Submitted by Hitty Gale
I once watched a dozen doughnuts from Bennett’s Donuts of Fort Myers, Florida, go for almost $300 at a charity auction. Yes—they are that good.
It was with much anticipation that I waited for the results of the “Donut Showdown” Series on the Cooking Channel Wednesday night, August 21, 2013. Bennett’s Fresh Roast owner, Bob Grissinger and his assistant, Lisa Bronchetti, were competing for the top prize of $10,000.
On each episode of the “Donut Showdown”, three competitors must create doughnuts featuring unusual, and sometimes bizarre secret ingredients. The finished doughnuts are judged on taste, presentation and creativity.
If you watched the show, you know that Rebel Donut of Albuquerque, NM won the the competition and Bennett’s Fresh Roast of Ft Myers, Florida was second. Frankly, I don’t understand how any doughnuts could beat Bennett’s, but I wasn’t a judge.
Bennett’s Fresh Roast offers fresh-from-scratch, hand-cut doughnuts made daily and fresh coffee from the finest beans. Breakfast and lunch is also on the menu. Bennett’s is open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m and lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2 p.m. The shop has a warm and friendly atmosphere that makes you want to sit a spell. You can even borrow a book to read from a book shelf in the corner. Perhaps a copy of my favorite, “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years,” should be donated to the collection!
Since opening in 2008, Bennett’s has become known for its unusual doughnut creations including the Maple Bacon Donut, Hot Dog Donut, Pepper Slaw and Chicken & Donut, a halved and unglazed donut smothered in a savory gravy loaded with vegetables and pieces of chicken. Chicken & Donut was created for National Donut Day which is celebrated each year on June 7.
Bennett’s was the first shop in Fort Myers to offer for a limited time, Kopi Luwak, sometimes called “Cat-Poo” Coffee. The coffee is made from a highly-prized bean from Indonesia that is eaten by wild civets. The bean passes through the animal’s digestive tract and is collected and processed for brewing.
Bennett’s Fresh Roast is located inside a lovingly restored home on the corner of First Street and Bayside Parkway in Fort Myers. The homes in this neighborhood were built by the government in 1943 to house officers serving at the airbases of Buckingham and Page Field.
During the restoration of Bennett’s Fresh Roast, an army hat and a pair of nylon stockings were found in the attic. Were they left by the women of the Army Air Corps perhaps stationed nearby? Were they souvenirs from “fun times” overseas?
No one knows. It’s a delicious mystery to ponder as you savor your fresh coffee and doughnuts at Bennett’s.