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Becoming a Donut Devotee in the Bay Area

Updated: Jul 03, 2023 09:21
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All photos by @schatziefrisch

I frequent Donut Shops. I only buy one Donut at a time and I only use coins, no bills or credit cards allowed. It all began after one of my long distance runs on the Bay Trail. A sudden overwhelming “Donut Desire Sensation” washed over me. I had no wallet and no money. I pulled a U-ie (almost did a ‘Donut’) to get that one last parking spot right in front of “All-Star Donuts”, not quite knowing how I was going to get a Donut with no Dough (so to speak).

Don-nut Worry, Be Happy

But, miraculously after scrounging around every hard-to-reach cavity in my car I was able to extricate just the exact amount, 125 cents. I walked my sweaty post-run body proudly to the counter, spread out all my coins, and ordered my Donut. Not sure what the DonutLady thought of me…disheveled and sweaty with a fistful of coins. (I Do-nut care). That Donut tasted better than ever. So, ever since that fateful D-day I’ve only bought Donuts with Coins. “DonutMoney” I call it.

Schatzie’s DonutMoney

I only buy Old Fashioned Glazed Donuts, and if one is not available I may get an Old Fashioned Chocolate, or possibly an Old Fashioned Maple, but if those are not aRound…well then I go ‘Donutless’.

Holey Donutholes!: With glazed old fashioned in hand (and mouth), I paid homage to the DonutDeity on the floor wedged between the DonutMoney machine and garbage can, upon departing “Donut Time”.

I remember one time I went to “All-Star Donuts”. I had 125 pennies worth of “Donut Money” this time. My regular DonutLady was not there. I scattered my 125 pennies on the counter and asked for my usual (I had to tell her what my usual was though…first bad sign). The Unknown DonutLady eyed me suspiciously. I told The Unknown DonutLady there were indeed 125 pennies on the counter. I thought she’d just whisk them into her cash drawer, but she started counting them… real-slow-like. She told me I was short 3 pennies. What? I told her there were exactly 125 pennies, and that she must have counted wrong, but yes I would bring her the 3 pennies next time, and I asked her to give me my Goddamn Donut…please. (Ok, I didn’t use God’s name in vain with the word Donut…but “Goddamn Donut”,now that’s a good name for a Donut Shop).

It’s always that time! Donut Artwork on the walls at “Donut Time” in El Cerrito

Speaking of Donut Shops, I am fascinated by the Donut Shop culture, the mostly sweet DonutLadies behind the counter, the DonutMen hiding in the back room, the DonutDecor, the FakeFerns, the quirky Donut Artwork on the walls, the Donut Clientele, DonutTV, and that very tiny DonutMoney machine. And you can buy DonutLotto tickets. (Do you win Donuts?). Sometimes the DonutLady, slips an extra Donut or two in my bag. Sometimes I get “holes” (donut holes that is) in my bag! You never know when this will occur, as this transaction is done non-verbally. Why, it’s a “Donut Surprise!” (FYI: Tip your DonutLady).

DonutMoney machine

My first ever job was at a Donut Shop, ”Wayne’s Donuts” on San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito (across the bay from San Francisco). Wayne looked like the perfect Donut Shop Owner, short and very, very wide. Then there was Benny, the also very wide DonutMaker. He came in the middle of the night and left when I was just arriving for work. And I think there was a “little person” and a “one-legged man” that also worked there. It was a Motley Donut Crew. I sold the Donuts and was also the “bussing-the-tables-girl”. All the customers who hung out at “Wayne’s Donuts” were crusty old men. They smoked Marlboro cigarettes, drank only black ash-like coffee and ate Donuts and other fried items. I cleared their tables by pushing a small rolling cart, even though the place was really very tiny. Sometimes I could feel their eyes on my apron-less behind. I collected Ashes and Leftovers, although there were usually not many Leftovers, but a lot of Leftover Ashes. (Which is what those crusty old men are now, RIP).

Sad Donuts?

That was a very long time ago. “Wayne’s Donuts” is still there, it’s now called “Donut Time”, and nothing much has changed. They did add a DonutMoney machine, and you can’t smoke Marlboros’ anymore.

I’ve been orbiting around “Donut World” on1399 9th Ave, San Francisco for a while now

I also frequent “Donut World” in the Inner Sunset in San Francisco. I started going there every Sunday after dancing at “Lindy in the Park” (Golden Gate Park). I’ll never forget when I first saw their GIANT sign above the shop from afar. I couldn’t quite read it, and as I got closer, I really could not believe it! Donut…WORLD? I was so very excited. I’ve been orbiting around it ever since. I love that “Donut World” has the shortest possible miniature stools drilled into the floor to squat on. No seatbelts necessary for lift off. I float beneath the giant windows, and watch the non-Donut world pass by.

I’ve been orbiting around “Donut World” on1399 9th Ave, San Francisco for a while now

I go to “Happy Donuts” as well. There are many “Happy Donuts” around town. There is one “Happy Donuts” that I pass by, and I do… ‘pass-it-by’. I call it “Sad Donuts”, as there are always homeless people lying about the front. It’s next to a Liquor Store. But maybe they are Happy? They have Liquor and… Donuts.

Driving and Donuting

I just came from “Happy Donuts” in Albany on San Pablo Ave. this evening. I hung out with my one Old Fashioned Donut, and watched the varying people enter, and then leave Happy…at least for a Moment. And really, that’s all we have…Moments and… sometimes Donuts.

Driving and Donuting

Next up, I will be conducting a Donut Investigation of the Old Fashioned kind.

See you aRound…like a Donut.


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Schatzie Frisch

Schatzie Frisch

‘Schatzie the Renegade Deli Heiress’ is a Bay Area native and a lover of San Francisco. Much of her humorous art and writing are a direct result of having been in close (a bit too close) proximity with the cold cut, *Headcheese, at her beloved parent’s Delicatessen (RIP). Schatzie is a Vegetarian, and the creator of the only “Headcheese" Art Gallery in the world.

When Schatzie is not making fun of Headcheese, she has fun swing dancin', pumpkin carvin', pirate chasin', donut eatin' and uke playin' in ‘Schatzie’s Tropical Snoball Lounge’.

*Headcheese /ˈhed.tʃiːz : A cold cut that originated in Europe. Headcheese is not a dairy cheese. There is no cheese involved.