Old-time doughnut shop in Dallas' Oak Cliff may take break in December
UPDATE 11/30/2021: Lone Star CEO Marcus Johnson emailed to say that some of the information in the original version of this story was incorrect. The story has been updated; apologies for the error.
Lone Star Donuts, a Dallas doughnut shop that's been around for more than 70 years, may be closing its shop at 1727 N. Beckley Ave. for a few weeks at the end of the year, for repairs and maintenance.
Its parent organization, Lone Star Consolidated Foods, will continue making baked goods including bread, biscuits, doughnuts, and pastries, for chains like Walmart and Sam's Club.
"The shop might be closed after Christmas or New Year's, when the traffic dies down," Johnson says.
But no more driving up for doughnuts baked that day, as well as the breakfast burritos, coffee, signature breakfast "puffs," and popcorn which the storefront sold Tuesdays-Saturdays from 7 am-2 pm.
Lone Star Donut's roots date back to 1950 but the shop has been at its current location since 1963. The company is credited with introducing the first automated doughnut production line to Dallas where you could see the doughnuts being made — a convention since popularized by Krispy Kreme.
By the '80s, they'd evolved to become Lone Star Consolidated Foods, Inc., with a wholesale operation that surpassed the doughnut shop, baking other goods such as cinnamon rolls and Danish for food service, supermarkets, restaurants, and other outlets.
By contemporary foodie standards, its doughnuts weren't fancy or varied. They had four basic options: plain, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or chocolate-covered, either in cake doughnut or yeast/raised, plus an apple fritter, jelly stix, and really, that was about it, very old-school.
In March 2020, oblivious to the looming spectre of the pandemic, they were still optimistically posting their full menu of doughnuts and goods.
But by November 2020, they'd cut back on hours and also stopped making fresh doughnuts, winnowing down to selling imperfect and overrun items from their production facility such as sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, and baby cakes.
At the time, they said hoped to be back to offering their traditional products "once the effects of the pandemic have passed."
Much of the shop's mystique resides in its nostalgic value, from its prototypical '50s architecture to its classic Lone Star Donut retro sign, part of a long tradition of iconic doughnut shop signs — a reminder of a time and place that are long gone.
Johnson says that for now they're not reviving the doughnut production, although they're not ruling it out entirely.
"The shop is what brought us here, and we want to observe a faithfulness to our legacy," he says. "But it's not like when my father started in 1962. Before the pandemic, even when we were going full bore, the shop accounted for only 1 percent of our total revenue. We're waiting to see how much we bring back."