Lou’s Donuts

Did you ever buy a lopsided donut, one with a handle on it, and discover that it was the best donut you ever ate in your life? If you bought your sinker at Lou’s Living Donut Museum, you are in for a real treat. Lou’s is one of those hidden gems of old San Jose—not the kind you find in every shopping center, but a place where quality, friendliness and patriotism prevail. How many donut shops can you name where the employees raise the American flag and sing the Star Spangled Banner every morning? How many donut emporiums have their own little theatre where touring school children can see a video on donut making? How many donut shops have displays of World War II aircraft, pictures and displays of American Independence, such as a copy of the Declaration of Independence, pictures of George Washington and memorabilia of the area?

The current owners are the Chavira family: father Ralph, mother Connie, and sons Richard and Charles. Richard is the chemist/magician, who comes in to work every night (except Saturday) at 11 p.m., blending and preparing the five different kinds of potato flour using his secret recipes; but the main ingredient is love. His work schedule is soon followed by Ralph arriving after midnight and then at about 3 a.m. by Connie.

The founder of Lou’s Donuts was Lucius Ades, a highly decorated bomber pilot of WW II. Although released from service in 1945, he didn’t start the Naglee Park neighborhood donut shop until 1955 because his employer wanted to transfer him to a different locality. Lou managed to buy a fine donut recipe from Manley’s and set up shop on East Santa Clara Street near Coyote River. Lou’s became a neighborhood hangout until bad health forced him to sell in 1981. During his years in business, Lou trained many youngsters, among them the two Chavira boys. When it came time to retire, he would only sell to the people he had faith in: namely the Chaviras, although he was offered $100,000 more by a Stockton merchant.

When you are looking for something very special, find a back street near the Children’s Discovery Museum. At the corner of Delmas and Auzerais, give yourself a treat – visit Lou’s Living donut Museum.

Oh yes, why a lopsided donut? The owners want to give you full value, so when the donut hole is punched out of the dough, it is stuck on the side and you get a whole donut!

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