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Neil's Donut & Bake Shop

83 North Turnpike Rd., Yalesville, CT - (203) 269-4255
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/30/2002 1:56:00 AM
"The best donuts I've ever had," wrote roadfood tipster John Lee regarding the selection at Neil's, just north of Wallingford. "It will be worth the trip, I guarantee, or I'll buy you a donut from Phillip's."

Not that we don't want to accept the gift of a donut from Phillip's, but we gladly will admit that a trip to Neil's is well worth the effort for all of us who have an insatiable craving for excellent donuts. This roadside bakery is in the upper echelon of New England donut shops.

The selection is large, including both glazed (the lightweight ones) and cake donuts (the heavier dunkers), both of which are available plain, sugar-frosted, chocolate-topped, and cinnamon-coated. There are also luxurious jelly filled pastries -- long black raspberry-filled crullers and big round red jelly-filled Bismarks.

While the glazed donuts are fine, it's the old-fashioned ones that are tongue-dazzling. They are thick and cakey with a wicked exterior crunch and insides infused with the unctuous savor of the oil in which they have been fried. Early in the morning, when they're still warm, they virtually melt in your mouth.

Proprietor Neil Bukowski told us that he keeps true baker's hours, arriving every morning before 3 and closing the shop mid-afternoon. He's been here less than a year, but in that time his friendly little place has become a magnet for donut hounds from miles around. The shelves also hold bagels, hard rolls, muffins, cookies and pies, but in truth, we've tried none of these periperhal items. In our book, Neil's is a donut shop!

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
jelly-filled donuts
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Neil's jelly donuts are split in half and piled with an amazing amount of jelly.  They're a mess to eat ... and pure pleasure.
"Neil's jelly donuts are split in half and piled with an amazing amount of jelly. They're a mess to eat ... and pure pleasure."
Michael Stern





We like Neil's old-fashioned cake donuts best.  They are substantial pastries with an unctuous luxury that is especially delicious when they are still hot from the fry kettle.
"We like Neil's old-fashioned cake donuts best. They are substantial pastries with an unctuous luxury that is especially delicious when they are still hot from the fry kettle."
Michael Stern


Now that Butler's is defunct, this officially has become my favorite jelly-filled long john on the planet. It left powdered sugar all over the dashboard, my shirt and pants and fingers, but I sure wasn't complaining.
"Now that Butler's is defunct, this officially has become my favorite jelly-filled long john on the planet. It left powdered sugar all over the dashboard, my shirt and pants and fingers, but I sure wasn't complaining."
Michael Stern


There is nothing spectacular about a good, old-fashioned cinnamon donut, but neither is there a pastry that can be more directly satisfying.
"There is nothing spectacular about a good, old-fashioned cinnamon donut, but neither is there a pastry that can be more directly satisfying."
Michael Stern


A close view only hints at the luscious crunch of this donut's skin and the fruity goodness of its filling.
"A close view only hints at the luscious crunch of this donut's skin and the fruity goodness of its filling."
Michael Stern


Clockwise from upper left: cinnamon crueller, double chocolate, cinnamon old-fashioned, and jelly-filled. An excellent breakfast!
"Clockwise from upper left: cinnamon crueller, double chocolate, cinnamon old-fashioned, and jelly-filled. An excellent breakfast!"
Michael Stern


The donut shelves about 7:30am: still plenty of excellent varieties from which to choose.  Whatever else we get, we have to have at least one old-fashioned donut, plain or cinnamon-coated.
"The donut shelves about 7:30am: still plenty of excellent varieties from which to choose. Whatever else we get, we have to have at least one old-fashioned donut, plain or cinnamon-coated."
Michael Stern


The glazed donuts are lighter than the old-fashioned ones; and while the glazed are good, it's the heavier cake donuts that send us into orbit.
"The glazed donuts are lighter than the old-fashioned ones; and while the glazed are good, it's the heavier cake donuts that send us into orbit."
Michael Stern


Neil's is a merry place ... and a boon for anyone traveling along the Merritt Parkway in need of a four-star pastry fix.
"Neil's is a merry place ... and a boon for anyone traveling along the Merritt Parkway in need of a four-star pastry fix."
Michael Stern


As we dined off the dashboard at 8am, we saw a constant parade of customers coming and going. Our visit renewed faith in Connecticut as a donut-lover's paradise.
"As we dined off the dashboard at 8am, we saw a constant parade of customers coming and going. Our visit renewed faith in Connecticut as a donut-lover's paradise."
Michael Stern


Neil's is less than one year old; and yet it is already attracting donut lovers from all around central Connecticut.
"Neil's is less than one year old; and yet it is already attracting donut lovers from all around central Connecticut."
Michael Stern



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