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Glazed and confused: answers to our burning questions about the glorious, sugary rings, and DFW's doughnut obsession

Posted 8:38am on Wednesday, May. 30, 2012

Why all the doughnut fuss?

Two reasons. First, June 1 is National Donut Day, which is the first Friday of June every year. The Salvation Army created the original Donut Day to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers in World War I. According to The Donut Book (by Sally Levitt Steinberg, whose grandfather invented the doughnut machine), Salvation Army women were on a morale-boosting visit to soldiers when the soldiers' nostalgia for home cooking led to a chant of "We want doughnuts." The women improvised a doughnut cafe, using garbage pails filled with oil, a wine bottle for a rolling pin, and a 7-pound shell with a 1-pound shell inside to make the holes.

Second, we're sorta fascinated with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman diving into the doughnut hole by entering into a limited partnership with Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' currently has 19 North Texas stores, but the agreement calls for an expansion to up to 50 stores during the next five years.

Wait -- why the heck are Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman getting involved with doughnuts?

Jones has had a longtime friendship with Dunkin' CEO Nigel Travis, who is the former CEO of Papa John's pizza and former president of Blockbuster video in Dallas. Jones is a joint owner of dozens of Texas Papa John's, which became the Cowboys' official pizza. In 2009, Jones made Dunkin' the official coffee of the Cowboys, not long after Travis became Dunkin' CEO.

Aikman is a board member of the Wingstop chain and serves with Jon Luther, who is also chairman of Dunkin' Donuts parent Dunkin' Brands. "He and I got to talking about Dunkin's interest in getting a bigger footprint west," Aikman said.

How many doughnut shops are there in DFW?

Good question. We went old school (sorta) and used the Yellow Pages -- at www.yp.com -- and got 500 hits for Fort Worth alone, and nearly that many for Dallas. We're pretty sure there aren't that many. We tried a Census Bureau search and some other methods, but the results are inconclusive. Suffice to say, there are a lot.

Does DFW have the most doughnut shops per capita in the U.S.?

According to the Providence, R.I., Business News, we're not even in the top 10 as of 2010. The PBN reported that a study by market-research firm NPD Group found that the Providence metro area has 23.5 doughnut shops per 100,000 people. Boston was second with 20.4 per 100,000 .

In 2005, Men's Fitness magazine, in its "Fattest Cities in America" list, reported that Fort Worth had the most doughnut shops per capita of any city in America. But Men's Fitness does not say how it arrived at that conclusion.

What's with the Korean-doughnut shop connection?

Although not all mom-and-pop doughnut shops in DFW are Korean-American or otherwise Asian-American-owned, many are. Korean immigrants have helped one another find their way into the business, where the shops are relatively inexpensive to start up and run, the owners don't have to answer to other people, and any language barrier is usually transcended by the familiarity of the products.

Are there any doughnut food trucks in DFW?

Not yet, but DFW.com content partner DFW Food Truck Foodie tells us that Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas is looking into the possibility. The closest one we know of is Austin's Gourdoughs, which boasts "Big. Fat. Donuts." in such flavors as the Baby Rattler -- a $4.50 doughnut covered in fudge icing, fudge Oreos and a gummi rattlesnake. It's at 1503 S. First St., Austin, and we've run into major crowds there.

Is it spelled "donut" or "doughnut?"

Doughnut is the original spelling and also The Associated Press style, but "donut" just gets to the point and is what most shops use. Also, there is no "ugh" in "donut."

This report includes material from the DFW.com archives.

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