The Donut Man — Maybe Not Worth the Trip

22 Aug

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The Donut Man is famous in a city that prides itself as rich in doughnut history. Every spring and summer is celebrated for the return of fresh fruit filled doughnuts, and fooddouches who have never heard of Glendora make the trek north and east to queue up at Jim Park’s modest doughnut shack. Without the charm of the giant doughnut statues of places like Randy’s (think Lard Lad), would DM be worth the drive?

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Like Randy’s and many old-school places, this is strictly a takeout joint with a line going around the side leading up to a window for ordering. The peach doughnuts are the star here and priced accordingly at $3.50. Ouch. But you can see the empty boxes of fresh fruit out the back so you know you’re not getting cheap canned fruit.

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The seasonal fruit doughnuts also feature strawberry in the spring and peanut butter at other times (I know, PB out of a jar is not seasonal). The other popular option is the Tiger Tail, a big glazed twist doughnut with a lacing of chocolate. There are also cream cheese doughnuts with canned fruit and some more regular doughnuts.

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So what’s the verdict? Eh.

The doughnuts themselves are very ordinary. Glazed regular ol’ doughnuts. They don’t do anything interesting with the doughnuts.

The peach was disappointingly not ripe. A bit crisp, not very sweet, and not really tart. This is supposed to be the big draw, having fresh fruit in your doughnut, but it’s not that great.

It’s also really hard to eat such a huge gloppy mess.

The Tiger Tail was better, perhaps because it was not fraught with expectations. But still not that great. Maybe it was above average as a doughnut, but certainly not worth the drive or the wait in line. The cream cheese doughnuts were also pretty forgettable.

DM overall was disappointing. I’d rather go to my local doughnut shop, pick up doughnuts, and fill them with peaches I picked myself. Or just have regular doughnuts and eat fruit later.

My feeling about regular doughnuts is that they are too darn sweet and are only good when they are super fresh. That’s why Randy’s is so great (so much turnover that every doughnut is fresh) and why Stan’s is an abomination (filled with junk to sit around all day waiting for tourists). Doughnut Plant in NYC fits this more-is-more model, and while the flavors are better it is just too much.

That’s why Federal Donuts is still my favorite by far, with restrained sweetness and spot-on flavors in the glaze, and not stuffed to the gills with junk. I’m hopeful that the forthcoming Donut Friend shop will follow suit (although it cites DM as its inspiration).

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