Neil’s is a roadside bakery in the upper echelon of New England donut shops. The selection is large, including both glazed (the lightweight ones) and cake donuts (heavier dunkers), both of which are available plain, sugar-frosted, chocolate-topped, and cinnamon-coated. There are also extravagant jelly filled pastries — long black raspberry-filled crullers and big round red jelly-filled Bismarks.
While the glazed donuts are fine, it’s the old-fashioned ones that are tongue-dazzling. They are thick and cakey with a wicked exterior crunch and insides infused with the unctuous savor of the oil in which they have been fried. Early in the morning, when they’re still warm, they virtually melt in your mouth.
Proprietor Neil Bukowski told us that he keeps true baker’s hours, arriving every morning before 3 and closing the shop mid-afternoon. His shelves also hold bagels, hard rolls, muffins, cookies and pies, but in truth, we’ve tried none of these peripheral items. In our book, Neil’s is a donut shop!
We pass this way often when traveling between NY and my in-laws in MA, but I always remember Neil’s just after we are a few miles past. Well, that will never happen again!
We stopped and each got a donut, then went back in and bought a dozen. The old-fashioned, the crullers, and (what I am guessing is a special this time of year) the cider donuts were among the best I have ever had. While the specialty of many donut places is the complex or specialty donut, Neil’s does the simple basics VERY well. The donuts have a crispy outer shell and a light-textured center. The cider donuts are without question the best of that type I’ve ever had, with a wonderful apple taste that is usually missing in these types of donuts.
If traveling along the Merritt Parkway, Neil’s is an easy and fast detour; it is along Route 150, which runs just north of the Merritt, between exits 65 and 66.
Definitely worth a stop!