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BTW - Primo's Donuts Live Up to the Hype

Tried Primo's Donuts the other day for the first time.

I like donuts, but don't eat them that much because I'm more of a protein eater than a carb eater. So I don't usually think "sweets" for breakfast. (Same is true for bagels, too, which I also like a lot).

But the other day I picked up a mixed dozen (they have a cake dozen, a fancy dozen or a mixed dozen). Excellent.

Kids loved them, too.

Primo's in on Sawtelle near National.

Maybe the best donuts I've ever had.

And - super friendly staff. Treated me like a regular. Made sure I knew that there were fresh chocolate donuts that were still warm to be put in my box then went back to grab them (all the donuts were fresh, but those chocolate ones were still hot and the frosting was dripping).

I read about Primo's on this board, but hadn't seen a recent thread -- this place deserves the hype.

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  1. Glad you liked it. Primo's has, hands down, the best buttermilk bars I've ever tasted.

    1 Reply
    1. re: David Kahn

      And just wonderful chocolate pretzels and addicitive cinnamon rings.

    2. Primo's is indeed great, particularly if you favor that light yeast-risen more delicate donut type. Not far away, on Sepulveda and Palms across from the Trader Joe's, is Royal in the middle of that S/E corner strip mall, with the more crispy-fried glazed cinnamon roll -- yum -- though their crumb donut is also quite light and delicious when fresh.

      1. I think Primo's is one of those classic Chowhound recs. They've been around for a long time - I don't know how long, but I've had their donuts since the 70s and too many in the 80s-90s when I worked in the general neighborhood. They are a family-run joint, and they make batches of donuts throughout the day using their own recipes and great ingredients. I too am very fond of their buttermilk bars and cinnamon rings, but to be honest, it's hard to go wrong with any choice here.

        9 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          They celebrated their 50th anniversary earlier this year...mmmm! Primo's.

          1. re: tony michaels

            Wow - that's amazing... 50 years for anything in the Westside says alot... I'm going tomorrow morning just for old time's sake... thanks

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Apple Pan's been around longer. I remember getting Primos after little league practice at the fields at Webster Jr high across the street. I never knew it was called Primo's and when I went there a few years ago after all this chowhound chatter, I realized I've had these donuts through my childhood. No wonder I love donuts.

              1. re: E Eto

                Yep - I knew the Pan is old, but you wouldn't think of a donut shop being 50 years old, especially with the huge changes in that industry through the 80s and 90s... truly amazing!

                1. re: E Eto

                  The current cook/manager of the Apple Pan has been with them for 50 years.

                  Here's a little 2 minute video about him: http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/03/bu...

                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                    In the words of Beavis & Butthead: "That was cool!"

                    Thanks CW!

                    1. re: ChinoWayne

                      Eisenhower was president, The Bridge Over the River Kwai premiered, and a then-youthful Mr. Collins began his 50-plus year tour with the Apple Pan... My hat's off to you, sir... Thanks Chino Wayne!

                  2. re: bulavinaka

                    Say hello to Delme and Elaine - the young women who normally tend the counter every Saturday.

                    1. re: tony michaels

                      Will do... again - thanks for the info and the nudge...

              2. Will have to try one next time I'm at Hiko.

                1. I tried them last Saturday ... a little out of my way ...but worth the drive. Shared them
                  with some coworkers who just loved them ... they were fresh, fresh and still warm ...
                  the plain glazed was perfection. Something to look forward to when I have to work over the weekend.

                  1. I got a couple dozen for my coworkers a couple of months ago, and everyone went crazy.
                    They were still warm when I brought them back...oh so good

                    1. How long can I resist Primo's siren song?

                      Would it be wrong to hit Primo's and the Pan on the same trip?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mc michael

                        I was thinking the same thing... I could probably justify it if I walked from one to the other, just to burn it all off... and Mondo Gelato is just a couple of blocks away from the Pan... choices, choices...

                        1. Another big fan of Primo's here. I really recommend that you arrive in the morning to get fresh donuts. I went a few times in the afternoon and couldn't understand the hype. When they are fresh, I know of no better donut.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: banjoboy

                            Thanks - I was heading there this morning but my wife beat me to the punch - she came home from an early morning workout with some cupcakes from Hot Bakes... will hit them tomorrow morning!

                              1. re: tony michaels

                                yep, i just called...closed on sundays. damn.

