amy’s Donuts (Columbus, West Side)

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 18, 2016

Amy's Sign

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…..

Amy's Building

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.

Amy's display

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.

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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
Phone:(614) 641-7721

Monday to Thursday 5AM–8PM
Friday to Sunday 5AM–10PM

Amy's Donuts  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio Donut Trail | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Ohio Donut Trail: Golden Donuts and Diner, Columbus..Southside

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 7, 2016

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I’ve been making a list and checking it twice to make sure I have not overlooked any critical donuteries in Central and Southern Ohio. While I still have a handful to complete before I turn my primary focus to the north, one place in Columbus was absolutely unknown to me. I found a reference to Golden Donuts and Diner buried in a discussion thread about good donut shops. From there I found unprecedented love of the place in Yelp. This prompted even more research as I was convinced that I was going where no bog had gone before until I found a post from James, The Breakfast Grub Guy (who has moved back to the east coast). The post from BGG seemed to indicate the donut were promising and since I have been on a quest to make sure that Mrs. Gourmand has access to the best blueberry donuts money can buy, it became imperative to investigate since this variety had a lot of mentions in the praise for the business.

As a life long resident of Columbus, I had never traveled on Lockbourne Road….ever. As a side note – this area has has lot of history including an air force base, the Tuskegee Airmen, The Monypenny Distillery and canals. I found The business just north of SR 104 in what looks like a former Jolly Pirate building.

Surveying the space, there was a brisk breakfast business going on. From what I could see and smell there are some promising breakfast items here if breakfast is your thing. The display counter indicated about 25 to 30 types of donuts are available at any time but at my arrival there were about 15 different choices. All looked promising so I ordered a baker’s dozen of donuts including blueberry cake, Cherry cake, Blackberry (filling) with vanilla icing, German Chocolate (which I would call an everything donut), peanut, and a “special” which was a donut cooked a little longer than a typical donut and available in both stick and round form. Over a dozen donut knocked me back less than $10 so there is a good value for these sugar bombs.

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The special intrigued me. When I asked about it, the woman at the counter stared at me (English is not her first language, but people staring at me after I ask elaborate food based questions is not an uncommon experience) but within seconds of hearing my question (and surveying my interest in his work), the donut maker came out to fill me in on how he makes the donuts known as special). Mark a point for this place for having people who are proud of their craft.

The donuts I sampled were good. The most noteworthy were the German Chocolate and the Blue Berry and other Fruit based cake donuts. The base of the German Chocolate donut seemed to be a German Chocolate cake base with a hint of Devil’s Food consistency to it. It was encased bits of peanut and shreds of both “white” coconut and toasted coconut.

As for the Blueberry and Cherry cake donuts, these were intriguing. These do not have holes in the middle and instead look like the tops of muffins, see the top view example below.

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Overall – a good basic donut shop with a large variety and the bonus of full breakfast, lunch and dinner service.

Golden Donuts & Diner
1928 Lockbourne Rd, Columbus, OH 43207
Monday – Saturday, 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM

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

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

Ohio Donut Trail: Penny’s Pastries, Logan

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 21, 2016

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Buried deep inside of the Ohio Revised Code, I have a hunch that there is some type of mandate on requirements for small Ohio towns. If I was to guess, it may read something like this, any county seat as well towns numbering over 1500 citizens or greater should ensure the following are located near the city center: Statue honoring a civil war hero, a small park with benches, a traffic circle or small area of one way streets and a bakery. Penny’s Pastries ensures that Logan Ohio meets those standards.

Penny’s is a small, homey, full service bakery that offers a small number of donuts each day. While not the mainstay of the business, donuts are an important enough feature to warrant displaying them in the front window (so customers can see if any are left) and prominent placement of the production schedule at the front door. In addition to donuts they offer cakes, muffins, cookies, etc. Donuts typically sell out quickly so it is suggest you arrive as close to the 6 am opening time as possible to get the best selection. Although I have not tried one, the peanut butter creme filled donuts appears to be their biggest crowd pleaser.

