Jones Donuts & Bakery (Rutland, VT)

Every year (at least the non-Pandemic ones), we attend (and help run) Ohana: The Luau at the Lake, an annual gathering of Tiki and cocktail enthusiasts at the Tiki Resort in Lake George, NY. Preparing for Ohana involves several driving trips to Lake George, and that route generally takes us right through downtown Rutland, VT as we cross that state. This has given us more than a few opportunities to explore some of Rutland’s offerings. In this case, we were craving donuts. I know, New England is the land of Dunkin’, but let’s be honest, you can always do better than Dunkin’ by finding a good, local donut shop. In this case, our route through town took us right by Jones Donuts.

Walking into Jones Donut, you immediately get the vibe of “small town donut shop”: a simple display case and a few shelves of a variety of donuts, a simple coffee service, and a small seating area for dining in. Probably a bit more telling was a glance through the doors into the kitchen: in this world of centralized commissary-baked donuts or automated donut makers, the kitchen at Jones is a hive of human activity, with people mixing dough, forming donuts, cooking donuts, and powdering, glazing, and filling the final products.

And you can tell the hand-made different from the first bite. I ended up going with two classic donuts: a jelly donut (with the generic “red” berry filling), and a glazed cruller (of the New England variety, also known as a “twist”, vs the French-style “Truck Tire” donuts). I’ll actually start with the latter: the real factors of a good cruller are having a nice raised-dough chewy texture, and a perfect crisp to the frying, and Jones nails both. Add in a perfect glaze without any sogginess, and this was one of the best crullers I’ve had in the area, besting even Lou’s in Hanover.

The jelly donut? The fundamentals of a good jelly donut match the cruller: the donut itself needs to be crisp, the powdered coating fresh and dry, and the jelly tangy without getting the interior all soggy. This was a good, doughy donut with a great crisp to it, and just enough powdered sugar to sweeten it up.

So yes, we really enjoyed our brief breakfast stop at Jones. The donuts are handmade and delicious, the prices affordable, and the staff friendly.

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