Stereotypically, Southern California is seen as the land of healthy eating: a place where tanned, blond individuals sip fruit smoothies and nibble on veggie sandwiches loaded with sprouts and avocado. Interestingly, however, it also happens to be a donut lover’s mecca, with tiny shops squeezed into nearly every strip mall. Although donut chains exist in these parts, they are more of an exception than the rule in a land where mom-and-pop shops rule the roost. Purists likely stick to the corner store whose offerings are limited to donuts and diner-grade coffee; however, diverse options abound for those looking for something more (e.g., “Donuts & Chinese Food,” “Hot Dogs & Donuts”).
Although we would have trouble choosing a favorite So-Cal donut shop, Donut Man is a clear competitor for first place. Located on Historic Route 66 in Glendora, the Donut Man Jim Nakano has been satisfying sweet tooths around the clock for over 40 years. Although we have not met a donut here that we didn’t like (be it cake or raised, airy or filled), the fruit-filled donuts are most certainly the stars of the show during the summer months (peach takes over for strawberry by mid-July). Nakano takes a puffy glazed donut and stuffs it with enough chunks of fresh strawberries or peaches to necessitate use of a fork and knife. Another favorite is the tiger tail, a foot-long glazed donut twisted with devil’s food cake.
Donut Man is open 24 hours and is just off the Foothill Freeway near the eastern edge of Los Angeles County.