Many may not know a man by the name of Jim Nakano, however, the Donut Man might ring a bell. Nakano, at age 72, is the owner and the creator of the best-selling strawberry donut. His doughnut shop, The Donut Man, is located in Glendora, California, with many loyal customers including me.
Everyone has his or her own history to share and it is hard to imagine that there is also an intriguing story behind a sweet, old man who is known to make delicious and sweet treats. Jim Nakano is a third-generation Japanese American and he was born in Boyle Heights. At the age of 2, Nakano and his parents were sent to an internment camp in Poston Ariz along with many Japanese Americans who were imprisoned during World War II. Nakano’s father was drafted in the army and Nakano and his mother were released three years after. Eventually, they moved to Section 8 housing in San Pedro. Nakano faced many discrimination and racist comments in the community he lived in. Eventually, his parents and he moved to East Los Angeles and he studied marketing at Cal State Los Angeles. Later he joined the navy and even worked at some jobs after he returned.
One day when he was on vacation in Europe, Nakano met a Japanese woman on a train who ended up becoming his wife, Miyoko. It was Miyoko’s idea to start a doughnut shop and they owned the rights to a Foster’s Donuts franchise on May 23, 1972. Soon, customers started calling Nakano the Donut Man and the name was stuck with him since then. The Donut Man is now 40 years old and it has become a landmark in Glendora. Nakano still helps out at the shop because this is what he enjoys to do.
They are known for their strawberry filled doughnuts, tiger tails, and peach doughnuts. If these donuts aren’t making you drool already, they also have a wide selection of other donuts and even cream puffs. Let me tell you, their strawberry donuts are the best donuts I have ever tasted, especially their strawberry donuts! The strawberries are so sweet and juicy, the donut is fluffy and soft, and the combination of the two is a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, these fruit donuts are seasonal so they can ensure they serve the best quality of fruits to their customers. If you are ever in the area, you need to try their donuts so you know what I am raving about!
[Photo courtesy of Glendora Patch]