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Route 66 News

Inside The Donut Man shop in Glendora

Donut Man shop

NBC News this week posted a terrific article about The Donut Man, which is marking 45 years this year on Route 66 in Glendora, California.

Here’s the video about the shop and its owner, Jim Nakano:

The written part of the story contains a lot of interesting nuggets, too:

  • The shop’s strawberry doughnut started when the region had a bumper crop of the fruit. Nakano developed a special glaze to go with it, and it’s become a signature offering each spring.
  • The strawberries come nightly from California growers, “depending on when they’re picking.”
  • Despite the shop’s 24-hour-a-day hours, don’t expect to buy a strawberry doughnut any old time. They’re old only when strawberries are in season, in the spring.
  • Nakano and his wife considered opening a hamburger or sandwich stand before settling on doughnuts.
  • Once he settled on offering doughnuts, he did a lot of research on how to make them, including visiting French and Jewish bakeries.
  • Nakano says how the dough is handled remains crucial to his products. He also says he uses the best frying oil and the right temperature for it.
  • Nakano taste-tests all his offerings early in the morning to make sure they’re right. He doesn’t eat the entire doughnut, but acknowledges a fresh, hot doughnut tastes great with coffee.
  • The shop’s name came when a little girl came up to him and called him “Mister Donut Man.”
  • The late television host Huell Howser of “California Gold” and food critic Jonathan Gold each touted the Donut Man, boosting the shop’s popularity in the region.
  • Nakano, whose family was sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona in World War II, eventually served in the Navy and was a manager at JC Penney before starting his doughnut shop.

strawberry doughnut, Donut Man

(Image of the Donut Man shop by Thomas Hawk; image of a Donut Man strawberry doughnut by The Marmot, both via Flickr)

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