CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

Dining, Donuts, Dives and Diatribes

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Posts Tagged ‘ohio donut trail’

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

Pats Donuts & Kreme (& Pizza?!), Lima: Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 20, 2019

My schedule for 2019 so far can best be described as chaotic with a strong dose of frenetic. That being the case, you will be introduced to another character in the Gourmand Universe. Long time readers are aware of the Grumpy Old Man, CMH Spouse, CMH Griffin and Mr. Suit, we now have the addition of Father of Elation (FOE).

FOE is a doctor and was sent to Lima for a week by his practice. Fortunately he had me to give him some unsolicited suggestions on how to spend his free time (away from his wife and three kids). One of the suggestions FOE did take me up on was Pats Donuts & Kreme. Pat’s has three locations in Lima. One of the locations is open 24/7 and offers pizza in addition to donuts. I knew this could create just enough interest to spur FOE into action so he was sent to do my bidding.

His report was as follows: “Pizza was quite good. Crust just the way I like it, thick and doughy but crisp.” An observation was made about how it is easier to order pizza toppings without a spouse or children present but I will not elaborate on that to keep FOE out of trouble. In regards to the donuts, the report was “…took me back to my childhood and the Holmes County institution Norman’s Bakery. I got a chocolate Creme stick and cinnamon fried cake. High marks for both.”

It should be noted that FOE fell asleep mid report and had to continue his report via text the next day.

Other items of note about Pat’s: 1) FOE did not bring any donuts back for me – so he is on probation for future scouting missions 2) Pat’s has been family owned since 1983. 3) Pat’s serves ice cream, sandwiches and other items in addition to donuts.

Pat’s Donuts & Kreme

If you have been to Pat’s or another Lima donut institution Mello-Creme, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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

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

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

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 »

Tender Fluff, Jackson (CLOSED)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 17, 2016

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REPORTED CLOSED JANUARY 2019

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

Posted in CLOSED, 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.

donuts

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: 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.

Family Donut Shoppe 2

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 »

Donut Trail: Holtman’s Donuts, Over the Rhine, Cincinnati

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 24, 2014

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I made an accidental discovery on the donut trail. And those are often the best scenarios for finding good donuts. I was in Cincinnati to explore four breweries: Rhinegeist, MadTree, Listermann’s and 50 West. I had an elaborate plan of visiting the new Jungle Jim’s, Aglamesis Brothers Ice Cream and the Senate before meeting my contact in Cincinnati for brewery exploration. However, there was a snag in the plan. I was driving to Cincinnati, on a Friday, in the rain. That was a recipe for inefficiency. I had forgotten what a shitstorm the freeways of Cincinnati are. En route I-71 was stalled due to a semi accident and then the rain started and then Mrs. Gourmand and I hit the 275 belt right at rush hour. As the duder would say, “Suck It.” It became clear that the plan was not going to work and I might be lucky to make it just in time to start the brewery tour.

While looking for a parking garage in The Over The Rhine I spied what looked like a promising donut shop but donutery research was not on the plan…or the timeline. As luck would have it, we got to the Senate minutes before it opened, so we had just enough time to head back in the opposite direction to Holtman’s Donuts. I’m glad we made that detour.

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Looking at the outside of Holtman’s, I had a good feeling that they would deliver. It was a simple storefront with the hours posted in the door. Holtman’s is open seven days per week which is always a good sign. Another good indicator was that they are open to 9 pm Tuesday to Saturday…so they recognize that people NEED donuts past noon. Another good sign was the donut with a bite taken out of it logo as the iconic image over the threshold. I was excited the moment my hand touched the door.

Just to the left of the entrance you can see the enclosed bakery area. Most donut shops block the line of sight from the counter to the production area. Letting customers see what happens in the art of donut making is a sign of pride in their craft. So at this point, not even 4 steps past the door, my donutry confidence rating scale (D.C.R.S) was registering off of the charts. Then I saw the two super comfy chairs for extended donut eating and the wooden communal table. The table has four stools attached to it with old hardware that allows the seats to swing out in many directions. Cool, retro, comfortable and practical…yep, I was simpatico with this place and I had not even made eye contact with the donuts themselves.

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So now, over 400 words in to this story…on to the donuts. There was not an overwhelming selection available which is my mind is a good thing. At places like Bill’s and Donut World I have sometimes been perplexed by having too many choices. Also since it was late in the day, a good amount of the inventory had been decimated by roaming herds of Over the Rhine hipsters. I spent a long time staring at the donuts trying to make the best selections. Exhibiting more contemplation than would be considered normal or socially acceptable I finally decided on the following: Blueberry (cake) glazed, Blueberry Cream Cheese, Cherry Fritter and Maple Bacon Blueberry Cake.

