How To: Plan a Donut Tour

Since 1938, the first Friday of June has been hailed throughout the US as National Donut Day. It was founded in recognition of the great comfort donuts provide to those who eat them, and to honor those who serve them.

It was in the spirit of National Donut Day that I organized a tour of donut shops in Eastern Massachusetts earlier this year. As I describe below, New England’s donut scene is suffering. The region that birthed Dunkin Donuts has been betrayed by the chain that steamrolled the independent shops (seriously, can you find a non-chain place on this map?), then scaled back its donut production to chase profits elsewhere. But what the chain restaurants take away, local artisans can celebrate. Localism isn’t all farmers’ markets and fresh eggs, we need to find and cherish our local comfort food.

When planning your donut tour, consider your call to action carefully. Whatever you choose, it’s important to clearly state it to your participants:

Perhaps you’ve noticed: Dunkins doesn’t make donuts anymore. Sure they’ve got a few, but they’ve cut back. Krispy Kreme has closed its northeastern shops. Eat-A-Donut is closed. Top Donut has gone commercial.

Donuts are at risk! Donuts need us! Dough Nut Go Gentle Into That Dark Night!

We must go looking for the last of this delicious, if disappearing, dietary delicacy. We must go on another donut tour*. This time bigger than before. This time broader than before. This time we have a mission. This time we must save the donut.

*Sorry if you missed out on the first donut tour. All the more reason join us this time. And think of it, because this is a sequel of sorts, now you can say “donut tour two: this time it’s personal.”

Plan your trip by thoroughly researching your regional donut geography. Correlate hours of operation among the various shops with the availability of participants to develop an itinerary:

Mark your calendars: Sunday, February 7. The first taste treat on this tour of donut decadence starts at 9am, whereafter the confectionary procession continues on to five more fabulous shops.

Here’s a map of the tour:

Because I trust bakeries where the owner is proud or confident enough to put his or her name on the sign, we’ll start the tour with shops with possessive names:

9am: Donna’s Donuts (Yelp!)

  • 2106 Main Street, Tewksbury, MA? – (978) 988-0010?
  • Hours: Sat 4a – 3p, Sun 7a – 1p
  • Selected for their steak and cheese, meatball, and hamburger donuts, among others. (Look at the pictures on Yelp!)

10am: Daddy’s Donuts (Yelp!)

  • 49 Water Street, Wakefield, MA – (781) 245-1677
  • Hours: closed, sadly
  • Selected because one reviewer called it scary. And it’s called “Daddy’s.”

11am: Ziggy’s Donuts (Yelp!)

  • 2 Essex Street, Salem, MA? – (978) 744-9605?
  • Hours: Sat closed, Sun 6a – 12p
  • Selected because a reviewer says “blows my mind.” Blog review.

12pm: Kane’s Donuts (Yelp!)

  • 120 Lincoln Avenue, Saugus, MA? – (781) 233-8499
  • Hours: Sat 3:30a – 5p, Sun 3:3a – 1p
  • Selected for the “soft coffee roll the size of an adult human head.”

1pm: Sun Guang Bakery (Yelp!)

  • 423 Main Street, Malden, MA? – (781) 388-9837?
  • Hours: Sunday 8a – 5p
  • “Awesome, Simple, Cheap, Delicious.”

2pm: Japonaise Bakery (Yelp!)

  • 1020 Beacon Street Brookline, MA – (617) 566-7730?
  • Hours: Sat 8a – 8p, Sun 8:30a – 8p
  • Curry donuts and custard cremes: “They can somehow stuff that little piece of bread with so much custard! It’s SO good!”

RSVP by email.

Be sure to call each shop and explain that you’ve organized a tour that will be stopping at that location. Ask them to set aside a selection of their best donuts. The conversation can often reveal details that are not available online. My conversation with Bill Wilson at Donna’s revealed that Daddy’s Donuts had recently closed.

Think carefully about what you’re asking of the tour participants. Each donut can deliver hundreds of calories and many grams of sugar, but the tour will also demand considerable time in the car between stops. A few days before the event you should offer a few tips that will help the participants best enjoy and most strongly participate:

Fellow crusaders:

We are just about a week away from this remarkable event. I’m not saying that waters will part or angels will descend from heaven, but this is big. To help us prepare, I’ve developed the following list of must haves:

  • A sense of purpose. We’re doing something important, we’re saving donuts.
  • Full water bottle. Water helps flush the carbohydrates.
  • Medical insurance card. In case the water isn’t enough to prevent dangerous insulin spikes.
  • Elastic waist pants. You’r eating donuts, goddamnit, and you’ll feel ’em.
  • Gum or breath mints. I’m told bulemic purging is effective.
  • A haiku that expresses your undying love for donuts. Confucious say: no love is true without haiku.

Of all the above, the haiku is probably the most important. It will help focus your mind and body for the journey we will be undertaking. Also, points will be awarded for being able to recite your haiku with a mouth full of donuts (for the purposes of this event, a limerick is an acceptable alternative).

The geekier among us will notice the attached calendar item. If you haven’t already marked this banner day, please add that to your calendar now.

Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory in this grand struggle. Together we will stand to save donuts.

Thank you,