The Magic of John’s Donuts

St. Louis is a foodie’s dream: with a multitude of diverse neighborhoods and eclectic restaurants accessible to students, it offers more than any perpetually hungry college kid could ask for. But if you need a top-notch midnight snack after a tough week of studying, there’s only one place you should go, and it’s John’s Donuts.

A hole-in-the-wall down by the river, John’s Donuts caters to famished insomniacs from 11pm at night until 1pm the next day. They are dirt cheap and baked fresh, and oh man, they are delicious. And I must confess, at first I was a skeptic. After all, the store front is sandwiched between two unappealing brick shops, the awning a weatherworn red type-face on yellow fabric. To amp up the sketch-factor further, it is located in a fairly industrial area. But once you walk inside, you know you are in a good place.

Mere observation informs you of the owner’s proclivity for Superman and sarcasm; capes, coffee mugs, and signs reminiscent of Seinfeld’s soup Nazi adorn the walls, and a masterfully facetious worker waits while you decide what to order. Just know that if you take too long to choose what of which you would like, you might get called out for it. All in good fun, of course.

When I first walked inside John’s Donuts, I was accompanied by my roommate, a floor mate, a fellow WUSA, and a friend visiting from the Coast Guard Academy. It was almost 1am, and we were starving. Initially distracted by the skeleton camping out by the front window, I told Hannah she could go first since she knew she was going straight for the apple fritter. Eventually, I made the same call, while our other friends threw in a chocolate bundt cake, some long johns, danish twists, and other goodies for variety. After bantering with the worker at the cash register, we snagged a few bottles of chocolate milk and sat down with our treasure.


Who would have thought a white cardboard box could contain such majesty? And at such a cheap price! A single apple fritter is $0.92 including tax. Yes, my friends and I have that number memorized. No, you should not be concerned for our well-being. In the half-hour we were there, we demolished two boxes of donuts and watched three cops walk in (if you ask me, the number of police officers frequenting a donut shop should be the measure of its success). Once we were finished, we shuffled out to the car and headed back to campus before the food-comas could set in. All in all, a successful night.

Now, tripping to John’s Donuts has become something of a tradition following exams. It truly is that good. For those who have yet to give this place a chance, I’m telling you now: Go. If you need an excuse, tomorrow is National Donut Day.