After nearly 20 years in Ohio, we finally made it to The Wilds in Cumberland. If you don’t know it, The Wilds is a 10,000-acre preserve operated by the Columbus Zoo, dedicated to giving nearly 300 endangered animals land on which to roam. We highly recommend a visit, starting with the Open-Air Safari tour.
BUT… me being me, we had to make a couple culinary stops part of the adventure. And I’ve long heard the likes of CMH Gourmand praising Zanesville’s Donald’s Donuts as the best in Ohio, so naturally that was our first destination.
We approached Zanesville from the north, and found Donald’s along busy Maple Avenue. We had to make a quick left through traffic into the gravel parking lot, then found our way inside to the fairly busy shop. During these COVID-times, we found things pretty safe there, although we took our donuts to-go. They had plexiglass dividers between the employees and customers, employees and standing guests were masked (although a couple employees had masks hanging below their noses).
Donald’s is the epitome of old school donut shops that dot the state: open since 1960, family-run, long building with big display cases and a counter with short stools.
Jim from CMH Gourmand has tracked many of these across the state. From my experience, Donald’s reminds me of Bill’s Donuts in Centerville, Schneider’s Bakery in Westerville, Holtman’s in Cincinnati, Buckeye Donuts near campus, Lindsey’s Bakery in Circleville, many of the stops on the Butler County Donut Trail. You get the picture.
These places are important because a.) good donuts are always a good idea, and b.) because they’re important facets of a community. Everyone’s proud of their hometown donut shop, and probably the taste/smell of a fresh longjohn or warm cake donut triggers important childhood memories.
We picked up a box of nine donuts, following some of our preferences and some of the lady at the counter’s suggestions (we’ve found it’s always good to ask after their greatest hits).
Well done all around, and certainly deserving of any accolades. We found the yeast-raised donuts just a little chewy and not quite melt-in-your-mouth, but it’s nothing we wouldn’t get again. I loved the Bavarian cream filling they used; the stand-out for me was the raspberry jam-filled yeast beauty.
If you’re passing through Zanesville – maybe going to The Wilds or just traveling by on I-70 – absolutely pull off and make a stop at Donald’s. It’s a slice of Zanesville history and culture, and supporting small, family-owned businesses like these is always a good iea.