Lots of people like to eat donuts – probably millions do, in fact. A smaller, but still quite large, number of people would claim to love donuts. And I’m sure there is a smallish contingent of donut aficionados who would even make the claim, “I can’t live without donuts.”
But how many people do you know who have altered their life to accomodate their donut love? Who actually made “donut rules” to monitor and control their consumption of donuts?
Well, if you didn’t already know one person like that – allow this writer to introduce myself. Hello, Eat Jackson readers, and yes. I have “donut rules.” The hows, whys, and particulars of how the donut rules came about are perhaps best left for another day, but suffice it to say that my love for donuts runs exactly how I like my donuts fried: deep.
We are fortunate enough to live in an area that has a number of options for tasty donuts. I recently stopped by the Donut Shop Café in Richland. I’ve been there multiple times over the years (it’s not too far from where I grew up), but it had been a while since I’d made a visit.
In some ways, The Donut Shop Café looks like many other cafes you could find anywhere in the country, both from the outside and after you’ve stepped through the doors. From the captioned wall decoration of a lady donut—the eyelashes and lipstick give away the donut’s gender—dunking herself in a cup of coffee (“DUNK ‘EM IF YOU’VE GOT ‘EM”) to the standard collection of old-timers shooting the breeze in the corner, this is a place that would be the envy of any art director attempting to recreate a down-home diner. The seating is café-standard: there are six booths and four tables, and there is a bar with three stationary stools.
On second glance, however, it’s not too difficult to tell that The Donut Shop Café is a bit different than your typical donut shop. At some point, donut shops wised up to the fact that no matter how delicious their product, they needed to offer some savory alternatives to eat, to balance out all that sugar. Those options are usually limited to sausage and biscuits and/or breakfast sandwiches and kolaches (dough stuffed with some kind of meaty deliciousness). And as options go, these are great. However, The Donut Shop Cafe takes it much further: In addition to being a donut shop, it’s a full-service breakfast and lunch joint.
In addition to all the standard donut offerings, here’s just a sampling of what else is on the menu at The Donut Shop Cafe: the aforementioned breakfast sandwiches and kolachees, omelets, tomato gravy, sausage gravy, pancakes, French toast, tacos, fried burritos (breakfast and otherwise), pork chop sandwiches and various lunch plates (sandwiches, burgers, po-boys, hamburger steak, and so on).
It’s been forever since I have eaten breakfast there, and I don’t think I have ever had their lunch, but with a menu that varied, it’s on my radar again. On this particular day, however, I was there for the donuts, so that’s what I decided to focus on. Or so I thought.
A donut shop’s glazed donut needs to be at least decent for me to hold out any hope at all for the rest of its menu. The Donut Shop Cafe’s glazed is solid: sugary and flaky with a good texture. If you’re there already and want to take donuts to the office, your fellow employees will surely be grateful. That said, their glazed donut is not the reason you should make the trek to Richland. Read on!
This was just okay. I wasn’t wowed by the flavor, but it was the first time I’d ever seen this particular offering anywhere and I wanted something savory, so I decided to try it. It wasn’t bad; I just ended up wishing I’d tried the sausage, cheese, and jalapeño kolache instead. Again, not the reason you should visit.
The Apple Fritter
This, ladies and gentlemen, this is the reason you should visit The Donut Shop Café in Richland, Mississippi. This was probably the best apple fritter I had ever put in my mouth. The bonus was that it was warm. I don’t know if it was fresh out of the deep fryer or if The Donut Shop Café is in possession of the most effective heat lamp ever (it certainly tasted fresh out of the fryer), and I don’t care. This apple fritter was simply divine.
It was perfectly fried, melt-in-your-mouth warm, sugary, and buttery. It had those just-right, crispy edges and outer crust that gave it just the right amount of crunch. Needless to say, this is not an everyday kind of food: If it weren’t for the obnoxious nomnomnom noises some idiot was making as he was eating his—Oh, wait…that was me—I might have been able to hear the sounds of my arteries clogging. If you’re looking for something to blow a cheat day on, this apple fritter is completely worth it.
So, to recap: If you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Richland come breakfast time and want to satisfy your hunger without getting it scattered, smothered, and covered or resorting to fast food, swing by The Donut Shop Café. And if you awake to a hankering for a good apple fritter, I don’t care where you are: drive to Richland to get it. You won’t be disappointed.
I, however, was disappointed, and it had nothing to do with the food—well, at least nothing to do with my food. There was a group of cops (What’s the collective noun for a group of cops? A cuff? An incarceration?) sitting at the table next to me, and every single one of them had opted for a full breakfast instead of donuts, denying me my right as a food journalist—no, as an American—to a clichéd photo op.
The utter nerve.
What’s your favorite donut shop treat? Tell us in the comments!