While regular blog author Tawna Fenske is away, this week’s blog post is brought to you by Hank Therien, group sales & special projects manager for Visit Bend. At 6’8” and 270 pounds, Hank seemed like the best man to tackle a blog post spotlighting Bend’s amazing array of donut shops.

We’re pretty sure his sugar buzz will subside sometime in the next week.

 Take it away, Hank!

 

Hank Therien formulates a plan for devouring enough donuts to feed a small army.
Hank Therien formulates a plan for devouring enough donuts to feed a small army.

Quick disclaimer: I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  If given the choice, I would generally take a larger entrée portion and skip dessert.

But when Tawna approached me and asked if I’d do a guest blog post for her on the emerging donut market in Bend, my inner fat kid did a little happy dance.

When I was a kid, getting up before sunrise with my dad for fishing trips was always made easier with the promise of donuts and chocolate milk for breakfast.  My go-to donut choices were always the classics. Maple bars, apple fritters, buttermilk bars, and old fashioned donuts always have been my favorites because of that history.

Since 1990, however, much has happened in the donut world.  Just like the variety you can find along the Bend Ale Trail, there is a donut for every palate in Bend.

My intention was to visit seven different donut shops on my tour including:

I ended up sampling donuts from four of the intended donut shop stops.

My first stop was at The Dough Nut on Galveston. The Dough Nut makes 100% of their donuts from scratch, including their gluten free & vegan options.  I ordered a Maple Hog (bacon strips on a maple bar), a PB&J, and a French toast donut that is egg-washed and pan fried like French toast. The French toast donut was aptly named and had a great texture, but the PB&J was probably my favorite donut of the day. The peanut butter was the perfect juxtaposition to the sweetness of the jelly donut.
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My next two stops on the quest for pastry perfection were less successful. I went from The Dough Nut to Delish Donuts where I found a sign stating that they had sold out of donuts and that there would be a fresh batch ready at 5 p.m. It was 9:45 a.m. and they were out of donuts! I was starting to get the feeling I had underestimated the demand for donuts in Bend. Visitors, take note: the early bird gets the worm (or the donut, as the case may be). Even though I missed out on a Delish Donuts experience of my own, local friends have shared their own positive experiences. One pal in particular praised their ability to crank out large quantities of fresh, tasty donuts for special events—something to keep in mind if you’re planning a banquet or conference in Bend. They also play up the seasonal angle, offering special donuts for Easter and other holidays.

From Delish Donuts I made my way to Greenwood & 8th to check out the brand new Go Donuts only to find out that I had jumped the gun.  The “coming soon” sign was probably good for my blood pressure, but I was looking forward to learning more about the emerging donut trend from another donut shop in its infancy. Luckily for Bend visitors, they opened April 10—just a few days after my initial visit. Judging by the buzz around town, these guys make a classic glazed donut that’s guaranteed to leave you drooling and begging for more. Their frosted cake donuts look amazing, too, and the pics on their Facebook page promise creations as pretty as they are delicious.
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Sweetheart Donuts was next. On the east side of 3rd street, just south of the underpass between Franklin & Wilson, Sweetheart offered me the chance to sample goods from a new player in Bend’s donut market. The young man working the counter couldn’t have been more excited to tell me all about their old fashioned donut, their yeast-raised pretzel donut, and their Bigfoot. The Bigfoot is a foot-shaped chocolate or maple donut filled with whipped cream. It was a donut sure to satisfy the most serious sweet tooth (or foot fetish, I suppose). Sweetheart Donuts is one of only two Oregon donut shops where you can get your hands on these big feet.

After picking up my goodies from Sweethearts, I was off to sample the donuts from the veteran of the Bend donut scene. When asked what set Richard’s Donuts apart, the employee informed me they stick to the traditional styles and good ol’ fashioned customer service to move donuts. I took advantage of the opportunity to travel back in time with a glazed donut, a maple bar, an old fashioned, and an apple fritter. The latter was a fantastic blast from the past. Richard’s is perfect for a reminiscent donut experience.

Hank Therien makes the most of his quest to find Bend's best donuts.
Hank Therien makes the most of his quest to find Bend’s best donuts.

I found out on my way to Luv’s Donuts that Glazed & Amused is only open in the evening. While I was intrigued by their VERY original menu (which includes specialties with names like zombie nuts and death by monkeys) I took comfort in the fact that I’d be one donut shop further from slipping into a diabetic coma. One of these nights though, I’m sure I’ll find myself drawn to the donut truck outside of the Domino Room. Maybe in the magical hour immediately following a reggae concert. In any case, Bend visitors can rejoice in the fact that there’s a handy spot for a nighttime sugar and fat fix.

My final stop was Luv’s Donuts in Downtown Bend.  Luv’s recently moved into the space next to the Oxford Hotel on Minnesota. They have a Krispy Kreme’esque line where you can watch your donuts being made fresh.  They are also proud to offer their own coffee and have delivery available to any location in Bend.  I was told they’d even make a delivery run to Redmond if needed. How’s that for service? I had another maple-bacon donut, a chocolate donut with sprinkles, and a fantastic chocolate old fashioned that was perfect for a dunk into my glass of milk.

At this point I was so saturated with sugar that syrup was oozing from my pores. Maybe it was my sugar buzz, but I could clearly see the donut market in Bend is wildly varied and there’s enough demand to warrant the recent additions.

While this has been one of the most fun projects I have been assigned at Visit Bend, I think that I have satisfied my sweet tooth until at least 2015.

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