Fresh donuts made to order? Am I at the CNE? No, you’re at Fancy Franks on College Street!

30 Apr

“Don’t tell your mom, but I love a good donut!” – Miss B, my dinner companion (and sister-in-law-in-training).

Miss B and I had just had very satisfying gourmet grilled chesse sandwiches at The Grilled Chesse in Kensington. Perfect food for the lousy Toronto weather that we’ve been having. I had my favourite (or, atleast the one I liked so much the first time that I’ve now gone back and had it 3 times!) the Apple Crisp: cheddar, apple slices and  bacon. You can replace the bacon with avocado – but who would want to do that?! (except vegetarians, I suppose.)

But this isn’t a review about the Grilled Chesse in Kensington. This is a review about the wonders of fresh donuts. And the wonderful surprise of finding something new in a city that you think you know.

Miss B and I left Kensington in our search for dessert. At the corner of Augusta and College she got really excited and at the sign outside the building declaring that they had donuts (as well as hot dogs). Miss B is a hot dog connoisseur, she has her favourite places to go in Toronto – and Chicago!- and made us all try the famous Pink’s in LA in a family vacation last fall. She also knows about my mom’s aversion to salt, carbs and excess calories (hence her comment about not telling my mom about her love of donuts).

Walking into Famous Franks I was taken aback by how fun and detail oriented the decor was: 60s inspired but still modern. One wall is decorated with pictures of people in the past buying or eating hot dogs (look and you will even find JKF in a crowd). 50s and 60s music fills the space and the menu is written on the wall  in a style that you would associate with that time: painted on (and even with a couple of spelling errors spotted by the eagle-eyed B!). Nostalgia as a trend in food and design isn’t dying off any time soon. I’m not complaining: I appreciate the modern nostalgia aesthetic.  Especially how Fancy Franks decided to make it more of a nod to the past instead of a kitschy recreation. The only aspect of presentation that isn’t in line with the others was the signs for the soups: they looked like they were taken out of a Subway. I hope that this was just an interim solution and that the actual signs are coming in soon.

As we’d already had dinner we had to skip on the hot dogs (this time!) and only indulge in the donuts. The motivating factor was that we were surprised that we could watch them being made that they would be fresh to order! I suppose if all other food is “made fresh to order” why shouldn’t donuts? A stale donut has none of the joy of a fresh one!

We decided on getting half a dozen mini cinnamon sugar donuts:


And they were DELICIOUS! Actual melt in your mouth amazing. When we were done we *almost* ordered another 6 (powdered sugar!) but we stopped ourselves, because who says we can’t come back another day? (and at less than 3$ for half a dozen, I will happily!

I might even consider getting some to bring to a party, as they came in such a well designed box (or maybe just to eat by myself in a park on a nice day?) :


One last thing that must be said about Fancy Franks: the staff were really really nice. It wasn’t busy so that might have helped, but when we asked about their favourite hot dogs they all told us in detail why they loved the ones they did. And they SMILED at us. I would love if this were the standard for service, but it’s not. So not only am I coming back for a hot dog (the idea of “Franks got Seoul” made me salivate… but “Franks PB & J” is too weird to miss!) but also for the really friendly staff, who just made our experience that must sweeter.


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