Sunday, February 04, 2007

There's another donut man in town

If there's one thing more prevalent in and around Amherst, Massachusetts than Colleges and Universities, it's Donuts. This is primarily due to the fact that there's a Dunkin' Donuts just about every 5 feet in Massachusetts (the Donut Goliath started in Quincy, Mass in 1950 and has since enjoyed a state-wide Donut-Monopoly). But thankfully the state still manages to harbor one of the best independent Donut scenes in the country. And nowhere is the mom-and-pop Donut shop tastier than at Hadley, Mass's The Donut Man (however, keep in mind I've not yet visited Kane's).

On the way home from a recent weekend getaway to Brattleboro, Vermont in which I scored/stole a Tim Horton's Donut plate, Mrs. Blognut and I stop off in Amherst, Mass to browse the vinyl at Mystery Train Records – I land unscratched selections from the Stones, the Kinks and the Faces. On the way out of town, the keen-eyed Mrs. B scares the filling out of me with her high-decibel pastry-proclamation:


There, resting quietly on the shoulder of Route 9 (Russell Street), sits The Donut Man.

The d├ęcor is nothing special – plain white walls, generic faux-Formica tables – and I'm 99% sure the place used to be a bank, given the drive-up window and ATM card slot beside the front door. But the fare more than makes up for the bland milieu:

Used to be a bank.

First Course: Apple Cider Glazed and Cherry Glazed.

The Apple Cider has everything I wish most Orchard-born apple cider Donuts would have – hearty cake dough with a complex, spicy, clove-y and apple-y flavor. Enveloping this satisfying core is a thin and not-too-sweet layer of glaze in perfect surface area to Donut-volume ratio. Save the oily-decadence that pops out of the fryer on Carter Mountain in Charlottesville, VA, this is the finest cider Donut Blognut has dined on.

Apple Cider Glazed.

The Cherry's composed of equally hearty dough, this time interspersed with bright red cherry patches. Given the neon coloration, I'm pleasantly surprised when the flavor is far from artificial - it actually tastes like cherries. Again, a perfectly-thin layer of sugary glaze coats the surface.

Cherry Glazed.

Second Course: Sugar-Coated Apple Cider and Glazed Cruller (expect an upcoming historical expose based upon the numerous regional variations and mispronunciations of this curled Donut).

Apple Cider Sugar-Coated.

The Cider Glazed is not enough. Before leaving I saunter to the counter and order the Donut Man's other cider variation, the Sugar-Coated Apple Cider Donut. As a consolation for showing enough appreciation to place two entirely separate Donut orders, the Donut Man throws in a complimentary Glazed Cruller.

Again, the Cider is tops – essentially the same verbiage applies that I used to describe the Cider Glazed, only this time with chunky, granulated sugar mingling on the surface. And for someone who detests crullers – primarily for the same reason I detest many egg-based dishes, that being that they're too eggy – this one is solid, and has enough of the sugary simplicity of a plain glazed that I'm able to down half before depositing the rest in my R2D2-shaped trashcan. Usually I chuck a cruller after only one bite. So I'd like to make it clear that my disposing of the Donut Man's cruller in no way reflects the quality of their Donuts. I just hate the egginess of crullers.

So with two courses of top-notch Donuts in me, I've decided that I love the Donut Man and must visit him again. Most likely I'll sell Mrs. Blognut on another trip to New England-proper with notions of maple syrup, cross country skiing and "getting away from it all," but we all (her included) know the real motivation behind our next visit.

The Donut Man
142 Russell Street
Hadley, MA

Donut Scores:

Apple Cider Glazed -

Cherry Glazed-

Apple Cider Sugar-Coated-

Glazed Cruller-

Stay tuned for a complete report on a guilt-free wonder out of Bayridge, Brooklyn called Holey Donuts.


Anonymous said...

I love the site! this may be random, but have you ever been to tastee donuts? The only i have ever seen was when i lived in new orleans, but I am sure they are scattered in the south.


Rev. Rick said...

That kruller is kind of blurry, dude.

theblognut said...

Bad photographering skills.

Rev. Rick said...


jerry said...

I stopped into The Donut Man this weekend, as I was on vakay in Northhampton with my honey. The chocolate iced vanilla creme, my favorite, was about the best I've had. It was a very generous size and had alot of flavor, unlike the Dunkin' Donuts brand who don't seem to care much about making donuts, just coffee and their weird other dishes, like pizza and weird egg and sausage concoctions.

BILL said...

Yes, The Donut Man has the best tasting donuts around! I grew up in Hadley, and the building used to house banks. In the 1970's it was Amherst Savings Bank. In the 1980's it was Heritage Bank. Then it merged with Northampton Insitution for Savings. The name changed to Heritage/NIS. The last bank that was in the building before The Donut Man moved in was Springfield Insitution for Savings (SIS).

Aaron said...

Best and biggest donuts around, and at the same or lower prices than the other place. I live in the area and would not go anywhere else for my donuts and coffee. If you are at or on your way to UMASS Amherst, make this coffee and donut stop.

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