“I can't say for sure, but I think this place might be heaven.”
That, from an early 20s production assistant fresh out of USC, trying to make his OKCupid date laugh, as they stood in a line that stretched out the front door of Glazed Donut Bistro in West Hollywood and threatened to choke the pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. She did laugh, and then they both looked down at their iPhones until something else funny came up.
You've got to admit this much when it comes to L.A.'s latest over-the-top, simple-but, you know, DIFFERENT, man eatery: Glazed Donut Bistro does hyperbole well. The fried chicken beignets are pretty good too.
After all, this is the “donuts for grownups” spot that Thrillist not-so-subtly declared would be the most popular doughnut shop in the city, only to have the point largely turn out to be true, as weekend queues of twentysomethings brought the diminutive shop to its knees, broke its website and had it closing up early on Monday after completely selling out of its inventory.
So what makes throngs of food followers show up on a weekend morning just to stand in line for doughnuts and screwball savory items from a hastily-painted storefront on Santa Monica Boulevard? Hyperbole – or perhaps performance art.
As the sort of anti-brown-bag-wearing Shia LeBeouf, Glazed Donut Bistro's intricate offerings really, really want to be famous, which is why the shop is stuffing fried chicken inside of beignets and putting together creamy shrimp rolls done up on a split Long John doughnut.
Not that we haven't seen the doughnut-as-roll move before. It's just that the savory options on the hand-written menuboard seem so deliberately calibrated to make noise in the social sphere that it's a bit embarrassing to actually step up to the counter and order all that goofy stuff. It has somehow come all the way back around to being shameful and predictable to order the very ridiculous things that brought you to there in the first place. Of course you stood in line for 30 minutes, because of course you just had to try the Monte Cristo doughnut, stuffed with ham and cheese.
So, is Glazed Donut Bistro actually heaven, as that first-dater would like to assume? Well, the bigger question might be, “Does it matter?” The line, the unstoppable press releases tumbling throughout the internet, even these very words, give enough credence to the idea of the food inside, that actually saying whether it's good or not is kind of a letdown. Very unhyperbolic.
You'll go anyway, if you're so inclined, and stand in line and order the fried chicken beignets and drizzle a seriously sweet maple syrup over them and maybe wash it down with some Stumptown coffee. And when your friends ask you how it was, you'll shy away from descriptive words and fall into looming generalities like “ridiculous” or “crazy,” without ever saying whether or not it actually tastes like something you should be eating at all.
And that sort of over-the-top talk is just fine with Glazed Donut Bistro.