Glazed Doughnuts & Cafe is no ordinary doughnut shop, in ways both obvious and less so. Most obvious is that, unlike other doughnut shops, this newly minted mini-chain with branches in Arlington and Grand Prairie serves doughnuts all day, with an additional menu of sandwiches, coffee and treats.
Glazed is capitalizing on the rising fortunes of doughnuts as a foodie favorite, celebrated at places like The Hole Thing in Forney and Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas, where doughnuts come topped with novelty ingredients like Cap'n Crunch cereal and bacon. Glazed Doughnuts has its bacon-topped doughnut ($1), a cake doughnut with a maple glaze sprinkled with pieces of chopped bacon, and a red velvet cake doughnut with a dab of cream cheese icing. These flavors serve as a handy wink, signaling that, yes, Glazed knows about the current doughnut fad.
But Glazed doesn't venture too far into the "extreme" pool -- no gummy bears or jalapeños. And its better doughnuts are traditional flavors such as lemon-filled ($1), a large airy doughnut filled to order with a tart lemon curd, and the chocolate mania (75 cents), topped with good chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles.
What Glazed does oh so well is waffles ($3.95). They were thick "Belgian"-style, made to order, and just about perfect, with a crisp shell and a brown-sugary flavor. They are served in all sorts of ways, sweet and savory, including a waffle with fried chicken ($6.95). The chicken was a boneless cutlet with a crunchy crumb crust -- far from the pinnacle of fried chicken but not the worst rendition of this popular dish. But the better way to go is sweet, such as the waffle dipped in chocolate ($4.95) or topped with Nutella cream and banana ($5.95).
Glazed does sandwiches on croissants and on crusty French bread, such as the French dip ($6.75) and the "pastrami" made from deli meat ($5.75). The sandwiches were only as good as the meat, which is to say the sandwiches weren't that good. The would-be pastrami was a pink meat with blackened edges with an overly peppered flavor that bore little resemblance to real pastrami; they might re-name it or take it off the menu.
The other big point of distinction for Glazed is that it sells beans ($14.95 a pound) from Stumptown Coffee, a roaster based in Portland, Ore., that is one of the best-known coffee roasters in the country. Ordinarily, you would have to order its beans online; being able to purchase them on the spot from a local vendor is a convenience you'd never expect to find in south Arlington or at the southern end of Texas 360 in Grand Prairie.
Much attention has been lavished on the decor, with a chandelier over the dining area and carved wooden frames around the menu on the wall. A cabinet filled with quirky coffee cups and trinkets adds a gift-shop vibe. You get the sense that someone has poured their heart and soul into this place. Owner Samantha Tran has an admiration for all things West Coast. She even has a stack of magazines from Southern California that she will bring over to your table and urge you to take home.