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Sad news: Lou's Living Donut Museum (San Jose) to close

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Carb Lover Jun 7, 2006 12:06 PM

On the front page of the Mercury News this morning (see link). Lou's has been in business since 1955 and is closing at the end of this month due to family illness. A loyal customer may continue to make the recipes and relocate, but it won't be the same.

I've only been once but felt a special something there. I ache for a tender pumpkin donut (possibly seasonal) before they shut their doors. For fans, please share your favorites and stories. For those who haven't been, go while you still have a chance.

Link: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercur...

Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

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  1. s
    schwantz RE: Carb Lover Jun 7, 2006 02:42 PM

    I have only had these once. It was around the time that Krisy Kreme came to the Bay Area, and one of my co-workers, sick of all the hype, showed up with some donuts from Lou's. They were incredible. Cakey, yet fluffy - moist and warm, Lou's donuts blew away every other donut I'd ever tasted. I really hope someone carries the business forward. Don't donut shops have sous-chefs?

    1. d
      Dave Feldman RE: Carb Lover Jun 8, 2006 12:51 AM

      Those look so beautiful. I'm almost 3000 miles away but I feel your loss.

      1. Melanie Wong RE: Carb Lover Jun 27, 2006 01:34 AM

        Just wanted to bump this up to the top. Any updates on whether the business will go forward in a new location?

        7 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Carb Lover RE: Melanie Wong Jun 27, 2006 06:38 AM

          Melanie, you tease! You got me all excited to hear an update on this place. I sadly haven't been since I posted the announcement but hope to go later this week. Assuming they're still open, I will get the scoop unless someone beats me to it.

          1. re: Carb Lover
            Melanie Wong RE: Carb Lover Jun 29, 2006 07:49 AM

            Sorry, sweetie, I had hoped to go this week too, but got too late of a start to make the stop in San Jose. Hope it continues as I've never had the pleasure of one of their donuts. Have you tried Stan's yet?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              RWCFoodie RE: Melanie Wong Jun 30, 2006 05:54 AM

              On the way to lunch today at Dalat, Cynthia and I stopped at Lou's - had to before they closed! They have a sign on the door now saying that they will stay open for the month of July! I picked up 2 doz. donut holes to share with the lunch group - histerically funny that Nathan P. and Carb Lover had the exact same thought and brought boxes to share with everyone too! Anyway, you all now have another month to enjoy Lou's...

              1. re: RWCFoodie
                Melanie Wong RE: RWCFoodie Jun 30, 2006 06:41 PM

                So, did you finish all the donut holes? Or maybe we'll be seeing reports of bread/donut hole pudding . . .

                Thanks a bunch for the news of the temporary reprieve!

                1. re: RWCFoodie
                  Carb Lover RE: RWCFoodie Jul 1, 2006 03:22 AM

                  Even though Lou's may be closing for good, the donuts tasted just as I remembered. I was bummed that they didn't have my favorite, pumpkin, but they indeed are seasonal. I like their glazed cake donuts, as well as the glazed crullers, but they were out of those.

                  At noon the pickins' were rather slim, especially after Nathan first cleaned them out of 2 dozen!! And Karen sapping them of 2 dozen holes...

                  I'm glad to see that they'll stay open through the end of July (at least). I asked the owner (I'm assuming) if someone would continue the business and he said he wasn't really sure. Seemed like a sore subject, and since I'm not a regular, I didn't pry further.

                  And no, Melanie, I haven't had the pleasure of Stan's (although yimster has promised to correct that).

                2. re: Melanie Wong
                  k
                  Karen_Schaffer RE: Melanie Wong Jul 17, 2006 03:30 PM

                  I just went there this morning, and they're still going. 8 a.m. and I was the only customer!

                  It's Lou's plain cake donuts that I particularly prize. They're moist and tender inside with just a bit of a crunch to the crust, are slightly sweet, and have a delicate hint of nutmeg (why is that a traditional donut seasoning? I don't know, but I like it). They're delicious. I finished my first as I typed.

                  I saw an old movie once where people were eating plain cake donuts. And I suddenly realized that with modern donuts, the toppings have come to eclipse the underlying donut. But a really good donut should be good enough to eat on its own, sans sprinkles, peanuts, coconut, etc. Even a glaze obscures the lovely crunch of the crust (though I admit, I have a maple-glazed cake in my bag).

                  But I don't care for the raised donuts at Lou's. They have that chemical taste that is so common in raised donuts these days (I suspect it's some dough enhancer or some such). Otoh, I love the raised donuts at Stan's but don't care for their cake donuts.

                  There was nothing posted at Lou's about either closing or continuing, and I was loathe to ask. I'll go again next week.

