Such is the power of doughnuts on the winter-battered Minnesota psyche: There were 67 people ahead of me in line last Saturday morning at Hans’ Bakery. Sixty-seven! When a dozen more had quickly queued up behind me, I stopped counting and turned my attention where it belonged: on doughnuts. By reviving this beloved community gathering spot — named for its founder, the late Hans Birkner, and which sat forlorn for the past several years — owner Kelly Olsen has clearly struck a chord. She and her crew are cranking out first-rate (and competitively priced) doughnuts that embrace a time-honored simplicity; no fried-dough-as-pop-art-statements here. Moist, sturdy cake doughnuts, the definition of coffee- or milk-dunkers. Raised doughnuts that manage to be tender and airy without reverting to cotton candy vacuousness. Bismarcks heavy with pastry cream and slicked with rich chocolate icing. A marvelous array of Long Johns, some glazed with maple frosting, others with a generous swipe of vanilla icing topped with a veritable snowstorm of sweet coconut. The doozy of a house specialty has also returned. It’s the Beehive, a flaky, dome-shaped pastry that’s split, filled with luscious pastry cream, dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a sprinkle of sliced almonds. It’s large enough to cater to a large-ish family reunion, so Olsen is wisely offering a single-serving version that she’s dubbed the Bee Sting. To say that it is divine is underselling it. Oh, and the line? It sped along, fueled by friendly conversation among total strangers about — what else? — doughnuts. Rick Nelson
Owner Kelly Olsen has revived the late Hans' Birkner's life's work with winning results, with a full complement of traditional doughnuts -- cake doughnuts, raised doughnuts, Bismarcks, Long Johns, twists and more -- along with the house specialty, the Beehive, a pastry cream-filled fried delicacy topped with shaved almonds and powdered sugar. A newcomer is the Bee Sting, a single-serving version of the gigantic Beehive. Expect to encounter a line, but it moves fast.
1423 5th Av.
6 a.m.-6 pm. Mon.-Thu., 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri., 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Poll: Which of the State Fair concerts announced so far do you most want to see?