In 2004, 78 year old owner James Spalding was attacked in the shop and pistol-whipped when he fought back against the brigands. The family subsequently shuttered the business as the community went into full revolt at the notion of losing this treasure.
At that point the sweet, old shop had been in business for 75 years and the city was not going to let them go quietly into the night.
A scant 15 months passed and Spalding was back in the game on nearby Winchester Road in an old red brick building that recalls their former haunt.
And the donuts are as good as ever.
It’s June of this year and I’m standing in the blacktop parking lot of Spalding’s Bakery. The sun is barely up when I crack into a white pasteboard box and wrestle a yeasty, crunchy donut into my mouth.
It’s the best donut I’ve ever eaten, and I do not arrive at this conclusion easily.I’ve sampled the offerings of the queens of the trade from Duchess Bakery in Cullman, Alabama to Clovertop Bakery (RIP) in Corbin, Kentucky to Mrs Johnson’s in Austin, Texas. All are world-beaters but there can be only one ‘best I’ve ever had’ and this is it.
But, as is the nature of things, on my next visit the very next day the donut is dismal. One of the worst I’ve ever eaten. It’s cold and spongy and very well tastes as though it could be a day-old masquerading as fresh.
Such is the nature of hot fat, yeast and flour. One day a cook may use these simple elements to conjure the finest creation they’ve ever wrought, the next day the gris-gris is just not there and the effort flat-lines into dissolution.
The Spalding family have a long and rich history of producing superb donuts in Fayette County, Kentucky. They got their start in 1929 when family patriarch BJ began selling his creations out of the family home on Rand Avenue. After five years of operation, Mr Spalding moved into an old (c. 1880) saloon at North Limestone and 6th Street.
James Spalding was only eight years of age when his father Bowman James moved his family into the building where the family would earn their living for the next 70 years.
Today it’s Mr. Spalding’s niece Martha who runs the show.
And one summer morning they made the finest donut I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
760 Winchester Rd
Hours of operation