Sunday, February 15, 2009

the pursuit of doughnuts

It was one of my first questions to my realtor: "Where can you find the best doughnuts in town?" I've been asking around for three years. We left The Donut Palace in St. Louis, MO with the confidence that amazing "Mom and Pop" doughnut places are everywhere, especially in a big city! But, no. After a few years, I asked Molly who gave me the sad news that she had already been on this quest and that "you can't find a decent donut in the Twin Cities".

The seemingly futile search came to an unexpected and delightful end a few weeks ago, when the boys and I stumbled upon Granny Donuts in West Saint Paul. (yes, Granny, as in not possessive). Once we walked in, we knew it was the place. Bear claws, Bowties, Bavarian Cremes, Raised, Cake, Apple Fritters and more beckoned us with their sugary deep-fried promises of earthly satisfaction. (And, yes, I shared this good news with Molly already!)

So, if you find yourself in the Twin Cities and hankering for doughnuts, get your bad self to Granny.


Karla Anne said...

You are making my mouth water, Jenna.

I don't think I have eaten a doughnut in 15 years! :)

Carol said...

I have had the same dilemma in Chicagoland. I have always said this backward town...... NO ONE had ever heard of creme sticks, only Long Johns......I mean what use is a donut stick without cream in it. Actually, I think now that Crispy Cremes are here they have had the experience, but that has only been in the last few yrs.

Jen said...

Man! You were in my neighborhood! I drive near that place every time I go to the Y. It's SOOO tempting to stop, but then it would defeat the purpose of going to the Y.

Lee Shelton IV said...

In a world of complicated muffins and presumptuous scones, I long for the sweet simplicity of the doughnut. Glazed. Cake. Nothing fancy. Just something I can dunk in my coffee. I'm sure there's a social commentary in there somewhere, but it's late and I'm tired.

Andie said...

Mel-o-glaze... near lake nokomis. now you have two options.... but, you must bring cash to this place.

Jenna said...

are you serious, karla? 15 years?! oh my. i don't know if i'm jealous, or if i pity you. (okay, i'm jealous of your discipline)

i had never heard of a creme stick until brent started saying it. i'd be like, "you mean you want a 'long john', right?" and he'd say, "no. i want a creme stick." hilarious.

i know. a doughnut is a major setback. it's such a bummer. how can something so good be so bad???

complicated muffins? you never fail to make me laugh. get yourself a granny donut, man. you deserve it.

i think we need to have a little taste test. i've been to mel-o-glaze. it's good, but it has nothing on granny. granny will rock your world.

Anonymous said...

Hey-I was just going to recommend Mel-o-glaze too! I loved that place-when my sister and bro-in-law lived over by Nokomis, I would visit them and we would ride our bikes to Mel-o-glaze. Fun times. But now I must try out Granny Donuts and compare.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I've had the apple fritter from The Donut Palace. I've never actually been to the Palace, but Chris has been introduced by co-workers. They often have the fritter at work for special (and probably not-so-special) occasions. He has gone over there to get a fritter for me, just because. They ARE good. I'm glad you finally found a new good donut.

Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

I had a WWJD moment this morning - What would Jenna do? I thought about this blog post as I walked by a donut place... and decided to stop and buy a dozen.

Was that WWJD sacreligious? Hope not.

I had a flat tire this a.m. and had to drop the car off at a place a mile away - then walk home so Tara didn't have to wake up the baby just to come get me. I was feeling kind of bummed about not getting to go work out (normal a.m. activity) and having to walk in the cold... until I saw the donut place. It's local. 4 blocks from our house. Jealous? Different than Krispy Kreme - bigger and more cakey. It was good. I shared the rest with Tara and my co-workers.

tiffany said...

i WILL be checking this place out! hopefully soon!

Anonymous said...


So weird to read this now as I called you Monday after JUST leaving the Donut Palace with Cal and Ava! I did not know you had a post about this until now! We are on the same donut wave length! Nothing tops that smell wafting onto the sidewalk the minute you open the door! Makes me gain weight just inhaling! Simply awesome!!

Love and miss you!



Lee Shelton IV said...

I patronized Granny Donuts this morning. When I walked in, I was greeted with a hearty "Good morning!" The guy behind the counter then asked, "Are you usually in this early?"

Wow! I thought. Does he read my blogs? Is he on Facebook? How does he know who I am? Then, of course, it dawned on me that I must remind him of someone else. "This is my first time here," I replied. (I almost blurted out, "Jenna sent me!" but I'm not a name-dropper, so I refrained.) "I was just on my way to work and thought I'd stop by."

A quizzical look crossed his face. He smirked and pointed to the "22 continuous years" sign on the wall. I chuckled nervously, and he reassured me, saying, "That's OK."

I ordered an apple fritter and a cup of coffee. The downside is that the coffee isn't anything to write home about. It certainly wasn't the worst -- I mean, it wasn't church potluck bad, just not great.

The fritter, on the other hand, was probably the best I've ever tasted. Crispy and sweet on the outside, soft and rich on the inside. Just the way apple fritters are supposed to be.

So, in summation, I give Granny Donuts two sticky thumbs up. Sure, the coffee isn't the best, but it isn't bad with a sweet lump of fried dough.

If, however, you insist on complementing your doughnuts with really good coffee, I'd suggest swinging by the Starbucks drive-through at the corner of Robert and Thompson, about a half-block north. But I refuse to be held responsible for what happens if you walk in with that Starbucks cup.

Jen said...

I, too, succumbed to temptation this morning. I raided my piggy bank and walked in to pick up a bag of donuts before my workout. (As if that helps).

You are right. They are melt in your mouth delicious. The even gave my kids free donut holes (which I quickly confiscated!).

Rob said...

Ran across your blog from your great IHOP comment on Abraham's blog. I love pancake fundraisers.

We live near Edwardsville, IL and there's also a Donut Palace here, although I'm not sure it's connected to the one in Ellisville.

Regardless, I'm completely with you on asking realtors about the best place to buy donuts. That was high on my priority list when we moved here. Glad to know I'm not alone!

And if you're ever in the Edwardsville area, the Donut Palace here is really good too.