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Penny’s Pastries Bakery
Address: 81 E Main St, Logan, OH 43138
Phone:(740) 385-5190

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

Ohio Donut Trail: Family Donut Shoppe

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 15, 2016

Family Donut Shoppe Sign

There is one objective truth on the Ohio Donut Trail, just when you think you have everything covered (south of 70) a new spot appears unexpectedly. This one was scouted via social media. A key observation by the social media poster – a 24 hour donut shop!, caught my eye. As did the location, Londonderry, Ohio. I have traveled nearly all of Ohio but it turns out Londonderry is on a section of S.R. 50 I had never traversed. Doing some research, this spot is about 15 minutes east (ish) of Chillicothe. Doing more research, it seems than Londonderry is only about 50 minutes from Athens, which of course means O’Betty’s so in my odd travel logic – how about a day devoted to donuts and hot dogs. This oddly shaped travel triangle makes for a spiffy afternoon drive. It turned out to be a pretty good day for donuting to boot.

Family Donut Shoppe

Regular devotees to the Ohio Donut trail (not to be confused with another Ohio Donut trail which is newer and just covers a small portion of the state and might be construed as an upstart donut trail) will be pleased to know that Family Donut shop is easily in the top 6 best Ohio Donuteries encountered to date.

I knew pulling into the lot that I would love the place. It looked wholesome. The counter staff were friendly and the offerings were extensive. In addition to donuts (mostly of the cake variety but fritters, Long John’s and fancy donuts too) the place serves good coffee, hot dogs, a smoked sausage sandwich, ice cream, milkshakes and a few other things. There is a counter with a few stools and a scattering of tables as well as a 24 hour drive through window. This ensures that if one needs to rest from the drive there are ample options for sustenance and support.

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Family Donut Shoppe 3

A dozen plus donuts of all varieties were purchased and sampled over the next nine hours. The apple fritter was exceptional. The stick donut was the best I have ever consumed anywhere. The other donuts were all fresh, of good quality, light, fluffy and satisfying. After returning home and taking some donuts with him, my tasting associate texted me within minutes “The plain cake donut may be the best I have ever had!”

Additional trips will be made to Family Donut Shop to continue this important research. On the way to Athens I discovered McArthur Ohio which also warrants more investigation so the two Route 50 towns may be linked together in a future post.

Family Donut Shoppe 4

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures on the original and best Ohio Donut Tail.

Family Donut Shop
35633 US-50, Londonderry, OH 45647
(740) 887-2120

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

Posted in donuts, ice cream, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Ohio Donut Trail (Seasonal) Circle S Farms

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 21, 2015

Fatherhood and my stewardship of CMH Griffin took me south of I 70 to what turned out to be a mainstay of greater Grove City, Darbydale, Groveport and points beyond – Circle S. Farm.

The farm opens for seasonal events including Fall Fun Days, so it was decided by a power greater than me (Mrs. Gourmand) that we would be having fun.

Before I forget, here are two critical tips to better enjoy your trip.

1) Go early to beat the swarms – plans on lots of bees at Circle S. and plans for their numbers to rise as more people come and spill sweet things that attract more bees. And come early to beat the swarms of people and the long lines they bring because this place fills up fast. On a Sunday go before the church crowd gets out so you can have a pretty fun time to explore the farm on your own without having to dodge all the city and trailerslickers.

2) Buy a couple packages of the day old donuts, they are a great value and you will need supplies for the drive home.

When we arrived, I saw the sign below and opted to treat my next step as one of the choose your own adventure books of my youth. I decided my adventure would start with food by turning right towards food instead for left to the hay barn.

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My vision of food options was a paper plate with some donuts from a box on an old card table…that was very much not the case. There are two food areas at the farm located side by side. One section is set up like a concession stand at a high school football game – you can choose from bean soup, chicken and noodles, chili, hot dogs and cold apple cider. All except the cider are homemade. The chili was OK, the chicken and noodles were bland but featured very fresh and well cooked chicken.

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Next door, there was a small store and full service bakery with an array of goodies, mostly donuts. The bakery space is a pretty tightly run operation with more commercial equipment that I have seen in many year round bakeries. I sampled several of the items avalable but the must try are the donuts, they were all exceptional. In fact so exceptional as to warrant a listing in the Ohio Donut Trail. There were eight to ten varieties of donuts including the ubiquitous Ohio Fall flavor of pumpkin, a maple glazed donut, coconut, a powered sugar donut, several with nuts sprinkled on top and a few with chocolate glaze. Each version sampled was good while the pumpkin and maple were exceptional. The good news here is that you can go to the farm store directly and avoid admission fees so it is an option to limit your fun to just buying donuts from the shop and you can stock up by buying the day old donuts by the dozen at $4 per pop.

