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REVIEW: The Dapper Doughnut Made Me a Believer

By Kyle Young

The Dapper Doughnut, new to Sparks, but on the franchise doughnut scene since 2015, opened in the Baring Village shopping center about two months ago. The owner, Jeano Dendary, has been in the pastry game for more than 20 years.

Lil’ Orbits custom-built fryer and freshly fried doughnuts. Image: Kyle Young

The online menu says “Be Dapper” beneath the white outline of a wriggling handlebar mustache. Careful attention has been paid to the appearance of the doughnuts, the packaging, and the brand imagery. The custom-built fryer is an impressive piece of culinary machinery.

Dapper doughnuts, according to the verbiage on their menu, are “Hot Mini Doughnuts: always made fresh to order.” The same proprietary “doughnut template” gets used for all the flavor variations. The template consists of a one-bite “cake style” doughnut that is “light, moist and slightly crunchy,” according to their website. The franchise capitalizes on the American attraction to miniaturization and customization.

What does it mean to buy local?

At this point, I’m sure there are some Reno foodies cursing me for highlighting a franchise instead of a completely local eatery. This article is not a condemnation or an endorsement of Franchise Food America. I choose to patronize any eatery that serves tasty food (sorry OG and TB), and The Dapper Doughnut definitely qualifies.

In an ideal world, I would only support strictly local businesses. Our world, though, never has and never will be ideal. Some local businesses will always get eaten up by corporations and franchises who are doing the same thing, only better.

The same franchises and corporate tentacles employ people, local people. Some of them even offer profit-sharing, health insurance, and generous maternity/paternity policies. Most of the time, these restaurant/eatery jobs don’t provide six-figure salaries, but they remain flexible and paying jobs nonetheless.

Franchise Food America has long lived on the fast food ideal where a compromise in food quality results in a compromise in product price. The economic upswing has F.F.A. attempting to cash in on culinary trends toward the gourmet, the artisanal, and the from-scratch. Eateries across the U.S. are exploring the American palate in search of the perfect balance between food quality and price.

How does The Dapper Doughnut weigh in on quality versus price?

Dainty and tasty. Image: Kyle Young

Just $6.99 buys you six fried little beauties and your choice of coffee, milk, juice, water, or soda. The coffee comes from a roaster in Las Vegas. The shop grinds the beans and brews fresh coffee every morning. They also serve an intriguing and somewhat ominous-sounding doughnut milkshake. Judy, a shop employee, advised that the shake can be made with any doughnut variety and you get a bonus doughnut on the straw.

Flavor concepts for the doughnuts include: cinnamon sugar, chocolate powdered sugar, white powdered sugar, granulated sugar, s’mores, turtle, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate sprinkle, nutella dream, fluffer nutter, blueberry lemon, strawberry bella, PB&J, and birthday cake.

I cashed in on their offer for six free sugared doughnuts after signing up for their newsletter. I also purchased the six-doughnut-combo with coffee. The price of Dapper doughnuts is a little steep for my particular wallet, but the delicate and crisp texture of the doughnuts married with thoughtfully chosen toppings make for an especially delicious, quick breakfast.

Here’s a breakdown of the doughnuts I ate:

  • Cinnamon Sugar: This classic doughnut was delicate, airy, and had a great ratio of cinnamon to sugar.
  • Turtle: The doughnut was topped with chocolate and caramel sauces and chopped pecans; it wasn’t too sweet, and I really enjoyed the pecans.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: This doughnut was almost like a chocolate peanut butter cookie with the slightly crisp texture.
  • Birthday Cake: This one had a sweet icing and a little texture from the sprinkles.
  • Loco Coco: This variety was drizzled with chocolate sauce and then topped with shredded coconut. The texture and flavors were subtle and enjoyable.
  • Fluffer Nutter: This one tasted just like the classic sandwich with peanut butter and marshmallow.
  • Blueberry Lemon Glaze: The lemon glaze held its own with a sharp lemon flavor; the fresh blueberry added a subtle fruity flavor and freshness. This one was by far my favorite.

Are the doughnuts worth a try?

I can say without reservation that I genuinely enjoyed every flavor I tried. This is coming from someone who generally prefers a full-sized, bready doughnut. The Dapper doughnut is a very well-designed vehicle for the toppings. The doughnuts firm up a bit after cooling, but retain a pleasant texture. After sampling the doughnuts myself, the website description of light, moist, and slightly crunchy is spot on. The coffee had a nice flavor, but it was brewed a little weak for my preference.

They offer a number of specials, some weekly and some always available. Go in on your birthday for free doughnuts. Reed High School students receive 20 percent off doughnuts and can purchase the six-doughnut-combo with drink for $6 flat. I’m told the doughnuts are big hits at baby showers, potlucks, and graduation parties. Stop in on June 1, National Doughnut Day, to pick up four free sugared doughnuts.

Jeano, Judy, and Dotti offered me warm hospitality that reminds me why I love Sparks. I met one of their regular customers, a Reed High School student named Angel Baker. She frequents the shop almost daily. If I haven’t convinced you to try The Dapper Doughnut yet, take it from Miss Baker, “Their doughnuts are bomb!”

Find The Dapper Doughnut at 1353 Baring Blvd. across from Reed High School. Their shop occupies a corner space in Baring Village near Amy’s Flowers. They are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. For catering inquiries or other questions, call 775-432-1935. Visit them online at thedapperdoughnut.com/reno-sparks/.

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