A Donut Lover's Paradise in Conneaut Lake: The Last Word
I listen to a podcast hosted by Mark Madden, an outspoken sports talk show host from Pittsburgh. He sings the praises of certain donuts made at a grocery store in Crawford County. He calls them the best donuts of all time.
I had to find out for myself. I traveled to Zatsick's Golden Dawn in Conneaut Lake. The donuts were a sight to behold. I immediately had one thought. If they taste as good as they look, these donuts must be the best. Dave Zatsick, the store owner, says the donuts are a top seller at the store.
"On a normal winter during the slower months, we'll go through maybe 20 to 30 dozen a day. And then you can almost triple that in the summertime,” he said.
I'm glad I came in November. During the summer, people who vacation in Conneaut Lake flock to Zatsick's every day just for the donuts. Customers arrive before the store opens at 7 a.m. The line for donuts usually extends from the counter all the way down the grocery aisles.
Susan Kesler lives in Conneaut Lake. She has seen the mad rush to buy the delicious items.
"Sometimes I come for certain donuts and they're already gone in the summertime. Because people just kind of swarm here for the donuts in the summer.” she says.
It's not unusual for people who live in Pittsburgh or Cleveland to come back to Conneaut Lake in the winter just to buy some donuts.
"Oh yes,” says Dave. “We have several people that come up. Even in the wintertime, when they have their cottages closed.”
"They come and they buy dozens at a time to ship,” says Mary Crabb, an employee at the store. “Some people ship them to Florida to family members that can't make it up here. A lady actually one time shipped them to Colorado."
The store sells about 25 different kinds of donuts. There's cake donuts. The name says it all. They have the same smooth texture of a cake. Zatsick’s sell an Oreo cake donut. They sell a peanut butter filled “long john” with peanut butter cup candy on top. I'm told those are the favorites of Mark Madden, the talk show host. There’s a maple bacon donut. There's also Danish and cinnamon rolls. Everything is made every day inside the store at the bakery department. The donuts are cherished for miles around. Store employees love them too. Amy Zatsick is a cashier. I asked her if she has a favorite.
“I do,” she said. “The Maple Persian."
I ordered the Maple Persian on her recommendation. It was delicious. The Maple Persian would be my favorite too, except I have many more Zatsick's donuts to try.
Dave Zatsick and his wife purchased the store in 1999. They tweaked the donut recipes to make them as they are today. Dave says one customer loves the donuts so much, she served stacks of them at her wedding. We're told it looked like a traditional wedding cake.