May 23, 2017
As I walked into Johnny’s Donuts, my eyes were immediately drawn to the enticing array of fluffy, colorful pastries lined up behind a jail of glass. Seemingly drawn by a magnet, I drifted over to the display to gawk at the wondrous creations behind.
“What can I get you today!” a perky voice asked from behind the counter. This voice that broke my deep concentration belonged to a bubbly young woman behind the counter named Kelsey.
Kelsey has been working as the store manager at Johnny’s Donuts San Rafael for six months and seemed to enjoy the job more than anything. She spoke with so much passion, I felt as though she were a proud parent showing off her beloved children when describing the donuts; “We are very proud of our products. It’s all about the love and quality we put into everything.” Her smiling cherubic face, infectiously sing-songy voice, and mountains of sprinkled goodness at her fingertips, Kelsea looked as though she dropped straight down from bakery heaven.
Johnny’s Donuts is definitely no Dunkin’ Donuts, as their organic, freshly-baked, artisanal-flavored donuts put any other sugar-glazed carb wafer to shame. Kelsey gushed on about the highlights of the business, with a passion for pastries that was augmented by her cupcake hand-tattoo.
“The fact that our bakery portion is so open, everyone can see what we are doing. If we wanted to have a secret, we couldn’t. Everything we use is organic and locally sourced. For example, all of our fruit glazes on top of our donuts are made of fruit; there are no food dyes, it’s all natural fruit coloring.”
Continuing with the Marin trends of organic everything and local ingredients, the quality of Johnny’s food is difficult to beat. However, according to Kelsea, the family-oriented atmosphere and inclusive storefront area have been most pivotal in its success as a company.
“It’s a tie between the donuts and the people. We have a very solid crew here; everybody who is here wants to be here. Everyone has a positive attitude, is super welcoming of others, the staff, and new customers, which is rare.”
Becoming an iconic part of San Rafael, Johnny’s is known as the premier place to grab a bite to eat before breakfast, even if their products are strictly limited to coffee and pastries. However, the increasing popularity of the business may incite a menu expansion: “the most savory thing we have is a bacon maple bar on the weekends!”
I am by no means a donut connoisseur, but when tasting one of these ooey-gooey maple bars, a complimentary gift from the staff, I could definitely tell that their food lives up to the hype. Equally as sweet as any of these donuts, employees such as Kelsea are prime examples of how Johnny’s really does go above and beyond to provide the best service for their customers.
Staff Food Recommendation:
With a selection so extensive, the question of ‘what is your favorite donut?’ is not a simple ask. Kelsea graciously explained to me that Johnny’s has a rotating menu, where on the weekends they serve their specialty items and limited edition flavors. Since they make each donut daily, flavor availability and donut ‘type’ changes constantly, making it virtually impossible to just pick one favorite; it just breaks the laws of pastry-science.
“On the weekend we have special cake donuts, and my favorite cake donut is probably the strawberry. During the weekdays, our apple fritters are also delicious.”