When it comes to donuts, Indy is a city divided. There are die-hard Taylor’s Bakery fans, Boyden’s Bakery devotees, and east coast transplants who will only eat Dunkin’ Donuts. And don’t forget about Long’s Bakery, whose donuts have an almost religious following. But the folks at General American Donut Company hope to unite the Circle City with their creative take on breakfast goodies.
General American Donut Company is Indianapolis’s first craft donut shop. Their menu features inventive varieties like Peanut Butter & Jelly and Crème Brulee, classic flavors like the Raised Glazed, and The Bennie—GADCo’s version of the “cronut.” But the initial draw for me was the Stumptown Coffee. This rich, flavorful java hails from Portland, Oregon and tastes great as brewed coffee, espresso, or bottled as a “Cold Brew.” The cup I drank had a rich, smooth taste that did not disappoint.
I may have come for the coffee, but I quickly realized that the donuts were worth sticking around for. I wasn’t alone—on their opening day, the line to reach the glass bakery case stretched out the door. Patrons who braved the almost hour-long line were rewarded with warm, melt-in-your-mouth treats. I ordered a Salted Caramel donut, a S’mores donut, and a vanilla Bennie. With a medium coffee, my total came to just under $10. While this seemed a little steep for three donuts, these pastries were substantial and much larger than most donuts—I only ended up eating about half of each one, leaving me with a terrific late-night snack.
The S’mores variety had a cake donut base filled with homemade marshmallow fluff and topped with a thick chocolate icing and a graham cracker. Talk about decadence! The Bennie had buttery, flaky croissant layers but was glazed like a donut. My absolute favorite was the Salted Caramel. This yeast donut was topped with subtle caramel icing and beautiful flaked sea salt. I go gaga over anything salted caramel, but this was absolute perfection. The caramel had a rich flavor, but it didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the donut.
If there is an area where General American Donut Company missed the mark, it was in décor and ambiance. The bakery is located in what appears to be an old garage that has been painted a bright white inside. The furniture is a hodgepodge of old tables and chairs, many of which looked rickety and uncomfortable. The walls were scantily decorated with kitschy Americana deer. I normally love this shabby chic style, but if you’re going to do it, you really have to commit. A handful of paintings from your grandmother’s basement and a deer statue don’t cut it. I couldn’t see myself cozying up here to study with a cup of coffee.
What General American Donut Company lacks in atmosphere it makes up for with an outstanding product. Unlike craft donuts I’ve had in other cities, these didn’t feel gimmicky or as if the donuts themselves took a backseat to crazy flavors. GADCo got basic donuts just right, then dressed them with innovative but crowd-pleasing toppings and fillings. Indianapolis may just have a new favorite donut.
General American Donut Company
827 S. East Street