Paradise is in the details | Rock Candy

Monday, July 5, 2010

Paradise is in the details

Posted By on Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 9:26 AM

ITS THE TEXTURE:  That makes Paradise Donuts a standout
  • IT'S THE TEXTURE: That makes Paradise Donuts a standout
By request, another week's worth of breakfast suggestions around Arkansas, on the way. We're starting this morning with Paradise Donuts.

Russellville might have another doughnut shop squirreled away somewhere, but this is the only one that I know about or care to know about. I became acquainted with their product first not at their store but on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. On Monday mornings when I was school (back when rocks were soft and dinosaurs roamed the Earth), there would be a doughnut delivery to Chambers Cafeteria — and if you got out of bed and over there before 7am chances were you could score a few of those golden rings of goodness and a cuppa joe before class.

It’s not like Paradise is new, then. In fact, it dates back further than that. Alan Neumeier’s dad owned several of the Winchell’s doughnut shops out in California. He came to Arkansas decades ago to run the original Paradise donuts in Paris. The eatery moved to Russellville, and when his dad passed in the early 90s Alan took over. His family’s been raking in the dough as it were for decades.

The red brick building that sides right up to Arkansas Street (Highway 7) has a glass front that looks out over traffic. You enter from the side after parking there or next to the car lot right across 3rd Street. Inside there’s a counter on the right, tables on the left and if you get there early enough in the morning a bunch of guys that meet to shoot the bull.

I went by a few weeks ago on a trip up to Mount Magazine. The shop was deserted by te time I got there (around 10am) but there was still a decent selection of doughnuts and pastries available for me to choose from. I picked out a couple from behind the counter, paired them with a chocolate milk and had a seat.

The doughnut itself is not your garden variety fried dough product. These yeasty rolls are substantial and thick, made fluffy in the cooking process and dunked in glaze for just the right amount of sweetness. They come out a very golden yellow, not brown as you might find some places, and they’re excellent for soaking up a little coffee. Plain doughnuts rin 65 cents each.

I also had a Bow Tie, an almost ridiculously long loop of doughnut dough tied like a bow, deep fried and covered in chocolate ($1.15). It‘s a little more than twice the size of a doughnut, but made from the same dough. Other offerings include Long Johns, Cinnamon Rolls, Nut Rolls, fills and filled bars, fritters and cake doughnuts. Paradise also offers meat-filled rolls like their Sausage Roll.

It was good to get back by and have a quick breakfast, even though I couldn’t stay long. And those doughnuts haven’t changed a bit since my college days.

Here’s the catch — you have to go early. Paradise opens at 6am and closes at noon or when they’re out of doughnuts, period. If they make it past 10am without selling out, they’ll put a sandwich board out front advertizing half-price doughnuts. There are no day-olds at Paradise Donuts, ever.

Get your sugar rush on. It’s going to be a big, busy day. You’ll find Paradise Donuts at the corner of 3rd and Arkansas in Russellville. If you’re getting a big order or just want your dozen packed and ready when you get there, you can call (479) 968-6225.

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