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Monday, January 18, 2010

Red's Dogs learns new treat trick

David and Beverly Cohen hold a tray of Spudnuts on Saturday at Red's Dogs and Donuts in Greeley.
David and Beverly Cohen hold a tray of Spudnuts on Saturday at Red's Dogs and Donuts in Greeley.ENLARGE
David and Beverly Cohen hold a tray of Spudnuts on Saturday at Red's Dogs and Donuts in Greeley.
Eric Bellamy/
Red's Dogs and Donuts
Red's Dogs and Donuts is located at the University Square Shopping Center, 2608 11th Ave. Free Spudnut day will be from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Go to for more information.
As strange as their name was, they were very popular in Greeley and around the country in the 1950s and '60s. In La Salle, where 10-year-old Bob French delivered them on his bike, the potato and pickle docks would shut down when he arrived.

There were shops everywhere, and people actually lined up to buy them: Spudnuts.

They were doughnuts made from potato (spud) flour, and their aficionados believed they were far superior to the normal, everyday doughnuts.

And they're back.

David “Red” Cohen and Beverly Cohen are the husband-and-wife owners of Red's Dogs and Donuts and said they had several customers ask them about bringing back the unusual Spudnuts.

“I contacted the original owners of the Spudnut corporation and we signed a contract as a vendor for them,” Beverly said. “Next Saturday we'll have a free Spudnut Day at the restaurant to bring them back to Greeley.”

For that special day, the original owners of Spudnuts will be at the restaurant, flying in from Salt Lake City for the Spudnut promotion. The restaurant is already selling them now, however.

On the wall of their restaurant in the University Square Shopping Center, the Cohens have an old advertisement from The Tribune. It was for the 1957 opening of the Spudnuts Shop in what was then the West Fair Shopping Center. West Fair was located at 9th Street and 21st Avenue.

But the Spudnuts recipe does not just mean a change in the flour, according to the Cohens. “There are 27 different ingredients in the recipe,” Beverly said. “We get it from the factory, and it wasn't easy to find.”

The effort to bring back the unusually named pastry started because some of the Cohens' best customers kept asking about the old doughnuts. Bob Regan, a long-time resident of Greeley, remembers the shop in the 1950s.

“They were my favorite doughnuts in those days,” Regan said. “I'd stop by the shop every morning ... or any time I had a break.”

And Bob French delivered Spudnuts.

“They would bring them to La Salle on the weekends, and I'd deliver them, carrying the boxes in my newspaper bags,” he said. “They cost 30 cents for a half-dozen and I'd get to keep a nickel of that.

“Of course, I ate up all my profits. Those Spudnuts were really good.”

Beverly Cohen said the doughnut business has changed during the years, and now customer want more of a “culinary confection.” They make 60 varieties of doughnuts, including their most popular, The Baconator. “It a doughnut made with apple and cinnamon,” Beverly said, “with a topping of maple and bacon bits.”

The restaurant-doughnut-shop-hot-dog-place isn't really new for the Cohens. They had three restaurants, including one in Manhattan, N.Y. “We live down by Brighton now,” Red said. “We drive 38 miles to work and it takes us 45 minutes. In New York, we drove 22 miles to the restaurant and it took us an hour-and-a-half. We don't miss that.”

Red grew up in Brooklyn, and he said Greeley reminds him of his hometown in the 1950s: good, friendly people, small-town atmosphere.

And Spudnuts.

Staff writer Mike Peters' column about Weld County people appears Mondays in The Tribune. His humor column, the Gnarly Trombone, appears Saturdays.

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