Story by Haelee Kim
Photos by Katelyn Hernandez
It is hard to imagine traveling for more than a couple of miles just to pick up a box of a dozen donuts, no matter how good they are. However, The Donut Man deserves this hype, reining customers into its nondescript yet quaint storefront in Glendora. The business, located along the historic Route 66 for decades, the business is a welcome respite for regulars, hungry travelers, and the occasional hundred-mile trekker with its addictive assortment of donuts.
It is easy to miss while driving, but the actual shop stands out from its surroundings, with a bright logo built onto a big, scallop-patterned roof. Several parking spots are designated in the back of the square building, where customers can then walk up to the front and pass the side windows decorated with stickers of the seasonal offerings. Ordering and receiving are simultaneously completed at the counter, creating a quick, drive-thru feel.
Contrary to their simple exterior, however, this business serves high quality items with a unique penchant for stuffing glazed fresh fruit in halved donuts. These clamshell-reminiscent desserts have gathered a variety of accolades from The Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and KCET’s “Most Iconic Dish” in 2015. But even with a strong track record with critics, these donuts are attention-grabbing and impressive — a cornucopia of bright strawberries or peaches piled high, they pack a visual punch and are priced only at $4.50.
The strawberry and peach donuts are unfortunately absent from the racks during the fall season, but due to reappear in early next year and in the summer, respectively. They have been filled in by seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Cream, a light rendition of pumpkin pie filling piped onto a donut, and the Blueberry Cake Donut, dense and moist in texture. Tiger Tails, the house specialty and a unique concoction of devil’s food cake batter and chocolate twisted into a foot-long donut, is satisfying with each bite. Regardless of what is on the menu, these are essential to pick up.
Old classics like the French cruller are also sold at The Donut Man, with more than five different flavors to choose from. There are other specialties, like the PB&J donut. It is all an enticing display, akin to a carefully curated exhibit.
None of the different toppings or fillings are overly sweet. While the donuts were not all consistently crispy, virtually none of the donuts are greasy. This makes it unnecessary to purchase coffee and other beverages offered — which are on the diluted and lackluster side — because the donuts can carry themselves without overburdening the palate with the heavy aftertaste typical of fried foods.
These donuts are definitely worth the commute down to Glendora, especially when the fruit donuts are in season. Realistically speaking, the distance is a factor, although The Donut Man plans to unveil another store in February 2020, a second location nearly fifty years after the store’s inception. Located at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, it will look to replicate the authenticity of the first.
Address: 915 East Route 66, Glendora, CA, 91740
Hours: Open 24 hours, Monday-Sunday