#88: Baker Ben’s Donuts, Manley Donuts & Foothills Donuts

The big donut post!  I didn’t really feel like I could really go on for an entire post about each one so I decided to knock them all out in one shot.  This was actually easier than I anticipated because there are only 3 dedicated donut shops in Roseville (unless I’m missing a new one, but I don’t think so).  There was a fourth, Mr Donut at Cirby and Vernon, but it seems to have gone out of business.

I’ve long been of the opinion that there are only 3 kinds of donut shops:

  1. Krispy Kreme (see my next photo post for Roseville’s Kirspy Kreme)
  2. Gourmet Donuts shops (Such as Doughbot Donuts in downtown Sacramento)
  3. Everything else

Krispy Kreme is, well, Krispy Kreme.  They’re delicious and consistent, and I practically lived off their original glazed while going to school.  There’s something very special about getting one of them right off the line when they’re making them fresh.  I’ve only had Doughbot once.  I found “The Dude” (a White Russian Bavarian creme-filled donut with a vodka-Kahlua glaze & sprinkled with ground coffee) to be decent, but it just didn’t do much for me given the insane online hype that surrounded the shop when it opened, so I haven’t felt compelled to go back.  Finally there is the third kind, which pretty much every other donut shop falls into.  This is the kind donut you’ll find in an unmarked, pink box that someone brought into the office.  They all generally carry the same kinds and I would be hard pressed to identify the shop unless the name was stamped on the box somewhere.

I figured the best way to go about this would be to simply get the same donut at each place and compare them side by side.  One of my longtime favorites is Old Fashioned Glazed, so that’s what I went with.

My first stop was at Baker Ben’s Donuts at the corner of Folsom and Douglas, behind Roseville Square.  This shop is open 24 hours and I often see at least one person sitting and reading a paper inside at just about any hour when I drive past it.  On this Saturday morning at about 10am there was a steady stream of customers coming and going when I arrived.  Their display was large and full of all kinds of donuts.  The woman running the front was shorter than the display case and didn’t actually see me right away but was all smiles and laughs when she finally did.  I ordered my 80¢ donut and was on my way.

ETR Donuts 1 2012-09-08 10-04-59

ETR Donuts 2 2012-09-08 10-10-38

ETR Donuts 3 2012-09-08 10-07-26

ETR Donuts 4 2012-09-08 10-07-40

ETR Donuts 5 2012-09-08 10-07-43

Next I hit Manley Donuts at Sunrise and Cirby.  This one is tucked into the L-shaped shopping center across from Bel Air.  They are open M-F 4:30-3 and Sat-Sun 5-2.  This was the first time I’ve been here.  It’s a smaller shop than Baker Ben’s but still has some seating toward the back of the narrow space.  They had a much smaller offering and I got the very last old fashioned glazed.  The woman working here wasn’t quite as smiley as the one at Baker Ben’s but was pleasant enough for the quick transaction.  Another 80¢ and I was off the the final one.

ETR Donuts 6 2012-09-08 10-17-57

ETR Donuts 7 2012-09-08 10-20-07

Foothills Donuts is at the far north end of the shopping center at Foothills and Main/Baseline.  The sign on the window says the open daily at 4:30, so I’m not sure if they have a set closing time or if they simply close when they’re done making donuts and have sold the last of them.  A woman sitting by the window said to me when I entered that she saw me taking my photo outside and asked if I was with the paper.  We chatted for a moment and I told her about Eating Through Roseville.  She then recalled seeing the segment on KOVR.  She explained my mission a bit to the owner while I was rung up, 85¢ for this one.  The owner here was very nice.  I noticed a maple bar (my 2nd choice when old fashioned glazed isn’t available) with a piece of bacon set into the glaze on the top shelf of the display.  I think I will come back and check that out sometime.

ETR Donuts 8 2012-09-08 10-32-07

ETR Donuts 9 2012-09-08 10-36-13

Once home with my three donuts I laid them out and printed labels to help identify them throughout the tasting and for this post.  At first glance they were all about the same visually.  The Foothills donut looked like it may have had just slightly less glaze than the others, but not by much.  The Manley donut had a little pocket formation in the center ring that had a nice little pool of it.  I poured myself a wine glass of milk (because why not?) and got to work.

ETR Donuts 10 2012-09-08 10-50-56

ETR Donuts 11 2012-09-08 10-56-48

ETR Donuts 18 2012-09-08 11-06-49

ETR Donuts 14 2012-09-08 11-01-51

ETR Donuts 15 2012-09-08 11-00-52

ETR Donuts 13 2012-09-08 11-01-44

ETR Donuts 16 2012-09-08 11-00-58

ETR Donuts 12 2012-09-08 11-01-36

ETR Donuts 17 2012-09-08 11-01-06

I wish I could go on about the differences between each one, but to be honest I found no difference at all.  This was expected though.  Of note, I thought I detected a trace hint of lemon in the Manley donut.  I can’t be sure if that was actually there or if I was trying too hard to find something unique about one, so that may have been completely in my head.  The fact is if you put these three in front of me without the labels I would never be able to tell you which one came from where, I’d be completely guessing.  They were all good, not too soft and doughy, not too firm or crunchy at the edges.  Despite the slight difference in appearance of the glaze on the Foothills one, it tasted the same as the others.

ETR Donuts 19 2012-09-08 11-12-22

ETR Donuts 20 2012-09-08 11-12-29

ETR Donuts 21 2012-09-08 11-12-42

Given Baker Ben’s hours and that it’s closest to me I will probably continue to frequent it the most, not that I go out for donuts very often.  I am definitely curious about that maple-bacon bar at Foothills.  It’s possible that another donut would have shown clearer differences in each shop.  Of the 4-6 types I tend to choose from when offered a box, I never see much, if any, variation.  It mostly comes down to location I think, unless you like to sit in the shop and have a coffee with your donut, in which case there’s much more to consider.  I can’t say that I’ve ever really been that type customer.

ETR Donuts 22 2012-09-08 11-15-43

ETR Donuts 23 2012-09-08 11-15-53

ETR Donuts 24 2012-09-08 11-16-04

PS: The resulting sugar crash left me with a nice afternoon nap.  It was a very lazy Saturday spent with the cats on the couch. I work hard for the good people of Roseville.

Foothills Donuts

Manley Donuts

Baker Ben’s Donuts

4 thoughts on “#88: Baker Ben’s Donuts, Manley Donuts & Foothills Donuts

  1. I suppose the three bags were arranged in the same order that the emerging donuts were arranged? One of them is all about freshness, the other about environmental conscience (though I thought you weren’t supposed to recycle greasy things) and then the other takes a zen approach. I loved the elitist milk and the leftover donut holes. Huh, the spell check doesn’t like the singular form of donut.

    1. Yeah, I took great care even in my car to make sure I didn’t get them out of order. I was fighting the spell check too, it wants you to spell it doughnut, but both seem to be accepted spellings (I checked).

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