As a public service to all the visitors who are being sent here by Google searches (surely you didn’t really think old-fashioned Spalding’s Bakery would have a website), I’ll provide the important information before my babble. Spalding’s new location is on Winchester Road, across from the peanut butter factory, near McDonald’s. Store hours are 6:30-noon Weds-Sunday.
Yesterday, I heard a rumor at work that the long awaited resurrection of Spalding’s was finally complete. So I made a detour on my way to work this morning to confirm it. When I arrived about 7:00 AM, the crowd outside the store looked like this. The gentleman directing traffic (who turned out to be the architect who designed the building) was informing people that the wait would be about an hour.
If you’re wondering whether I was crazy enough to wait an hour for doughnuts, you’ve obviously never had Spalding’s. Anybody who has tasted these delicacies knows there’s only one answer to that question.
While waiting in line, the architect was a source of useful information (like the business hours listed above) and interesting trivia. He told us that when the previous owners of the property were approached about a possible sale, they refused and insisted that the property was absolutely not for sale. They changed their tune when they heard the prospective purchaser was Spalding’s Bakery.
He also promised us that enough doughnuts would be produced to keep the store open for the posted hours, instead of just selling until they ran out as they used to do. Apparently, their previous daily production was 350 dozen, and when those were gone, they closed their doors. If that sounds like a small number, remember we’re not talking about some trashy Krispy Kreme assembly line cranking out mass-produced vending-machine fodder. Each Spalding’s doughnut is a hand-crafted masterpiece. A box of them is like snowflakes; no two are identical.
While he was apparently correct about their intention to make as many doughnuts as necessary to feed the masses, he was wildly optimistic about their ability to make them fast enough to deal with that crowd in an hour. It was an hour and a half before I was even close enough to gaze wistfully in the window. Finally, shortly after 9:00, about 2 hours after arrival, I had actually crossed the threshold into the building.
Just as the building’s exterior is a reasonable replication of the old building, the interior layout is comfortably familiar. Some of the furnishings from the old store are still in use, including the display cases and counter with the antique, but still functional, cash register. While waiting in line, the woman in front of me asked if I knew whether they would accept debit cards. I laughed and said it didn’t look like they had upgraded the cash register with a swipe reader. And sure enough, their effort to faithfully recreate as much of the old environment as possible extended to their sales policy: still cash only.
The back room where the magic takes place looks a little more modern, but still houses the same old-fashioned process and not some mechanical monstrosity like a Krispy Kreme factory, stamping out identical tasteless things that don’t even deserve to be called doughnuts.
(I apologize for the quality of the photographs here. I forgot to take a real camera, so I had to take the pictures with my cell phone).
Around 9:30, Nirvana was almost within site. There were only about four other customers between me and the counter. And they ran out.
No, that’s not the end of the story. The architect’s promise was true. They weren’t closing; they were still making doughnuts, just not as fast as they were selling them. It would be about another 30 minutes.
Even for Spalding’s, if I’d been told when I first arrived that it would be a 3-hour wait, I might have had second thoughts. But at this point, having waited two and a half hours, I wasn’t giving up.
Finally, about 10:00, I left the store, clutching my box of still-warm doughnuts, which made me extremely popular when I finally arrived at work. There were a lot of Spalding’s lovers who had been suffering withdrawal for the last year. And there was one person who had never had one before. It’s always interesting to see a first-timer’s reaction to any food or drink that has such an addictive appeal to so many. Frequently the fanatics look shocked as the virgin takes a bite, or a sip, and shrugs and says “eh.. not bad”. Quite honestly, I’ve never seen that reaction to a Spalding’s doughnut; it’s always something like today’s first-timer, who enthusiastically said “Best dougnut I’ve ever had!”