Looking Back: Ye Olde Doughnut Shoppe
Image: A tray full of fresh old fashioned donuts (lower shelf) at Hooz Donuts. The old fashioned varieties (from left) are plain, maple, chocolate, and glazed.
Do you like donuts?
Me too. When growing up, my mom would often give me $1.50 or so on a Saturday to go get a box of donuts for the family. Our closest donut shop was a Winchells Donuts, located in the Willow Glen Plaza at Almaden Road and Curtner Avenue. At ten cents each for most donuts, that meant a pretty full box. I'd put the box on my ten-speed bike rack, one of those with a big spring clamp. I recall one time on the way home, I turned around to check on the donuts only to discover I'd been leaving a trail of them the down the street (the box had collapsed and they were falling out the side). I have a lot of favorites, but I guess my very favorite donuts are glazed old-fashioned.
In late 1973, the United States experienced an oil import shortage which resulted in gas rationing. During that period, people would line up for gas before work on their ration day (there was an odd/even system based on license plate numbers). The Willow Glen Plaza had a gas station at each end, and lines would begin winding their way through the large parking lot at about 5 am. I got the idea from a friend to sell coffee and hot chocolate to the folks waiting in line (many of whom were neighbors). I usually made a few dollars before school, which wasn't too bad at the time for a ninth-grader. One day, I got the idea to supplement my menu by offering donuts. While scanning the selection at the donut shop, I asked if they had any chocolate old-fashioned. They’d just pulled some old fashioneds out of the fryer, so right in front of me they poured chocolate all over a fresh, warm donut. Even though glazed old fashioned donuts are my favorite, the chocolate old fashioned they made for me that day stands out as the best donut I ever ate.
What’s your favorite kind of donut?
Image: Hooz Donuts at 2306 Almaden Road, in the Willow Glen Plaza. Originally Winchell's (1969 - 1991), it became Hooz when John Ung purchased the original Hooz Donuts near Lincoln and Curtner Avenues in 1988, then opened five branch locations. The Almaden Road location is the only branch still in operation.
Image: Hooz Donuts still has the original Winchell's Donuts interior it has had since I was a kid in the 1960s.
Image: Manley's was another favorite local donut shop. Clyde Manley opened the shop at 1126 Lincoln Avenue about 1953, though after his retirement in 1977, the business relocated a few doors up at 1080 Lincoln Avenue. Several local donut shops currently bear the Manley name. The original building at 1126 Lincoln Avenue no longer exists.
Image: Yet another donut shop near my neighborhood is Supreme Donut. Their location at 1093 Foxworthy Avenue was built in 1962 and originally housed Charlie's Donut Shop #1. Over the years it became Almaden Donut shop (mid-1970s), Rolf's Sputnik and Donut Shop (opened in 1977), Express Deli & Donut (from 1995) and then Supreme Donut (from 2004 to present). "Sputniks" still graces the pole sign above the shop. The Sputnik was a type of sandwich named after the Soviet's famous Sputnik satellite launched in 1957.