Done Wars: Harold’s and Strange open up shop

CoMo’s getting not one, but two new doughnut shops.

Long johns, bismarcks, and fritters, oh my! Columbia is finally getting its own local doughnut shop — make that two. Though Harold’s Doughnuts and the St. Louis-born Strange Donuts became staples of Columbia gastronomy in 2014 through food-truck appearances and special local partnerships, 2015 will see physical stores open for both.

After months of anticipation and guest appearances around downtown CoMo, Harold’s Doughnuts finally arrived on Jan. 16. The cozy shop is owned by Michael Urban and his wife Karli. Michael is a Washington, Missouri native and Mizzou alumnus. While studying at MU, he recognized Columbia’s need for a good doughnut shop. So he and his wife Karli began experimenting in the kitchen using family recipes. The shop’s name comes from Michael’s grandfather, Harold, who loved his mother’s craft doughnuts. This family legacy inspired the Harold’s Doughnuts motto, “Love your craft.”

The result? Amazing house-made donuts crafted just for you by a team of “Doughnut Artisans” who are just like family. Craft doughnuts are all about making every doughnut with the same level of excellence as the first. It’s about loving what you do. Customers can choose from many different flavors including White Chocolate Red Velvet, Boston Creme, Maple Bacon and Old Fashioned. However, these are just a few of the delicious treats Harold’s has to offer. “Doughnut Artisans” make different flavors each day in-store, and are always cooking up new ideas in the kitchen. Classic doughnuts like Glazed start at $1 a pop, while specialty doughnuts like Maple Bacon are $2.

Harold’s opens at 6 a.m., and so far, it has sold out of each day’s doughnut lineup by mid-morning. Get there early if you want to snag some.

You may have heard about the St. Louis-native Strange Donuts from the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival or from its regular appearances at Logboat Brewing Co. Gooey Butter, anyone? Strange’s “dones” run the gamut from Blueberry Lemon Streusel, to the fiery Strawberry Jalapeño Fritter, to the opulent Raisin Pear Spice Chutney and Creme Fraiche with a Rosemary Port Reduction (say that five times fast)!

Strange is set to make its CoMo debut Feb. 13, alongside fellow St. Louis joint Seoul Taco. Strange Donuts is known for its funky original flavors as well as its unconventional collaborations with local chefs affectionately known as “Strangers.” “Classics” like Glazed, Fritters, and Long Johns go for $1, while “New Creations” like Campfire and Gooey Butter sell for $2. Strangers like Chicken and Waffles and Pizza are $5 each. After opening in October 2013, co-owners Corey Smale and Jason Brockman have garnered quite the following through their loyal fans and highly active social media pages. They keep their fans hungry and excited with constant Instagram and Tumblr updates.

When fans are ready to “Get Strange,” the shop is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. Extended hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to midnight allow customers to experience a cool, exclusive atmosphere with donuts. It’s on these days that the “Strangers” often make their debut.

There’s Lakota versus Kaldi’s, and Shakespeare’s versus Gumby’s, and now there’s Harold’s versus Strange. Hold on to your long johns –– this just might get ugly. Both offer their brand’s apparel online and in-store, so choose your colors now. But whether you’re feeling Strange or happy to hang with Harold’s, something awesome this way comes. New Year’s resolutions be damned.

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