The initial reaction by the crowd around the doughnut box was not promising.
“Those do not look good,” came one assessment. Others hesitated only a respectful moment before reaching in for the maple bars topped with cooked bacon.
Manager Jon Berroteran says the latest addition to the breakfast menu at Zip’s at Third Avenue and Lincoln Street has inspired similar hesitation from customers. Some days, there are more people taking pictures with their cell phones than there are buyers, he says.
The maple bars topped with two slices of cooked bacon ($1.49) draw the most awe and disgust. Also available are chipotle chocolate raised doughnuts topped with red sprinkles and chili-spiked maple bars (99 cents each).
There are regular maple bars, raised glazed rounds (both 89 cents) and old-fashioned cake doughnuts (59 cents) for traditionalists.
It is the only Zip’s Drive-in making doughnuts. “We’re the only ones crazy enough to try it,” Berroteran says.
He and owner Dennis Kelly kicked around a few other ideas to help spur breakfast sales, including funnel cakes and mini doughnuts, before settling on the full-sized fried delights.
Berroteran taught himself how to make the new menu item through trial and error – and with a little help from Web research on Google and YouTube.
“I made some pretty sad-looking doughnuts at first, but they all tasted great,” he says.
The bacon maple bars were inspired by a doughnut that Kelly ate at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland. Kelly owns five of the area’s Zip’s fast-food restaurants.
The salty-sweet combination of maple frosting and bacon won raves from those who tried them in the Spokesman-Review newsroom. The reviews were mixed on the other designer flavors.
“It’s like if you’re eating pancakes and bacon for breakfast and some of the maple syrup gets on the bacon. It still tastes great,” Berroteran says.
He and his crew make the doughnuts weekdays. They’ve been on the menu about a month. They’re sold individually or in grab-boxes for $11.99. The doughnuts are half price after 2 p.m.
Zip’s at Third and Lincoln is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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