                                1. re: tony michaels

                                  Stupid me - shut out again... you folks are right. Most donut shops are open on Sunday, but I should have surmised that with the amount of business they do during the week, they could afford to take Sundays off - they're probably in church every Sunday giving thanks for having so many people who love them so much! OK, will try again some time soon. Thanks

                            1. My wife saw me obsessing over this board and also laughed when I got shut out on Sunday, so she went and got half a dozen at Primo's on Monday morning. I didn't get home until Monday nite. I saw the box and thought, " that sure was nice of her, but these are already about 12 hours old. They've gotta be way past their prime." I picked up the glazed buttermilk bar, took a whiff, and unlike most other donuts from other places, it had no rancid oil smell - just a nice aroma of a buttermilk donut . I took one big bite, and all the reasons why everybody loves this place came back to me in an instant...Yes dear, you're always right...

                              1. I picked up some earlier this week for the first time even though I live within walking distance. I thought they were great. Really moist and even better since they were still warm. I tried the chocolate bar and the cinamon roll-type donut. Both were great.

                                1. Alright - I finally made it to Primo's this morning and I'm glad to say that not only were they open, there were these really nice "Irish" folks behind the counter and sitting at the table shooting the breeze with all the (I assume) regulars. What a great start to St. Patty's Day. Everyone gave us a hearty and warm greeting, and all were wearing green derbies festooned with clovers.

                                  They had green-frosted donuts, and some clover-shaped frosted shortbread cookies. Of course, being the day of our Irish brothers and sisters, I felt it appropriate to grab some of these, but also grabbed some of their signature buttermilk bars, the cherry and orange frosteds, a crumb, chocolate frosted and an apple turnover. Most were warm if not on the hotter side - the buttermilk bars had just been brought out, and - wow - what a way to start a Saturday morning. When one says cake donut, these really are on the border of being similar to a nice moist cake that is delicate yet substantial. In particular, the buttermilk bars were outstanding. I don't know what else to say other than if you enjoy donuts and have yet to try them, do yourself a favor and go to Primo's.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    I guess you were up after all. Primo's is really such a gem. Absolutely delicious donuts. And Mr. and Mrs. Primo are just such nice folks. A great one-two combo.

                                    1. re: tony michaels

                                      I can see why this place is a neighborhood hangout. Mr. Primo was sitting tableside with his "crew," shooting the breeze about magic tricks, while Mrs. Primo was throwing smiles and snookies at my little daughter who was giggling the whole time between Mrs. Primo and just being a little giddy from drowing in fried sugar treats!

                                      I used to go by Primo's regularly around mid-day back in the 70s-90s, so I am assuming that the regulars would be long gone by noon time. I did enjoy their donuts back then, but have a greater fondness for them now that my tastebuds are a little more appreciative of better eats. As much as I love their donuts, I can't say I would go there every weekend as my belt is quickly running out of holes, but I know that when I'm jonesing for great donuts, Primo's is tops on my list. Thanks again!

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        Man, you guys are torturing me, out here in the donut barrens.

                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                          Relative to where you live, where's Glendora? I believe this is where the famous Donut Man has been selling his famous donuts since time began in Glendora. He is well known especially for the strawberry-filled, which are available now, and the peach-filled, which will be available in the summer. If you're within striking distance of the Donut Man, then it will be me on the rack!

                                  2. Another note on Primo's.

                                    They close sort of early ... four o'clock on weekdays.

                                    And on Friday I stopped by at 10 'til 4 and they were already closed.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: PaulF

                                      Thanks... they also close BY 3pm on Saturdays, and as I've mentioned on previous entries, they are closed on Sundays as well... even angels need a day of rest!

                                    2. Jonathan Gold's article in this week's LA Weekly is about donuts, but not just any donuts. Mr. Gold wrote about the Donut Man, Fritelli's, Bob's in the Farmers Market, and of course - our beloved Primo's on Sawtelle. Like many of us who have been to Primo's, Mr. Gold has been charmed by the buttermilk bars and crumb donuts too... I feel another donut run coming on this Saturday...

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        I just read that article, and I must go to Primo's and the Donut Man this weekend...

