Coffee is brewed from beans roasted in town; donuts are hot from the kettle at dawn; kolaches (sweet dough baked around spicy sausage) are the most robust pigs-in-blankets imaginable. Although this little strip-mall storefront doesn’t at first appear unique, it has a winning personality that is a world away from the regimented chains where you always know exactly what to expect.
The last time I visited Belair Donuts, the unexpected treat was a Bismarck. Staff member Rachel told me that the baker had made a bunch of “blank Bismarcks” that were hers to customize. So she created a crunchy, rugged crown of crumbled Oreos to stick on top … but left the filling undone. It was up to customers to choose which flavor cream they wanted piped inside when they ordered theirs. Although caramel creme brulee filling was mighty tempting (It’s used on weekday donuts that actually do get torched, just like creme brulee), I chose strawberry — sweet, rich, fruity — which Rachel piped in profusely. It was a true custom creation — reason enough to really like this place.
Other good reasons to like it: apple fritters that are an extravagant swirl of tender pastry, sweet fruit, and sugar glaze; fine fresh donuts — either heavyweight cake or featherweight yeast-raised; and the cro-do, which is a small croissant that gets fried and sugar-glazed. As for the kolaches — a Czech-ancestored pastry that is now immensely popular in Texas (where the baker hails from) — they are exemplary. Snapping firm sausages, available laced with cheese and/or jalapeno peppers, come wrapped in soft, slightly sweet dough to make a seriously filling little sandwich for breakfast or lunch (or a snack). Of course, you want yours warmed up.
While most business is take-out to nearby offices, stores, and homes, Belair offers a few bare tables up front and a cozy sitting area in back, complete with tables, a couch, and a couple of upholstered chairs.
A second location is located near Gate 2 of Fort Gordon, at 720 E. Robinson Ave. in Grovetown. (706-869-5091)