Apr 13, 2023 - Food and Drink

Arkansas Spudnuts are lost but never forgotten

A photo of a donut and a cup of coffee.

The Spudnut and a cup of coffee. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

In my long love affair with doughnuts, the Spudnut has been the one that got away. A round shadow filled with myth and legend. Like Bigfoot.

  • My white whale.

The big picture: The original Spudnuts company started in 1946 has folded and less than 60 shops still crank them out each morning — most in small, rural towns or California. There's even one in Vietnam.

  • El Dorado and Magnolia are Arkansas' only two locations.

Details: Made with potato flour, these treats, I'd been told, are fluffier and puffier than the average sugar-delivery disc.

  • A Spudnut relies on its pastry first and a light glaze second.

The setup: When I realized I'd be in El Dorado on a day when the store there was open, I got a scouting report from natives who are close friends.

  • "Get a hot one," I was told.

The verdict: Despite the huge upswell of food writing in the past decade or so, words usually seem to fail the taste, smell and feel of culinary delights.

  • Perhaps I'm just no good at it. I'll wrestle with writing about numbers over emotion any day.

Zoom in: That's what eating a Spudnut was like — emotional.

  • I was transported back to childhood where, sitting in a corner under flickering fluorescents, all that really mattered was the next bite of a golden, sticky "O" and my own amusing thoughts.

🍩 The bottom line: These are worthy of your time. The El Dorado shop is open 5am to noon every day but Sunday.


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