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Circle S Farm
Circle S Farms
9015 London Groveport Rd. (St. Rt. 665)
Grove City, OH 43123
United States
614-878-7980

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

DK Diner: Kind of Dynamic

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 22, 2015

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My primary and secondary references to DK Diner have focused on their donuts. There are three reasons for that: 1) These donuts are among the finest in the state anywhere and I have the research to prove it 2) DK stands for Donut Kitchen – the previous name of this former Lawson’s location 3) As has been established before, Breakfast is my fifth favorite meal behind Second Lunch and Midnight Snack but I do make an exception for Breakfast – donuts. (Writer Note: I ordered 200 DK Diner donut for my wedding and there was only one box left the next day mainly because I hid it).

DK Diner originally established themselves as a breakfast destination (which can be confirmed any Saturday or Sunday Morning). I had forgotten I had breakfast there – once – I had to go through my notes to confirm such but I did indeed have breakfast there and it was good. I’m sure I had donuts. But there is more to dining life other than donuts and breakfast so DK Diner has continually been tweaking their approach to dining after Noon. (Writers Note: This post is dedicated to The Dining Duder who is the least favorite fan of the Ohio Donut Trail).

All of this came about then I was picking up some donuts for Mrs. Gourmand. I noticed some specials listed near the cash register including a coney special. I love a classic hot dog snadwich but Columbus does not support a hot dog or coney culture so I felt a need, well actually mission, maybe even an obligation to support a coney special. So I made note to come back on a Monday so I could belly up my support.

Coney

The coney special includes two coneys with cheese and onions with a hearty serving of hand cut fries. My coney cliff notes: Good combo and a great price. While consuming a coney I noticed another weekly special, Meatloaf. Meatloaf is the litmus test or the canary in a coal mine of any true Diner, so I planned on coming in during my next open Wednesday for more research. This special includes a fist sized serving of meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans (that are cooked not poured out of a can then reheated) and one half of a bun grilled to toast level crispness with a bit of butter. The meatloaf was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of ketchup baked in to the meat. This dish is all DK Diner needs for official diner status.

meatloaf

Another item that caught my eye in the side dish category was potato chips. Well actually this caught my eye and kept it, so I ordered these as my appetizer for my meatloaf main course. Wow, these chips are great, they are spindle cut and deep-fried to order coming out fresh with plenty of crispness with just enough slightly chewy pieces intermixed in the mess of potatoes piled into a basket. Other than OH! Chips, you will not find a better fresh potato chip in Ohio.

Chips

While masticating meatloaf I spied this on the regular menu: “Schlamager Bratwurst – DK’s special recipe, served on a grilled torpedo bun with sauerkraut, grilled pepper and onions”. So I looked for a day to come back and tried this. Verdict: Sehr gut. I asked my server if she knew anything about the name of the bratwurst or the special recipe, clearly she knew I was trying to get some “intel” so she feigned ignorance. Heading back home, I did some internet research to “crack the Schlamager code” and while I found lots of references to DK Diner I could not find a Schlamager on my screen. What ever Schlamager subterfuge is going on here, the end result is that it is an exceptional bratwurst sandwich experience served with a side of chips (and during my meal, a free donut at check out). What could be better than that? Well. While I was doing research I discovered DK Diner did offer a special featuring this brat with baked beans and pierogis, that would be slightly better than what I had and I would like to see that as a daily special.

Brat

So what is the key to success at this dynamic diner? They adapt to the times. Over the years the business has added patio space, focused on building up their bar business with local craft beers and some locally sourced spirits from Watershed Distillery. Another cool thing in the beer offerings, each beer is displayed in a baseball card style format to help guide your drinking decision and to help DK avoid constantly printing new beer menus. While all of this is being crammed into a small amount of space, DK Diner does not challenge guest with complicating anything. Booths feature instructions on how to interact with the diner: Drinks are self-serve, when it is time to leave, go to the counter with your table number and they will ring you out. Want the wi-fi password? It is listed on the information sheet. Another handy feature is the donut menu so you can see what they have to offer. This simple approach to diner satisfaction because most old school diners cater to their regulars that already know “the rules” while DK Diner wants to make you an “insider” on your first trip.

