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In addition to an itinerary of events, the Southern Foodways Alliance provided us with a list of local places recommended for excellent dining. One place definitely caught our eye, The Donut Shoppe across the river from Florence in Muscle Shoals.
The Donut Shoppe is in a nondescript building on the main highway through Muscle Shoals. A donut high atop a pole announces the presence of the shop. A sign below announces that the shop opens at 4 A.M. Monday through Saturday. Deciding that an early start was just what we needed, albeit not as early as Regina and her crew, the Squad headed over for donuts before our breakfast reception at Billy Reid‘s.
The most noticeable difference about The Donut Shoppe is that they have a drive-through window. I discovered this fact as I started to pull into the drive next to the shop only to find myself quickly losing a game of chicken with a very large truck.
I personally can’t imagine using the drive-through at a donut shop. The whole point is to go in and savor all the choices and breathe in some of that wonderful donut aroma. And later, after eating your donuts, the joy is in wondering how the choices you didn’t make would have been.
Well, before my donut diverges in a yellow wood, let’s talk about the donuts. The next noticeable difference is the filling dispensers waiting behind the counter. Their donuts are filled right when you order them. The donuts don’t sit there getting gummy. The filling doesn’t lose its freshness. The cake donuts were only fair (We are spoiled by Gibson’s.), but the yeast donuts were perhaps the best we have ever had.
When you walk into a place with a camera the size of a small child, you’re going to attract attention. When asked, we fessed up to writing a food blog. One of the regulars who was there at the time predicted a rather trite “good donuts, colorful local characters” piece. Admittedly, it would be easy to do that. After all, the folks were interesting, and the donuts were damn fine.
I think everyone appreciates the importance of a good hangout. Before I had the Squad, I had my favorite places. Part of me not being able to understand the drive-through is not being able to understand how someone would pass up even a few minutes of that homey feel. Of course the folks at the drive-through have their homey feel somewhere else. They are on their way to deer camp or the fishing hole or just the office. They are on their way to their home or their home away from home. As travelers, we especially appreciate that feeling of home.
At the risk of being trite, The Donut Shoppe is a great place with great people and great donuts. If you’re at home or away from home in the Shoals, check it out. Your waistline (like mine) may not need the donuts, but everyone needs the touch of home.
The Donut Shoppe
1705 Woodward Ave
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661