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Jun 7, 2006 12:06 PM

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

  • c

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.



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  1. 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?

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      Dave Feldman

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

      1. 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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                  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

                    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. 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. 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

                  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 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 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 Ohio)