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By : Akbota Saudabayeva

8 min read

Hello, mouthful-forkin’ Massholes! As we ease just that much closer to the next college kid driving his Uhaul on Storrow Drive, this Glutton desires two things to bear the transitioning season: a pumpkin spice iced coffee from Dunkin’ and a donut. Sure, I like my coffee as burnt as any other New Englander, but now and then I venture past that beloved orange-and-pink storefront in search of a locally-made confection. Enter Mass Hole Donuts!

Mass Hole Donuts, an Arlington-based confectionary founded in 2018 by Chef and Owner Alex Mansfield, features a mass selection of Massachusetts-themed donut holes. Some punny examples: “New-berry Street,” “Drunken Mass Hole,” and “Revere Peach.” The inspiration? Picking a regular-sized donut of only one flavor felt restricting, so Mansfield ran with the idea of offering a flight of smaller donut holes. Don’t let that story fool you, though, the donut holes are about the size of a deflated tennis ball, or a bird that can hide in the palm of your hand. Chomp!

The shop recently opened a second location this past May in Somerville’s Teele Square—next to the closing True Bistro and the young Rwandan coffee shop Yego. The new storefront is brick-walled and open-concept, offering up a social, pizza-parlour-esque vibe. A range of past flavors are displayed on the wall of donut fame opposite floor-to-wall windows that streamed to the outside (clearly I came here on a fantastically sunny Saturday). It smells like, you guessed it, hot! piping! donuts! That weekend I had pre-ordered (and pre-ordering is a necessity) a dozen holes to share amongst friends, and the box was large enough to hold two French baguettes. I was greeted by people who seemed to enjoy their work hours (one worker to another: “How are you going to spend the rest of this Saturday after the shift?” “Kayaking!”), and I walked out feeling pretty grand for someone who just dropped thirty bucks on treasure-cakes and bonbons.

The Glutton Reports: My mom’s favorite way to treat herself is to buy a black coffee and a Boston Kreme donut from Dunkin—and to bite and sip and gobble and slurp in her car, alone. It’s one of my favorite images of her. I’m more of a busy-body with my donuts—I’m the younger sibling who steals a bite from my sister, the coworker who cuts a quarter for themself (four times…), the person leaving brioche crumbs on the car seat. But Mass Hole Donuts—they make you pause and enjoy each little confection in front of you. One example: the “Teddie Bear” was chocolatey and cakey, glazed in sweet peanut butter, dolloped in nutty buttercream, drizzled again in dark chocolate, and finished with a peanut butter cup wedge. This is NOT something you can eat with reckless abandon. Mass Hole Donuts puts the MA in Marie Antoinette. My favorite of the weekend’s rotating bunch? The “extra extra,” a light, fluffy brioche donut washed in a coffee-and-cream golden glaze and crowned with brown butter vanilla bean icing. Any further description would enter into the erotic. Whether you like it yeasty or cakey, it’s imperative to wash these donut delights down with a hot coffee—and maybe that’s me just being sentimental about my ma (and MA).

—The Glutton

Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #161 September 2023


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