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Hot Dog (read this with the tone and inflection of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life)! Using Mrs. Gourmand as an assistant sampler, we evaluated and deconstructed each donut in great detail. We found the best elements of all of the donuts were the glazes and icing. The Cream Cheese icing was the best I’ve encountered in my adventures in donut hunting. The regular glaze featured on the other donuts we sampled was equally impressive. The standout was the fritter. And while I only tried one, I can say with some degree of confidence, that Holtman’s has the best fritters in Ohio. They make what I call the Goldilocks Fritter which balances all of the critical elements a fritter needs to knock it out of the park. The fritter is neither too thick or too thin. It is crunchy on the outside yet incredibly soft, moist and fluffy in the inside. Each bite was a taste of perfection with the proper balance of everything an old school fritter should constitute. That alone, warrants a trip to Holtman’s. Welcome to The Ohio Donut Trail Holtman’s, I look forward to another visit.

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Holtman's Donut Shop on Urbanspoon

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Stan The Donut Man, Dayton: The Ohio Donut Trail Continues

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 31, 2013

Those of you coming late to the Ohio Donut Trail series would be well advised to backtrack to get caught up on where we are to date, the sixteen donuteries worth a mention as of March 2013 will be found in this link -> Ohio Donut Trail.

For those loyalists who have followed this series, I offer a brief update. I still feel firmly that DK Diner has the best overall donuts of all of those sampled so far. As for second place, I struggle a bit. Perhaps it is Bill’s in Centerville, Auddino’s near my home or Donald’s Donuts in Zanesville. There is much work left to be done. While I have covered most of the better donuteries south of I-70, I have yet to sample any of note in Northern Ohio. I do have list of at least four more donut shops to try before I make a far-reaching, final decision on what is the best of the bunch. On a related note, there is a change in the culture of donuts that has occurred over the last few years, and I will be writing about that in great detail soon so the donut trail series will serve as a fine primer for you.

I found Stan the Donut Man on a fluke. I was making my annual Dayton Daytrip to visit a few of my favorite places there: El Meson, Ester Price Candies, Bill’s Donuts and Dorothy Lane Market. While making an itinerary change to head to Bill’s, I caught Stan the Donut Man out of the corner of my eye. I hit the brakes and glided into the parking lot like I had planned it. I could tell by looking at the exterior that this place had a enough character to make it likely to be good donut destination.

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What are the signs of a potentially good donut spot? It looks old, maybe a bit run down (check). It looks like it was built sometime between 1930 and 1960 (check). It says donut not doughnut (check). When you walk in there is an older gentleman sitting at the counter with the appearance of sitting there most of the day, everyday, for last least a decade (check). Yep, things were looking promising as I approached the door. On the downside, it was late on a Saturday afternoon and there was just one small tray of miscellaneous donuts leftover from the customer orders of the morning. I thought I may have missed the donut bus.

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Among the few donuts left, I spied a glazed croissant. For those of you familiar with my study of the donut sciences, a glazed croissant, sometimes known as a dosant or cronut, is a prime indicator of the practice of advanced donut production. I was a bit wary of the place and had planned just to pop in to get one donut to sample for consideration of future in-depth study but once the glazed croissant was sighted and acquired, I went into full investigatory mode. Unfortunately for my designated diner, this meant some significant sampling sandwiched in between Esther Price Candies and Bills donuts. The man behind the counter sensed my passion for his trade and he had empathy for the fact that there was little left for me to try. To help with my decision-making, he gave me a free sour cream stick and a few donut holes to try out while I plotted out which donuts to try among the survivors of the day.

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The long narrow sour cream sticks were something I had not encountered before. The donut holes were yeast donuts and had clearly been out for a few hours but they tasted great. In the cake vs. yeast donut debate, I am firmly a cake donut man, but I would drive a few extra miles for these yeast donut holes. The glazed croissant was very good. The other donuts sampled, which transpired 3/4’s of a day later, were still fresh and tasty. I did not get a chance to sample enough of their line up to place Stan’s in the top seven donut spots to date, but with a few more exhibits for consideration, I think it would be a contender.

There were a few other observations indicating Stan’s stands tall among it’s Dayton area donut peers. The small selection of specialty donuts features regional classics: Davey Crockett’s, Bow Ties and the very rare Pineapple Fritter. As an aside, the presence of a few wooden stools, well-worn by time, is always a prime indicator of potential donut greatness.

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Stan’s is about 2 miles away from Esther Price Candies on Wayne Ave. With a quick cut over to Far Hills Ave, you are near Dorothy Lane Market and a quick crossing of 675 over to Centerville, Bill’s Donuts. If you are so inclined there is a LaRosa’s pizza near Bill’s creating a regional iconic eatery tour all within a short distance of each stop. I suggest you take a cooler, some bottled water and take a few breaks to stretch your stomach muscles in between. There is another Stan The Donut Man in West Chester, Ohio (I found this in a Google search, but I do not know if the two locations are connected).

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1441 Wilmington Ave
Dayton, OH 45420
937.293.1080
Hours: 5 am to Midnight

Stan, The Donut Man on Urbanspoon

Posted in donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »