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May 21, 2008 03:19 PM

Alfa Donuts

Just a note re a long-time CH favorite: donut stalwart Alfa Donuts at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard, an old-style, squat-ceilinged, brown-lit 24-hour hole in the wall complete with midgety counter and stools that force one into the same upper-abdomen compressing posture that solves hiccups. The donuts may be tasty, and the environment appealing, but the donuts are not made on-site. They are delivered. From one of the nearby Queens-based donut factories that supply every donut vendor west of Long Island and east of Fifth. (NJ factories supply much of the West Side.) If the donuts drove you, then the Alfa myth is dead. If the destination drove you, then long live Alfa.

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  1. Are you serious? I haven't been there in a long time but I've gotten warm donuts there. I assumed that they cooked it on site. Otherwise I have to applaud the delivery guys on their driving.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      maybe some of the donuts are delivered. but i've been there late at night, sitting at the counter farthest from the door, and watched as the guy fished fresh donuts out of the hot oil and then sprinkled sugar on them. the donuts were then left to cool on racks and served still warm.

      1. re: joekarten

        That's definitely possible that some are baked on site. However, when I was there on Monday, they were taking donuts out of big boxes and putting them on the shelf. Still, I ate what was the best glazed donut I'd had in ages. Total yumz. I'd go back for sure, delivered or not delivered.

        1. re: megc

          Perhaps some of the ones under the counter come from elsewhere? Such as the french crullers (usually a fave; never get them at Alfa).

          1. re: Up With Olives

            I haven't been at Alfa late at night since 2003, when I lived in the neighborhood. But I've made a couple of afternoon trips in the last month, each time asking the woman (two different women) at the register (being careful that the guy who runs the place was in the back, such that his presence wouldn't deter her from the truth) whether they made the donuts on-site, and both explained that, no, they came from outside and were delivered. I was surprised, given the reputation of the place. But, to be honest, I wasn't surprised, given the taste of the donuts. They were fine. Exactly fine. Not wonderful. Not bad. Fine. Exactly as fine as what the donut cart on Chambers and Lafayette serves up. Which is a tasty, acceptable shame, but a shame nonetheless. Still a great place to vegetate, though.

            1. re: chowbound

              I think it must be a relatively new thing (or perhaps not so relatively) as I haven't been there in years. I remember going in there and asking for their freshest doughnut. The ladies would feel different doughnuts and I would get warm ones many times. Sometimes they would tell me nothing is fresh. Even though I'm not a huge donut fan, I can say they're good donuts but not earth-shattering or life-altering.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                Thanks for the info, chowbound. It saved me from making the trek out there to sample them for myself.

                1. re: racer x

                  Definintely not destination worthy. I live right across the street, so I've been there a zillion times for everything from donuts to breakfast to dinner. The donuts are fine IF you like cake donuts, but even then they're nothing life-altering. If you prefer a lighter donut, forget it. Also, the place is absolutely filthy - BF refuses to go there anymore, after finding not one but SEVERAL long black hairs in his breakfast one day (in the eggs and on the toast). Come on people, is it really that hard to wear a hairnet or a hat?

    2. Interesting. It doesn't surprise me that they do some, or even all, of the donuts elsewhere - the place is pretty small after all - but I've had warm donuts at Alpha several times, so they must come from nearby. And their donuts are different, denser, than most of the donuts found in NYC, so their supplier must not supply many other places.

      1. I am pretty sure they fry a few donuts and purchase the rest. There are very few donut shops that actually fry all of their donuts. Peter Pan and Donut Pub are two that do.

        The rest either do not fry a single donut or will fry one or two types.

        Frying donuts is not worth the expensive and time for most places, esp with the cost of oil and other ingredients and transfat rules

        I still think the best donuts are at Peter Pan in green point. Great marble cruellers, apple crumb etc

        1. CONFIRMED

          They DO NOT MAKE DONUTS on site. Nor do they make them at another location. They are bought from another Company. Today was my first trip and I asked the lady at the counter.

          Me: Do you guys make the donuts?
          Counter Lady: No we don't make them anymore.
          Me: Do you make em off site?
          Counter Lady: No we buy 'em from a small supplier that has a few other customers. So you know.... but they're commercial. And if they're commercial they're commercial so fahgeddaboutit.

          That's a direct quote. As far as I can tell it was no better or worse than dunkin donuts. But was definitely acknowledging, quite openly, that the donuts aren't so great anymore. "When they're commercial they're commercial, so forget about it" sums it up.

          3 Replies
          1. re: 2slices

            However -- Alpha is a fine place to get a cup of soup or a fry-up late late late. Nasty lighting, bright yellow menuboards, wall hooks for your coat and hat, beans and franks listed on the chalkboard....It's the kind of coffee shop that was common back in the days when NYC was NYC. I'm saddened about the donuts, but I still love Alpha Donuts.

            1. re: Up With Olives

              for something to eat when getting off the subway at 4am, their turkey club is pretty solid...

              1. re: Up With Olives

                yeah it looked really cool, my kinda place. most of the posts on here just mention it being dirty, but if the food is good i dont care.

                have u been to new post coffee shop on QB? I heard they serve mexican as well as diner food.