Kosher donuts have come to Las Vegas in a big way with two very recognizable brand names serving up a freshly-baked variety on a daily basis. Both LaMar's and Krispy Kreme have their own loyal customers whose passion for one of life's little pleasures is now being shared by those who keep kosher. Ask anyone to sample a LaMar's donut and then a Krispy Kreme, and you'll get varying opinions on what makes them different. While LaMar's standard donut is slightly larger and Krispy Kreme uses a different baking process resulting in a lighter texture, they both taste wonderful. And, with the valley's fast-growing kosher population, there's plenty of business for everyone.
Founded by A. Lamar in 1933 in Kansas City, MO, Lamar's now has over 90 stores nationwide in 9 states with 5 locations in Las Vegas. The stores at East Flamingo and Pecos, Sahara and Ft. Apache, and Sunset and Marks, which are kashered by Rabbi Yaakov Wasser, offer kosher products. According to East Flamingo store manager, Liz Fleming, her store offers 60 varieties of donuts ranging from the popular glazed to a Snicker's candy-covered donut. "From LaMar's basic menu of 75 varieties, each store tailors its menu to it's specific location," she said. "The basic law of supply and demand tells us which kinds of donuts are more popular in each location and we bake accordingly," she added. Fleming explained that everything is hand-made and baked daily and any product not sold by the end of the day is donated to the homeless or discarded. With a staff of 10 who service the store's customers, Fleming also oversees another 40 employees who produce baked products for over 35 commercial accounts handled by her location as well as other Lamar's stores.
The flour-based mix used in the donuts comes from Lamar's International and all ingredients are certified as kosher. In addition to regular donuts, Lamar's menu of kosher baked goods include bagels, cookies, and muffins. During Chanukah and Purim, jelly-stuffed donut holes and Hamantashen are very popular and the baking staff works hard to keep enough on hand. Prices range from $.75 for a regular donut to $1.20 for a filled Bismark, $1.50 for a 12-inch LaMar's Bar and $2.00 for cinnamon rolls and fritters. Logo items sold in the stores included coffee mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and gourmet teas.
Cindy Clark, marketing director for Southern Nevada, explained that Lamar's is community oriented and has hosted special events for the Jewish community. "Students from the Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy in Summerlin toured the Sahara store and decorated their own donuts," she said. "The children had a wonderful time!" She added that the stores also have informal breakfast clubs where regular customers come in on a daily basis for donuts, coffee, and chatter. "Friendships are forged and it strengthens our ties to the community." Clark, who joined the company last August, is also a professional race car driver whose sponsors include Lamar's and KVBC-TV3.
Rabbi Wasser is pleased to be associated with Lamar's. "The company is working hard to serve the Jewish community," he said. "With no kosher bakery in Las Vegas, LaMar's offers an alternative to other kosher outlets for baked goods." He added, "They're considering adding challah to their product line and, in the near future, may offer kosher baked goods at their three Strip outlet locations (Aladdin's Desert Passage, Harrah's, and The Sin City Cafe)."
Lamar's accepts special orders for weddings and b'nai mitzvah. For your all your Purim baked goods needs, visit Lamar's East Flamingo location or their other kosher stores. The Flamingo store number is 433-2812. Store hours at this location are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.Krispy Kreme
Founded in 1937, North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme has 356 stores nationwide in 44 states as well as international locations in Canada and Australia. Expansion to England, Mexico, and other countries is also in the planning stages. With 8 Las Vegas locations, 3 stores currently offer kosher baked goods; South Eastern and Silverado Ranch, Spring Mountain and Rainbow, and Krispy Kreme at The Venetian, all of which are kashered by Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn. In contrast to LaMar's, Krispy Kreme's menu focuses on donuts. Cinnamon buns are the only other baked product available. Like their counterpart in the fast food hamburger world, In ‘N Out Burger, which only sells hamburgers and french fries, Krispy Kreme has become successful by concentrating on creating the world's best donut. They offer two kinds of donuts, yeast raised and the cake donut and customers who are calorie-conscious will usually choose the former. According to Nevada marketing director, Fawn Dowd, their original glazed donut has only 180 calories with 11g of fat. Combining the 2 different kinds of donuts, Krispy Kreme offers 17 different varieties featuring filled donuts as well as the traditional single hole. Choices range from the favorite standard, a glazed donut, to the more exotic chocolate fudge. Customers choosing a filled donut can select any kind of filling ranging from jelly, cream and custard, to apple, raspberry, lemon, and blueberry.
According to the South Eastern store's general manager, Michelle Petrocelli, the spacious Silverado Ranch location near the 215 Beltway, opened in 1999. "This store is also used as a training store," she said. "And, with a staff of 30, we produce wholesale products for hundreds of commercial accounts in the valley. To service those accounts, Krispy Kreme maintains a full-time delivery service and a fleet of trucks. Petrocelli continued, "We keep long hours to accommodate demand and have a 24-hour drive-though window, too!" She went on to explain that Krispy Kreme bakes twice a day and in their unique "proofing" process, lets their donuts rise for 35-40 minutes, giving them a very different taste and lighter texture.
Very community-oriented, Krispy Kreme makes it a policy to accommodate all donation requests. According to Nevada Fundraising and Community Affairs director, Grace Devitt, "We may not be able to honor the entire request, but we always give something." She added, "In addition, we offer special discounts to all synagogues, schools, and non-profit organizations in the valley and offer a comprehensive fundraising program. Our fundraising sales allow groups and organizations to raise money through the sale of boxed donuts and partnership cards."
Rabbi Wiederhorn has been working with Krispy Kreme for the last 12 months and enjoys the affiliation. "Not only are they providing a service to the kosher community in Las Vegas, but," he added with a smile, "Now I can bring kosher donuts to my congregation." He continued, "Every single ingredient used in the product is already kosher by Orthodox standards. And, the baking equipment, utensils, and machinery have been kashered under my supervision." He concluded, "Krispy Kreme also employs an Orthodox rabbi to ensure that national standards are being met."
Original, glazed Krispy Kreme donuts are $.65 each or $5.99 per dozen with assorted donuts selling for $.75 each or $6.49 per dozen. Hot coffee, soft drinks, and juices as well as coffee by the bag and logo merchandise are also available. Store hours at most locations, including the Silverado Ranch store, are 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Two stores and Silverado also have the 24-hour drive-through. The phone number at Silverado Ranch is 617-4529.