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GOOD EATS: After 30 years, Jolly Pirate has perfected the donut

Mar. 19, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- As simple as they may seem to be, donuts are subject to a regional dispute.

Various chain shops dominate in particular areas of the country. In Huntington, one of the favorites is Jolly Pirate Donuts, a small chain of about 15 stores based out of Columbus, Ohio. Their reputation for friendly service and quality snacks has made them a favorite part of many morning routines in Huntington.

George Alexandropoulos knows a few things about donuts. For more than 30 years, he has owned and operated Jolly Pirate Donuts in Huntington. Few things have changed about the donut shops over the years. Machines serving iced coffee and cappuccino have been added behind the counter, and a few extra pastries are now on the menu. Other than that, almost everything remains the same.

An assortment of about 24 French crullers, yeast donuts and cake donuts are still made fresh in the back of each store twice a day. Each type of donut is made from scratch.

"Making donuts properly isn't something you can just learn in a day," Alexandropoulos said. "All donuts are difficult to make if you don't know what you are doing. It can take four or five weeks to learn how to make them properly. Our donuts are nice and crisp because we've had years of experience perfecting them. It takes 31/2 hours to make a batch of yeast donuts. We try to keep the building at 69 degrees every day. If it becomes too hot or too cold, they dry out faster."

While donuts are the main item, there are some other specialties on the menu.

"In addition to donuts, we also have an assortment of pastries including eclairs that we call Bismarks (or Long Johns)," he said. "We also have cookies and baklava now. Not a lot has changed. Sometimes we have seasonal items like donuts with green frosting and sprinkles for St. Patrick's Day, but the donuts are basically the same recipe as when we first started. We don't see any reason to change our recipes now."

Most donuts cost 81 cents each, while a dozen cost $6.29. Each Tuesday afternoon, customers can order a special baker's dozen for $5.29.

The shop is also famous for serving quality coffee at a reasonable price. A special blend of coffee beans is made and prepared for the store.

"We've used the same beans from the same supplier with the same taste for 30 years now," said Alexandropoulos. "They specifically roast the beans to our liking. You won't find coffee like ours anywhere else."

Jolly Pirate Donuts is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cash and all major credit/debit cards are accepted. Customers wanting to order in bulk for special occasions should call 24 hours ahead of time. A discount is available for really large orders.

For more information, call the 5th Avenue location at 304-522-7772 or the Route 60 location at 304-736-6885.



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