Donut Hut Cafe

 Savory and sweet—with a pinch of nostalgia.

October 2010

It was my first weekend in Colorado, and I was rummaging the greater Denver area for estate sales to help furnish my new home. I’d already hit Arvada and Highlands Ranch and was about to try my luck in Littleton. As I drove along Santa Fe Drive, my eyes scanned exits. But my boyfriend’s eyes were trained on something else: a distant doughnut sign. A few minutes later we pulled into the Donut Hut Cafe parking lot.

It wasn’t quite noon, and the place was completely empty. A lone tray held a hodgepodge of sugary treats. The friendly employee was quick to apologize for the meager offerings and explained that the swim team had swooped in at 6 a.m. and cleaned them out.

We chose a standard glazed and, from the menu board (breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and coffees) above the counter, ordered an egg, potato, and chorizo breakfast burrito with a side of green chile. Thanks to the doughnut melting on my tongue and the way the burrito’s cheddar and Monterey Jack enveloped the contents like a warm blanket, I knew I’d be back.

The next weekend I arrived around 9 a.m. (the place opens at 4:30 in the morning) and had a full spread to choose from. Sprinkled, filled, iced, crumble-coated, glazed…it was a sugar smorgasbord. I was going to need a big box.

Brad Harding, an owner of the 35-year-old shop, took my order. Temptation and anticipation pushed away any restraint, and I added another glazed for good measure, plus another breakfast burrito and an iced mocha. Diet be damned.

I half considered taking my loot—a burrito with green chile, an apple fritter, three cake doughnuts, a chocolate-chip muffin, and the god-sent glazed—to my car to avoid embarrassment. But looking around at the other customers, all in some state of doughnut rhapsody, I knew I was in good company.

I headed for a booth and began with the big-enough-for-two apple fritter. Each bite alternated between the sweet and homey taste of fried apples and the savory chewiness of raised dough—and when I was lucky, I got both. When the sugar began to overwhelm my taste buds, I peeled back the foil on my breakfast burrito (rolled with the perfect ratio of egg to potato to cheese to tortilla) and dipped into the side of zesty green chile. Next up, the cinnamon crumble pecan-crusted cake doughnut. Each dense bite unraveled cinnamon-sugar delight. After that, I gave in, packed up my box, and headed home with snacks for later.

Donut Hut Cafe 5816 S. Lowell Blvd., Littleton, 303-798-6296