Doughnut options expand in Columbia

The thought of delicate, fried dough bathed in a sweet glaze, otherwise known as a doughnut, results in a similar reaction for most people — the mouth waters as the memory of the taste and texture fills the mind, which at the same instant sends out a warning message to “be good” and say “no” to the temptation to indulge.

Just saying “no” is becoming more difficult in Columbia, Missouri, as two new doughnut establishments, Harold’s Doughnuts and Strange Donuts, have opened up downtown, and a third, Dunkin’ Donuts, is set to open on the south side of town in the coming months.

Before Michael Urban opened Harold’s Doughnuts, Columbia did not have much in the way of quality doughnut selection. Urban and his wife, Karli, recognized the scarcity of craft doughnuts in Columbia. The couple decided to take matters into their own hands by experimenting with doughnuts in their home kitchen.

“We had a lot of fun making scratch doughnuts,” said Urban. The fun activity eventually turned into a doughnut delivery business, which then led to the opening of the storefront January 16, 2015.

The St. Louis-based doughnut shop, Strange Donuts, was not far behind Harold’s with their downtown-Columbia location opening on March 5, 2015.

For Elizabeth McKinney, a Columbia resident, doughnuts have become a weekly custom for her family. She is married and has four girls.

“We are huge, huge doughnut lovers,” McKinney said. “It started as a Saturday morning comfort food when I was pregnant.”

McKinney and her husband refer to getting doughnuts as “going to the bank.” When her family is craving doughnuts they say, “Do we need to make a withdrawal? We’ll go make a withdrawal.”

The Saturday doughnut tradition is also part of football season for the McKinney family. Every Saturday, in the fall, the McKinney’s have to get doughnuts for their football watch party.

“This is how the kids grew to love doughnuts,” said McKinney.

The McKinney family hosted a joint birthday party for two of their girls, Ginger (5) and Pearl (3). The McKinney’s decided on serving doughnuts because of their love for doughnuts and the ease of serving doughnuts as opposed to cake. The party display consisted of regular-sized doughnuts and doughnut kabobs. A family friend also provided an inflatable doughnut raft as a feature of the party decorations.

Craft doughnuts have quickly become a popular entertainment food for Columbia, thanks to the businesses that are now making uniquely crafted doughnuts more available. Columbia residents are now provided with options for whatever their doughnut indulgence might be.

Photos by Aubrey Jameson
Aubrey Jameson

About the Author Aubrey Jameson

The lifestyle of a gypsy has been planted in my blood, and my past experiences of moving have taught me to be flexible with new places. Therefore, the place I call home is a hard subject to explain. Nebraska is where I was born and raised until the age of 12. My family and I lived in multiple locations in Nebraska before moving to Colorado in 2004. Colorado was my home until I graduated high school. My parents are originally from northwest Missouri; so, if I had to pick a place that most feels like home, it would be our family farm just north of Kansas City. My dad is now running his cow-calf operation off of this farm, and our home address is Smithville, Mo. Moving from place-to-place has developed my strongest passions of travel and experiencing new culture. My goal is to work as a social media strategist, using content marketing through social media platforms. I am excited to see what the future holds for the new path I have chosen.