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DK Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bar, beer, Diners, donuts | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Ohio Donut Trail: Jack Frost Donuts – Cleveland

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 27, 2014

After extensive south of 70 research of Ohio’s bountiful selection of donuteries I finally had an opportunity to start exploring what Northeast Ohio has to offer. What I describe for you next may sound like a fantasy – but it did indeed happen. On my way to the Ohio Craft Brewers conference in Ohio City I had a little downtime and decided to check Jack Frost off of my list. The place had come in as a reader suggestion and in several online searches. I’m glad I made time for donuts. Well let’s be honest, I’m almost always glad to make time for (good) donuts.

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The first thing that Jack Frost has going for it is how conveniently located it is to Ohio City (which is the best square mile of food and beer in Cleveland). Located on Pearl Road, it only took a few zigs and zags through neighborhood streets to get back on track on Pearl Road and more tasty treats after I left the parking lot. The next plus, was close proximity to a windmill. Yes, nothing panics me more when looking for a new place than not having some easy to find landmark as a reference point in case I decide to drop in on a whim in the future. A windmill is an easy thing to remember. The next thing that made me feel warm and fuzzy before I pulled in to the parking lot was the exterior. A bit beat up, weathered and industrial, this was no foo-foo donut shop, Jack Frost was clearly an old school neighborhood hangout. Confidence was high for scoring a classic donut before I walked through the door.

I was worried as well. It was past 3:30 pm on a Tuesday and I was concerned that the cupboard might be close to bare (they frequently sell out). Fortunately, the shelves were packed with too many choices (Jack Frost was conveniently open to 8 pm) and ready to fill boxes for people heading to 2nd shift jobs or heading home. In fact, there were so many choices I was overwhelmed.

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Also adding to the pressure, this was my first trip into Northeast Ohio Donut research and I had just found out the place was voted best of Northeast Ohio (competing against more than a baker’s dozen other donuteries) the desire to get one of each was squelched by the fact that they had 35 – 40 different varieties ready to serve and I still had three breweries, Mitchell’s Ice Cream and a Mansfield Pizza place to visit (as well as some possible random stops) before I was call the day done. So I opted for eight different donuts to try. This was quite a Sophie’s choice – trying to decide on which donuts would go home with me, knowing it may be months or years before I would be back. I opted to go with: Salty Carmel, Maple Bacon, German Chocolate, Blueberry, glazed, Raspberry, Maple with peanuts and Peanut Butter cream. Oh, My, Goodness they were good. The kind store clerk also threw in a couple of complimentary donut holes as well, she mentioned they were a fan favorite and based on my (many, many) questions, she figured I might appreciate them.

The first thing I noted about the donuts is that they are just a bit smaller than the typical donut. However based how the massive amount of toppings and extras piled on to each, I felt no reduction of value, if anything the smaller donut may be a public service, in theory, less bulk could mean more consumption. Their cake donuts (my preferred style) were light and fluffy but sturdy enough to bear the weight of the toppings.

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I picked up two blueberry donuts for Mrs. Gourmand since it is her favorite donut variety and her litmus test for donut quality. She liked the blueberry flavor in them but still gives DK Diner the nod for best in (Blueberry) show.

The absolute best of what I sampled was the German Chocolate donut. It was full of rich flavors in both the donut, the German Chocolate base and the regular chocolate intermixed in the frosting. This was exceptional. A close second was a tie between the peanut butter donut and the salty caramel. Jack Frost has been in the business since 1937. I do not think the business has had the same family of owners for the entire history but whatever has been handed down during the decades is impressive. The base donuts are old school good – simple and true to style. The flavor combinations are much more modern, riffing off of what gourmet cupcake places wanted to be but typically did not deliver on during the cupcake crave bubble of the early 21st century. If cupcake places had the flavors of Jack Frost with the prices to match – they would be as ubiquitous as Starbucks. If you are heading to Cleveland or nearby, this place is well worth a small detour. Note: By report their Paczki are legendary resulting in the need for a tent and pre ordering during Easter time.

Posted in bakery, CLEGourmand, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: | 2 Comments »