Donut Watch: Strawberry Donut from Donut Man

Donut Man in Glendora — Los Angeles Explorers Guild

Donut Watch: Strawberry Donut from Donut Man

In Claremont, along Historic Route 66, you’ll find The Donut Man, home of the city-famous Strawberry Donut.

The Donut Man

The Donut Man is a small, unassuming shop on a quiet stretch of Route 66, right in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains. If you’re not paying attention, it would be easy to pass it by. But that would be a mistake, because this tiny shop with its retro 70s signage offers one of the best donuts in Los Angeles — the famous Strawberry Donut.

The Donut Man shop on Route 66 in Claremont. Photo from the author’s collection.

Jim Nakano, the shop’s owner, has been slinging donuts from this compact store along Route 66 in Glendora since 1972. For the first eight years, the shop was part of the Foster’s Donuts family, but Jim went solo in 1980. According to legend, shortly after Jim had decided to go it alone, he was recognized by a young child who said, “Look! It’s the Donut Man!”

The shop has been known as The Donut Man ever since.

The Strawberry Donut

Glendora is rich with strawberry farms. As the story goes, one day a local strawberry grower was picking up a few donuts. Being the conversational sort, he mentioned he had a bumper crop of strawberries that year. He thought that maybe Jim could figure out a way to use all those excess strawberries in a donut.

So he did. After a little experimentation to get the sweetness just right, Jim hit upon the perfect formula. The Strawberry Donut was a runaway hit from the day it was introduced.

When it comes to strawberries, The Donut Man’s not kidding around. This thing is loaded with fresh strawberries.

Fresh Strawberry Donuts in the window of The Donut Man. Photo from the author’s collection.

It’s packed with so many strawberries (an excess, one might say), it’s a challenge to eat.

The only problem with the Strawberry Donut is that it’s a seasonal item. It shows up around February when the strawberry harvest begins. But when that’s done, the Strawberry Donut is gone until the next year. But The Donut Man also makes a Peach Donut in a style similar to the Strawberry Donut. And, of course, the shop makes all the usual donut varieties, including the Tiger Tail, a 12-inch braided donut with chocolate and cinnamon.

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The Donut Man in Glendora is open 24 hours a day. The shop is small, so there’s no indoor seating. However, there is a drive-thru window so you don’t even need to leave your car to fill up on donuts.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to travel along the 210 East out to Glendora, you’re in luck. Donut Man has a spot in Downtown’s Grand Central Market. But by the time you cut through downtown traffic and find parking, getting out to Glendora may be faster.

Donut Man

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Tom Fassbender is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. When not exploring Los Angeles, he’s been known to enjoy a cup of coffee or two. You can find him at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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