Munster, Indiana –
Today, for the uninitiated, is National Donut Day, and what better way to celebrate this most special of holidays than by driving past your Tim Hortons and your Dunkin’ or your Krispy Kreme and stopping by your local donut shop. Great Lakes area donut shops are perhaps the last best vestige of that small town sensibility. There are more of them around than you realize, and once you start to notice them you’ll see them everywhere. Tucked just off the highway on Calumet Ave in Munster, Indiana is perhaps the perfect example of what a donut shop should be – Munster Donuts.
Opened in 1969 and largely unchanged since, the original owner Don Colman, who still works at the shop, sold the business in 2000 to sister employees-turned-co-owners Elaine Butynski and Jo Ellen Aleksandrovich. A mere four years later, Dunkin’ Donuts opened up across the street in an effort to put this small family run operation out of business. That Dunkin’ location is now closed, while Munster Donuts is still going strong. Score one for the little guy.
All of the donuts are made fresh, on site and rarely last more than a few hours. They’ve had to modify their practices somewhat during the pandemic, asking their customers to call orders in from their car to be promptly delivered while you wait in the parking lot. This hasn’t slowed business down in the slightest, though part of the ideal experience is going in and sitting at the counter to enjoy an exceptional donut and a decent cup of coffee for just a few bucks.
So, today or this weekend, take a moment to stop in to your local donut shop. They are an important, if overlooked, part of the culinary fabric of our area and lightyears better than anything you’d find in those major chains. And if you’re lucky enough to meet Elaine or Jo Ellen the next time you’re in Munster, tell them that we said hello.