Krispy Kreme's "Hot Now" sign is hard to resist. There's an undeniable appeal to watching the donuts go through the rising, frying and glazing process, then biting into one still warm from the fryer.
But really, unless they're hot, I'm not that wild about Krispy Kreme donuts. To me, they taste too heavily of oil and sugar, with the more subtle flavors of yeast and other ingredients overwhelmed by the sweetness.
That's why I've been happy to see a flurry of new donut-shop openings in the past year in Birmingham. Of course, the opening earlier this year of the Birmingham area's first Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Pelham was widely publicized. The local franchise owners have said they are looking to open as many as 21 locations in the next eight years. Birmingham News columnist John Archibald even wrote about "dueling donuts."
But wait, there are other choices besides these two big chains! Shipley's donuts has been in Hoover for ages, not far from the big shiny Krispy Kreme factory. It's a chain, but not a giant one like KK or DD.
And there are new entrants to the market, too.
There's Donut Joe's in Pelham. I haven't been there, but Urbanspoon.com has rave reviews about it.
Pop Donuts is a new place in Hoover; not sure whether it's related to Pop's Donuts in Center Point.
But our favorite recent discovery is Dyar's Daylight Donuts in the Hoover/Inverness area. Daylight is a franchise chain that dates back to the '50s in Oklahoma, but the Birmingham location has been open less than a year. What really stood out were the chocolate cake donuts. These truly tasted like a cross between a good chocolate cake and a donut -- not too sweet, great chocolate flavor, moist but not greasy. Looking forward to trying the "old fashioned" and other flavors.
Second Dunkin' Donuts in the works for downtown: