From your local police to Homer Simpson, Americans have had a love affair with donuts since at least the early 1700s. That’s when the Dutch first brought their “oily cakes” to New York. However, although they did look similar to later donuts, they wouldn’t get their famous holes until nearly 150 years later. Here’s the story of one of our favorite treats from one of our favorite donut franchises.
The “Hole” Story
While aboard a lime-trading ship in 1847, 16-year-old American cook Hanson Gregory was growing frustrated with how the middles of his donuts were often still raw when he cooked them. As a result, he took a tin pepper box and punched a hole in the center of one and it cooked perfectly. Later, Gregory said he taught his hole-punching technique to his mom who improved on it by adding nutmeg, cinnamon, and some lemon zest to the mix. Once it was cooked, she then filled the middle with nuts and the familiar ring-shaped “doughnut” (as she called them) was born.
Still, donuts didn’t really catch on until World War I when women volunteers in France served them by the dozens to American doughboys fighting on the front lines and in the trenches to give them a little taste of home. As a result, returning soldiers would get a hankering for more of them once they got back stateside.
On the whole, however, things really took off for donuts in 1920 with the invention of the first donut machine by a Russian refugee who now lived in New York City by the name of Adolph Levitt. Hungry Broadway theatergoers used to wait in long lines at Adolph’s bakery for his delicious donuts prompting him to create a machine that would make donuts faster. After constantly refining his donut-making gadgets, he started selling them wholesale and in the mid-1930s, donut shops started popping up all around the country.
A “Hole” Lotta Love
One of the first donut shops in Texas was Southern Maid Donuts. Using their own recipes, Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Hargrove founded Southern Maid Donuts in 1937 in Houston. The donuts quickly became popular and other bakeries and stores were soon knocking on the Hargrove’s door wanting to sell Southern Maid Donuts at their locations. As a result, the Hargroves licensed their trademark and, today, Southern Maid is sold across the country in over 100 stores.
The Southern Maid Donuts of Shreveport, Louisiana, was the company’s first franchise store. Located on Texas Street, it was opened by Bruce and Dannie Jones in 1941 and is still run by the Jones family.
Back in the 1950s, the Joneses sponsored a television show called Search for Talent which aired on KTBS Channel 3 in Shreveport. At the time, Miss Jones had a pet poodle by the name of Miss Merry Mary. One day, the station aired a commercial that featured Miss Merry Mary wearing a bonnet and pushing a baby carriage full of Southern Maid Donuts. A picture was taken of the event and it soon became the logo for Southern Maid Donuts in Shreveport. You can still find it on their donut boxes today.
Southern Maid also sponsored Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride Show and many of their early commercials featured young entertainers from the show like Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash and Minnie Pearl. What’s more, and knowing we can’t pass up a good Elvis story, another one of those young entertainers just happened to be the 24-year-old future King of Rock and Roll who sang “You can get them piping hot after 4 P.M., you can get them piping hot, Southern Maid Donuts hits the spot, you can get them piping hot after 4 P.M.”
Still All in the Family
Though today they’re based in Garland, Texas, you can find Southern Maid Donuts in 100 locations all across the nation. Its longevity and popularity owes itself to both how they’re made and what goes in them. Further, like Stuckey’s, since its founding in 1937, the company has been family-owned by three generations.
(Plus, they’re just so darn good.)
When planning your next road trip, be sure to plan on stopping in a Southern Maid Donut store along the way and try them for yourself. With over 25 varieties to choose from, we’ll bet a dollar to a donut you’ll love Southern Maid Donuts just as much as we do.
And speaking of road trips, did you know that you can now find Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls at nearly every Travel Centers of America (TA) across the country? Yep, that’s right! So, the next time you’re craving some Stuckey’s while you’re out there on the wide-open road, be sure to make a Stuckey’s stop at one of TA’s 270 locations to get your Stuckey’s fix. After all, is it really even a road trip until you’ve had your first Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll?
Of course, whether it’s for your next road trip or Sunday’s big game, you can also stock up on your favorite Stuckey’s snacks and have them on hand no matter the occasion. Shop our website today only at stuckeys.com.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again.
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!