                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                    Carb Lover RE: Karen_Schaffer Jul 17, 2006 04:03 PM

                    Thanks for the update. Good for you for getting there so early! I agree that Lou's strength is their cake donut...very tender and "light." I generally prefer cake to raised anyway.

                    I don't have a problem w/ a chemical taste in their raised, but find them sorta dry. The coconut raised was good though. Keep us posted if you find out about whether someone will carry on the business in a new location...

            2. yimster RE: Carb Lover Jun 30, 2006 12:17 AM

              Melanie, I finally tried Lou's today and they a little lighter and less oily than Stan's unless you hit Stan's early in the day. But Stan's is comparable to Lou's.

              1. RWCFoodie RE: Carb Lover Jul 1, 2006 04:17 AM

                Hi Melanie, No we didn't finish all the holes! I sent them up to the Grandchildren! (Yeah, I know, "Honey We're Killing the Kids"...) I rarely eat donuts but I had to have some before they're gone forever - I agree with Carb Lover, the pumpkin were the best - Actually Cynthia bought 1 of every type they had yesterday! The jelly donuts and maple bars were calling me but I resisted - the apple fritters are different than any I've seen so I had to get 2 of them for DH - I scarfed a bite of one of those!

                1 Reply
                1. re: RWCFoodie
                  Cynsa RE: RWCFoodie Jul 3, 2006 11:01 AM

                  This is not about "what's good for you". Love fried thingies... hate sweet things. Yes, I did try to get "one of each" but was foiled by the lady in front of me, who purchased the last maple bar in the tray.
                  I do love doughnuts...in a neverending search for satisfaction, Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR tweaks my sense of humor...everything else has been just ok —even, Bob's on Polk Street in San Francisco). I do have a very high regard for the apple fritter at G&G Market on College Avenue in Santa Rosa (lots of apple chunks) - the same fritter at the G&G Market in Petaluma is a poor cousin (same recipe!). Shuna Lydon taught a pate a choux class in Berkeley last month —the bonus was Doughnut Choux, deep-fried and sugar-dusted with ground cardamom and tea...or, a lavender sugar.

                  Discovering Lou's just before they close the business is just too ironic. I love the doughnuts at Lou's because they are perfect in texture, density/lightness, flavor, and they are not too sweet. At the end of July, no more Lou's Doughnuts...my fave? The cake donut/doughnut rolled in coconut flakes(....and, of course, the Pumpkin Doughnuts in October-only).

                  (Did you read Homer Price by Robert Mccloskey... about Uncle Ulysses' newfangled doughnut machine? I think it began my infatuation/fascination early in childhood...and, my Dad would make us fried doughnuts...split a day-old Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut in half, fry it in butter until lightly browned and crisp, serve it hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream...or, without the ice cream...on a Saturday morning...in Ohio)

                2. k
                  katya RE: Carb Lover Jul 1, 2006 04:30 AM

                  Any idea what their hours are? I've been calling since 5 p.m. or so and no one answers. Are they only open in the morning? I'd love a late night doughnut haunt.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: katya
                    Carb Lover RE: katya Jul 1, 2006 04:37 AM

                    I don't know their exact hours, but I recall them being an early morning, closed when they're all out joint. These days, I could see them closing as early as 2 or 3pm. Definitely not a late night place, and I have no idea about their weekend hours.

                    **Edit: Just checked citysearch and hours there specify M-F 5:30am-2:30pm, Sat. 6:30am-2:30pm. Might be different w/ their imminent closure.

                  2. k
                    katya RE: Carb Lover Jul 1, 2006 07:17 AM

                    Thanks! I'm bummed about the hours because it means I'll never be there on a weeknight, but maybe I'll grab one in the early afternoon tomorrow...

                    1. x
                      xbailey RE: Carb Lover Jul 17, 2006 09:02 PM

                      HOLY CRAP! Something has to be done. Their pumpkin donuts are unquestionably the BEST. This is a major blow to the South Bay culinary scene. Does anyone know a chef or bakery owner who might be willing to fork over cash for their recipes? Seriously, I might shrivel up and die if there was no way to ever have a pumpkin donut again!

                      1. k
                        Karen_Schaffer RE: Carb Lover Jul 26, 2006 04:16 PM

                        I went to Lou's this morning, and the woman at the counter confirmed that tomorrow is their last day. She's hoping to buy the business and re-open it somewhere with better parking and foot traffic. But who knows whether it will happen? We'll just have to keep our ears open. And buy our last living donuts tomorrow.

                        Mmm, plain cake!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                          Carb Lover RE: Karen_Schaffer Jul 27, 2006 01:13 AM

                          Thanks so much for bumping this up and providing an update. The news of it closing tomorrow caused a wave of sadness to wash over me...Will try to stop by tomorrow.

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