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Sep 24, 2013 12:53 AM

Johnny Doughnuts in San Rafael

Got around to reading the fine print for the press coverage of newly opened Johnny Doughnuts in San Rafael to discover that they're made using an old fashioned potato-based recipe. Spudnut fans should rejoice! Who's tried them?

Ruthven's posts on spudnuts,

Johnny Doughnuts
1617 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901

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  1. Melanie, I missed this until now. Looks like I'm going have to have to go there and try them :-) But at $2.50 to $3 per doughnut as reported, that's into ridiculous-pricing-for-a-doughnut to me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

      From what I've read, the recipe uses fresh potatoes rather than the potato starch or dried mashed potatoes. I'm very interested in your take.

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      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks for reminding me :-) Their hours aren't on their website or Facebook page, so I called and got this from their message.

        Tuesday - Sunday., 7 am - 2 pm or earlier if they sell out.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I went there this morning. I talked with Craig Blum, one of the two owners, and he said they use potatoes in all of their doughnuts except the Old Fashioned, and that there was someone in the back right now peeling potatoes. He knew about Spudnuts in general but had never had one. Their recipe and process is definitely their own.

          I had a "classic raised glazed", I think they called it, and I could definitely tell that potatoes were in it (I mean that in a very good way). They were similar to Spudnuts (the ones that are still good) in texture and consistency, more substantial and less "airy" than normal doughnuts, and with a unique flavor. The flavor was not the same as Spudnuts, but that's to be expected; they each use their own non-potato ingredients and seasoning. The price was $2.50 which seems high until you realize that the size is probably equivalent to two normal doughnuts. It took some time to finish the one I ordered. Overall, a very high-quality doughnut that benefits from the use of potatoes. They have many different types; go try them all :-)

      2. Tried a glazed and an unglazed old fashioned.
        Both were delicious and substantial. I'm not much of a donut eater and far from an expert, but they were unlike any donuts I've had before, and yet, they made sense.
        One donut was actually more than I'm inclined to eat at once and might satisfy those who are used to eating 2 or 3 at a time. Next time I'm buying the holes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gumbolox

          Thanks to both of you for the donut reports. Things are looking up in Marin.

        2. Two months ago I finally was passing through San Rafael at the right time to make a stop here. I had a nice chat with the owner and he managed to upsell me by saying he'd give me six for the price of four and throw in some doughnut holes too. All because it was my first time in the shop. I got a cold brew tea as well for the drive.

          My favorite of the selection turned out to be the Bismarck filled with berry jam. I think that this raised dough shows off the potato's moist and fluffy contribution the best, and the preserves were barely sweetened to have a very natural taste. The Crodough, dusted with cinnamon sugar, was also quite good with its crunchy outsides though the promised cream filling was missing. Raised glazed was as good as promised. I'd buy these types again.

          The old-fashioned made with chocolate batter with chocolate glaze was hyped as something special. True that it's not made every day here, but this had little other appeal. The selling point of an old-fashioned is the crunchy exterior which this lacked, and the glaze peeled off. I did not like the cake donut either, too coarse and not delicate enough.

          I found the doughnut holes a bit on the tough side, even after warming them at home. As promised the wares are pricey but they're also huge, so worth it in the end.

          The shop has started opening on Mondays now.