Monday, December 17, 2012

Donut Stop

“We’ve been open for 59 years,” the elderly proprietor of Donut Stop tells me.

My friend Ryan and I had mentioned we’d never been there before and without hesitation he stopped to tell us about the place. While his other staff members bustled around assisting the scads of customers waiting their turn in the crowded standing area, he was chatting us up. We liked him immediately.

“And how many of those years have you been here?” I asked.

“I’ve been working here since 1990. Then my son and I bought the place 11 years ago.” I wondered if he ever thought when he began 22 years ago that one day he’d own the place.

Frequently featured on Top Ten lists for doughnuts, St. Louis’ Donut Stop is a modest building, not unlike those you may pass telling yourself, “I’ll have to stop there one of these days.” Who’d guess that it was a local legend with national acclaim? When we tasted the doughnuts, we understood why.

At a classic place like this I expected that, of the doughnuts I tried, the best would be the staples of the doughnut canon. This was certainly true of my favorite, the blueberry cake. Though a flavor I usually find dry and forgettable, theirs was moist yet crisp on the outside—crisp like the dollar bills I contributed to their cash register—not hard or crumbly. Like all of their products, it tastes fresh because at the rate their product was moving, none of it had been sitting around very long! Another classic, their cinnamon roll, was also a stand-out. Through I’d been told it was another product that put them on the map—the cinnamon glob, which to me was a less-than-memorable fruitless fritter, an apple fritter minus the apples—I found the cinnamon roll more memorable. Sweet and chewy with the right balance of flavors, not the usual case either the cinnamon or the icing overpowering the dough. And then there was my usual go to doughnut, the French Cruller, which is best understood in the words of Ryan. 

“I’ll try it, but I’m not as experienced as you in crullers.” (takes his first bite) “Oh, that’s incredible!” He was more than impressed. It was if someone had just informed him that the St. Louis arch was actually a giant space doughnut embedded in the earth.

But it wasn’t just the classics that were good. Other standouts were the caramel long john, a dunkably long yeast doughnut with maple-roasted overtones and a sweet caramel aftertaste, and the cream cheese with cherries, a yeast doughnut with a dollop of light whipped goodness on top that tasted like a fried pie or fried danish.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Nuttin' bettah then a tasty bite wit BRad!