Great American Donut Shop, Bowling Green KY

Marie and I enjoyed a nice weekend visiting friends after dropping the girlchild off for a week with her mother. It was a five and a half hour haul from our place in Marietta to Owensboro, where we had lunch, and then we made our way back down the William Natcher Parkway. This is an amazing seventy-mile stretch of absolutely nothing, through farmland and… well, nothing. There are exactly two exits on the whole road with gas stations, and they’re one right after the other, 25-odd miles northwest of Bowling Green. Make sure both you and your car are ready for this drive before you get on the parkway!

We didn’t give Bowling Green much more of a look than we did Owensboro, so I don’t know much about the town yet. Hopefully, one of these days, I’ll have the chance to rectify that. It’s the home of Western Kentucky University, which, on this Saturday, was hosting the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State, so there was lots of tailgating going on as we drove by campus towards a disagreeable commercial strip. There were several shuttered restaurants and businesses on this leg of US Route 31 West. Interestingly, this is a north-south highway that splits in two between Louisville and Nashville, running alongside Interstate 65. I guess this means that if you get bored of the three-hour drive between those cities on the freeway, you’ve got two alternates. I was a little disheartened by what looked like so many failed restaurants in such a small stretch. The next day, in Nashville, we had lunch with my friend John, who works at the Corvette plant on the other side of Bowling Green, and he told us that he’s heard that the city has more restaurants per person than any other place in America. With the recession hitting communities like this one as hard as it did, something had to give. The city’s entry on Wikipedia suggests that things are on their way back up (or that area residents wish for Wikipedia readers to think so), but with so many signs reading “closed” in such a short space, they seem to have a ways to climb.

I’d hoped to stop in Bowling Green to experience some kind of food here, and asked around for a suggestion for a snack. I figured that we’d have a large and satisfactory lunch in Owensboro and I was planning for an awesome supper in Nashville, and hoped that western Kentucky might be home to some small fast food chain that we can’t get here. Unfortunately, none revealed themselves. I was urged to give Judy’s Castle, a meat-and-three that we saw on Nashville Road, a try, but I was thinking about a snack, and not a second lunch. Serendipitously, Urbanspoon says that the number one user-ranked restaurant in town is a doughnut place. That’s just what I’m talking about.

Great American Donut Shop specializes in low-priced, dirt cheap, sinfully good doughnuts. While probably not quite the equal of Atlanta’s Sublime, they seem to cost about half as much. I had a strawberry cake which was pretty wonderful, and a chocolate frosted which knocked my socks off. I can’t imagine going through town without stopping for some of these again.

I apologize that this isn’t really much of a restaurant review, but then again, that wasn’t the intention of this blog in the first place. What “reviews” there are are sidelines to the more important part, which is to just tell stories about our time spent eating well. As this restaurant doesn’t have a web page and the girl at the counter was swamped, busy and just a little surly, I didn’t see the opportunity to learn anything about the restaurant’s history. All I have is the taste and it’s a wonderful one.

So chalk this up as one of the shorter chapters in this story, but don’t take it as a reflection on the food’s quality. These are really, really good treats, and absolutely worth a visit for anybody wanting a pit stop and a chance to stretch their legs on this part of I-65. How WKU students don’t gain thirty pounds a semester from eating here, I can’t imagine.

2 thoughts on “Great American Donut Shop, Bowling Green KY

  1. You wouldn’t think that 31 is used that often but it is a fantastic alternate route for 65. It seems that there is always a wreck on 65 during our travels and 31 has saved us hours of sitting in traffic. 🙂

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