                                        1. re: risottoman

                                          You go young man of slowly simmered heavenly rice - pursue your dreams... maybe I'll see you at Primo's pursuing one of mine...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Just back from Primo's. A fresh platter of the huge iced cinnamon rolls beckoned. Elaine was back from "sitting in the snow" (known as snow boarding for the first time) at Big Bear and Mr. Primo and I stood out front for a minute and chatted about
                                            "his" two mallards who finally came back and took up residence in the parking lot of the drug store across the street. All is right with the world.

                                            1. re: tony michaels

                                              Taking a break from helping the kids with homework... just long enough to head over to Primo's...

                                              1. re: tony michaels

                                                I had heard that Mr. Primo had passed away a few years ago but two posters have mentioned that they spoke with Mr. Primo recently. Can anyone clarify?

                                                1. re: Leon

                                                  As I came in this morning he was carrying a tray of freshly made jelly filled out of the manufacturing area (the back room) this morning and looked surprisingly spry for supposedly being in the (donut) hole.

                                                  1. re: tony michaels

                                                    Yes, today I did notice an older spry gentleman that I had never seen on my visits before. Perhaps the Mr. Primo that has passed on was Mr. Primo, Sr. I had 2 glazed buttermilks. Another mystery: Why is it so hard to eat only one donut? Knowing that a second will make you feel like you have bricks in your stomach but you eat the second one anyway.

                                                    1. re: Leon

                                                      Leon the donut devastator, you are not alone. I ordered a mixed dozen along with a baked cinnamon roll and blueberry scone on Saturday morning. After fighting the urge of reaching into that pink box sitting on the passenger seat all the way home (5 minutes), I clambered out of the car, grabbed the box, almost forgot my daughter, unlocked her from the carseat, scampered in with my bootie from Primo's, asked my wife if the hot drinks were ready, cleared the table, flipped opened the box, and dug into one of three buttermilk bars that were so warm from their kitchen that they had melted some of the frostings off of the surrounding donuts. Second choice was the baked cinnamon roll. Great choice - very substantial, and lots of cinnamon in the swirl - you know that cinnamon is purported to have benifits for brain function as well a stabilizing blood glucose levels - does this make their cinnamon rolls a health food? I think so... Third was a simple yet fresh and delicious cake donut with maple frosting. Does devouring three tasty items in the span of reading the Saturday LA Times front page make me part of your club?

                                                  2. re: Leon

                                                    When I came through the door this morning Mr. Primo came out of the back and said "To paraphrase Mark Twain - the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated" and we both laughed. May it be exaggerated for many, many, many years to come.

                                                    1. re: tony michaels

                                                      What a stylish bunch of folks there... the best of donuts AND first-rate humor on top of that... didn't make it today - had an all-day outing but will try to make there this coming week... craving a few of those great buttermilk bars...

                                                  3. re: tony michaels

                                                    Mrs. Primo sought out my daughter again, as she pressed her nose against the glass case. The Misses greated my daughter, asked her name, and encouraged her to pick out her favorite donut(s). "Pink - stwa-beh-wee?" "Those are cherry - is that okay?" "Uh-huh. Oh-wenj, and choco-wit." I ordered the rest. Three scrumptious glazed buttermilk bars just out of the kitchen, two crumbs, two a few maple bars, a baked cinnamon roll, and a blueberry scone. You are so right - all is right with the world now... at least in our neighborhoods...

                                            2. Primos was an everyday stop for me 40 years ago when I went to Webster Jr Hi. A friends father had a little photo business in the same building but I haven't been there in probably 10 years. I'll have to take the kids there when spring break starts.

                                              If I rembember correctly, the mama Primo of my generation had a mexican patio restaurant behind KFC when KFC was where the 76 station is now and Chris and Pitt's was where KFC is now.

                                              In an area where too many restaurant institutions seem to thrive because it's "where we alway used to go", Johnies, Titos, Dinah's, Apple Pan, it's good to hear that Primos continues to thrive by delivering the goods.

                                              P.S. I don't hate Tito's or the AP. I just don't think they merit the praise heaped upon them nor do I think they're worth waiting/paying for. Maybe it's cuz my dad never took me to the AP so I can't feel all warm and fuzzy about it. The place that I loved to go to with him was at Sawtelle and Pico and was an old timey truck stop place called Mac's where Tomy's in now. It's where I learned to love biscuits and gravy and corned beef hash. They had the same water holders as the AP--the little paper cone in a plastic holder.