Why: Thirty-seven years ago, Phil Pomeroy opened the Donut Nook. Do the math: that was in the 1970s. Although the world around the Donut Nook has changed in the many years since it opened, step inside and everything remains just as it was, from familiar faces, to the original ’70s style décor, and last but not least, how the donuts are made: “By hand, like they’re supposed to be,” says Pomeroy. Pomeroy has seen other donut shops come and go, and vows he’ll “still be here when Krispy Kreme goes away.”
Atmosphere: Retro is an understatement. The atmosphere at the Donut Nook is straight out of the ’70s. Macramé plant holders and lots of plants, wood-paneled walls, and furniture you can only find in secondhand stores, perhaps even a petrified crumb or two and a few original coffee mugs — it’s definitely a blast from the past. I wouldn’t define it as necessarily “old-style” so much as it just hasn’t changed. The Donut Nook simply hasn’t given in to modernization and its patrons like it that way.
What I tried: I picked up two dozen assorted donuts, which were divided about evenly between raised and cake varieties. I was sure to visit on a Friday morning when sticky buns, cinnamon stacks and cinnamon rolls were available. Cherry fritters are an exclusive item, so I included a few of those, as well as old-fashioned buttermilk bars, plain and frosted cake donuts, basic and cinnamon twists, maple-frosted bars, raspberry-filled glazed, chocolate-frosted chocolate cake, and a sprinkled.
Unlike the apple fritter, which has bits of fruit in it, the cherry fritter didn’t have the fruit incorporated. The flavor came from cherry-flavored syrup that was folded into the dough. The fritter imparted less fruit flavor than an apple fritter, but it was delicious all the same.
The sticky bun was topped with chopped walnuts instead of pecans and it had an old-fashioned flavor. The cinnamon roll reminded me of WinCo’s iced cinnamon rolls, and the buttermilk donuts were very dense and perfect for dunking, if that’s your pleasure. The cake donuts possessed an unmistakable nutmeg character, which brought back memories of Spudnuts’ cake donuts. I was impressed with the raspberry-filled glazed donut’s center, next to the filling, which wasn’t gooey, as is often the case.
Of my selections, the most unusual was the glazed and maple-frosted raised donut. The frosting disguised the fact that it was actually a rolled version of a cinnamon twist. The cinnamon enhanced the experience.
I found that unlike most donuts, which sport runny frosting and wet glaze after they sit for a while, Donut Nook’s frosting and glaze stays put and doesn’t emulsify.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: You won’t find much of a menu board at the shop. What you see is what you get. Fridays offer the widest range of donuts. The coffee is basic.
Other observations: Not everyone seeks designer coffee and automated donut creations — one look at the Donut Nook’s parking lot is proof of this. The place is by no means spotless, but if you can get past that, a classic donut experience awaits. The way I look at it, we all know donuts aren’t nutritious. So if you’re going to indulge, you may as well do it right.
The glazed donuts are best if you pop them in the microwave or toaster oven and heat them a bit. Everyone I reluctantly shared my two dozen donuts with came way impressed with the old-fashioned quality of the donuts.
Cost: Less than $10.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday; 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: 4403 N.E. St. Johns Road.
Health score: The Donut Nook received a score of 0 on Dec. 13. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.