As Jason previously noted, the COVID-19 pandemic is seriously impacting our local donut shops. In these times, I’m taking the most extreme cautions while still doing my best to support all my favorite spots and will continue to do so until this crisis is over.
For the time being, Doughnut Plant is still open for pick-up and delivery (no dine-in options) so this week I placed an ordered for my roommate and myself while we continued to work from home. In addition to some of my usual favorites, I added one of this month’s specials to the order; a fantastic Meyer Lemon and Poppy Seed available in both cake and yeast versions. Naturally, I opted for the cake and was wonderfully impressed by the chain’s latest creation. A perfectly tart sensation embodies the cake, without ever being too sweet or overpowering. As is customary with any Doughnut Plant cake donut, they go above and beyond with their batter and include key elements of the flavor throughout the cake itself. Poppy seeds are scattered not just in the glaze outside along some lemon zest, but in the treat itself giving the slightest crunch and a subtle injection of texture. It’s a light, refreshing treat, rich in flavor and satisfyingly moist.
Most of our local independent donut shops are small businesses. Some have been around for a long time, while others are just getting off the ground. Some had just opened or expanded before the COVID-19 pandemic, and are struggling.
No matter their history, local donut businesses rely on foot traffic for either their whole business or a big part of it, and that is being affected right now. Also, most of these companies employ hourly workers, whose hours or entire employment might be threatened by the decrease in business.
However, most local shops now have online ordering, delivery and even gift cards, which you can use to help them stay afloat during this time. If you’re not comfortable with pickup or delivery, a gift card provides revenue to the business now, and you can use the card later. I put together a collection of links below – if I missed any, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add them.
Last weekend, I was traveling for a family event and stopped off at Honey Dew Donuts in Mansfield, MA. I learned that it’s actually a chain (corporate and franchise) localized in New England, with 145 locations from Rhode Island to New Hampshire.
The idea of a “local chain” isn’t that common in the donut world anymore – while we have a few chains in NYC, most donut shops today are either ultra-local (single location) or national (Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, etc.) – so it was cool to check out Honey Dew.
The Honey Dew experience felt like Dunkin’ with nice upgrades built in – the customer service was ultra-friendly and helpful and the donuts themselves were much higher quality. I wanted to try a bunch of different flavors, so I got a dozen, and I asked the employee helping me for recommendations. She was more than happy to assist, and reminded me that anyone getting a dozen donuts in Massachusetts better not forget a Boston Cream. And when their signature “Mansfield” donut was sold out, she gave us the last three donut hole versions instead.
I tried a bunch of flavors, and my favorites were the Chocolate Honey Dip, Blueberry Cake (I always try blueberry) and Cinnamon powdered. The first two reminded me of the Peter Pan/Donut Pub style (deep fried plus sweet glaze), but on the lighter side, while the Cinnamon was my favorite. It was super light and almost refreshing.
Overall, it was great to support a business like Honey Dew that has been going for so long and has had success with the multi-location regional model. I’ll definitely be back.
Cereal and donuts. Two iconic fixtures of classic American breakfasts. On National Cereal Day, Dun-Well Doughnuts brought the two together in seven different combinations.
Peanut Butter Cap N Crunch, Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pebbles, Chocolate Cocoa Pebbles, Corn Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Muddy Buddy Pie adorned the line-up and they all met, if not exceeded expectations. The textures of the cereals in tandem with the soft, fluffy donuts themselves were quite the delight, flavors collaborating in the perfect fashion. If there is any fault to a Dun-Well donut, it’s that their frosting congeals in such a way that it shatters with every bite, often making it hard to fully capture the flavors so the Fruity Pebbles and Corn Flakes were a little much and not on the same level as the others. They were a bit of a messy ordeal, but every crumb was worth it. The Chocolate Cocoa Pebbles was delectable, the frosting was perfect and the crunch of the cereal felt the freshest of the bunch. The Peanut Butter Cap N Crunch was another great combo, but the Muddy Buddy Pie why the best of the heap. The pudding center and powdered sugar topping really took things to new heights. The chocolate and peanut butter combo mixed with Chex Mix was a true highlight and without question the best of the batch. Dun-Well is known for always throwing a twist into their classic, daily line-ups, but they really shine when they go all out like today and showcase their ability to go the extra step with their flavors without being too over the top.