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South Food 10

El Dorado’s Spudnuts Shoppe


Have you ever eaten a spudnut?

My first and only experience happened three years ago in Little Rock. Fortunately, a friend had just returned from the Spudnut Shoppe in El Dorado, a two-hour drive from the capital city, with a box of still fairly fresh confections. I remember the potato flour-based donut being distinctly better than most donuts on the market, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I was able to visit the actual shop and try one at the peak of freshness.

I arrived at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to an old-timey, dimly lit and somewhat barren donut shop. A line of six people formed at the register and extended to the front door. It was early, so low volume, half-dazed small talk amongst locals in line was the only noise in the joint. Dozens and dozens of boxes, stacked neatly against the back wall, caught my eye, but so did the overall sparseness of the place. There were a couple of tables and chairs for in-house dining, a cooler for drinks, and a coffee pot. Upon second glance, I spotted more empty donut boxes along the wall. What I’m trying to say is that Spudnut Shoppe was all about spudnuts.

The workers were quiet. One man labored over dough while another walked around, overseeing what I assumed to be the fryer in the back. A third tended the counter. It was a small, yet efficient operation, run to perfection. As the locals gabbed about each other’s family, I stared blankly at an overhead board, searching for options and prices.

A plain glazed spudnut will run you 70 cents. Other slightly higher priced items include chocolate covered, lemon filled, strawberry filled and caramel iced spudnuts, along with cinnamon rolls, eclairs, and donut holes by the dozen. It’s a simple, no-frills menu, which is about what I expected.

Except for the donut holes, I tried all of the aforementioned offerings. My bill ran about $9, a small price to pay for greatness. And while I enjoyed all of them, the plain glazed truly stood out. Most of the potato flour donuts I’ve tried in the past were thick, dense and just not very enjoyable, but the spudnut was fairly light and fluffy. A perfect fry job left the exterior crisp, yet not oily. The spudnut was soft and warm, but not hot, so I’m figuring it had set out for about 10 minutes. It was apparent what all of the fuss was about. Simply put, it was one of the better donuts I’ve eaten in quite a while.

Knowing that time was critical, and every moment counts when it comes to donuts, I snapped a few photos, got back into my car, and drove home to Little Rock. Two hours later, my family was enjoying their first spudnut experience.

That’s what I call paying it forward.

Spudnut Shoppe
810 W Faulkner St. (El Dorado)
Phone: (870) 863-9914
Hours: Monday-Saturday 5 a.m.-12 p.m.; Closed Sunday

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and one daughter, Sydney. His oldest daughter, Natalie, is a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago. He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, twelve years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for ten years. During that time, he’s written for publications like Little Rock Soiree, Arkansas Times, AY Magazine, and The Local Palate.

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10 responses to “El Dorado’s Spudnuts Shoppe”

  1. Shirley Faulkner says:

    I love, love, love Spudnuts. Originally from El Dorado so have eaten there since they opened. Moved to Texas in mid 1960s so don’t get to enjoy them very often. Wish they would ship them over night to me.

  2. Shel Barksdale says:

    My home town..so absolutely know that distinctive flavor. Live in Central Coast CA now but each trip home that was a stop that was high on my list. I discovered Spudnuts here too (Santa Barbara) but no comparison to THOSE!! HOT out of the glaze is the ONLY way to eat them for that unique flavor and sweetness. You can cut in half and fry in butter after they are hardened but not the same. When I requested a HOT one here the Asian lady replied “noooooo…you bring back..greeeze…no give Hot”!! I haven’t had my spudnut fix since 01…but have a Krispy Kreme opening a block away…guess it will have to do

  3. […] from Little Rock, and much closer for Arkansans living south of the capital city. Stop off in El Dorado for a spudnut on the drive down. Plan a weekend jaunt at rustonlincoln.com and enjoy all this small town across […]

  4. […] and did I mention that Drew and Bendy sent me home with a dozen Spudnuts they picked up earlier that day? Did you really think I’d go to El Dorado without partaking in […]

  5. […] seriously here in Arkansas. Don’t believe me? Then you have obviously never been to Mark’s and Spudnuts, institutions in North Little Rock and El Dorado, respectively. Ask anyone from Benton, however, […]

  6. James Jones says:

    Oh, yes. During part of my childhood we lived in a duplex in Bentonville near the County Fair site and a few blocks from a bowling alley and a Spudnut, just a little north of where the highway curved to go east to Rogers. It was amazing. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  7. […] you know deep within your soul that you’re eating something special. My first glazed donut from Spudnuts was one of them, as was that initial bite of Wright’s […]

  8. […] difficult categories to pick. Why? Because we have some stellar donut options in Arkansas. I love Spudnut Shoppe in El Dorado and Dales in Benton, but I still have Mark’s on a pedestal. The donuts are so light and fluffy […]

  9. […] is nothing like waking up early and devouring 2-3 glazed doughnuts at Spudnuts in El Dorado. The potato flour-based doughnuts are a little thicker in texture, but still light […]

  10. Pat Crawford says:

    I can’t wait till our friend gets back from El Dorado On Sunday. My dozen of Spudnuts won’t be hot but I’ll heat them up and they’ll still be good. We used to live in El Dorado in the mid 80s. We were told about Spudnuts and tried them out. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I’ve never have tasted one as good. It’s probably been 7 years since we’ve had one. My mouth is watering now.

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