World’s Fair Donuts is back in business under new ownership. The iconic St. Louis donut shop reopened in the Southwest Garden neighborhood on Jan. 15.
As reported by Feast in December, Strange Donuts owner Jason Bockman purchased the concept from Peggy and Terry Clanton, who closed the shop last summer. According to Bockman, the Clantons opened the bakery, which was originally located in the Fairgrounds Park neighborhood, as Northside Donuts in 1944. The business moved to its current location in 1973, changing the name to honor its new address of 1904 on South Vandeventer – the same year as the World’s Fair in St. Louis.
For the uninitiated, “It’s no-frills quick-service classic donuts: red velvet, blueberry chip, fried pies, old-fashioneds – some people call them sour cream or buttermilk donuts. The glazed is super popular,” says Bockman, who aimed to maintain his predecessors’ established recipes and atmosphere.
The 600-square-foot space – half of which comprises the front-of-house – received some plumbing, electrical and mechanical updates, as well as a fresh coat of paint. Most notably, the interior features a new mural of Peggy, who manned the shop’s counter for decades, by local artist Daniel Burnett
“It’s done in a Rococo style, which is a way that a lot of religious figures are honored while they are still living,” Bockman says. “There are ladybugs for good fortune, donuts and donut implements and a top flag that says ‘Anima Della Madonna’ – the beautiful woman. Additional painting will represent Terry – the baker – and their son Byron.”
The bakery case is stocked with rotating varieties of donuts, with around 16 options available at the start of each day. One flavor of fried pie will also be available each week such as lemon custard, banana cream or cherry. A new addition is an ever-changing vegan option such as a cinnamon twist. Going forward, Bockman hopes to rotate in different varieties of goods to accommodate customer requests.
To drink, World’s Fair offers drip coffee and canned and bottled beverages including water, soda, orange juice, and local Rolling Lawns Farm milk and chocolate milk.
“The reception’s been awesome. Countless numbers of people come in each day to share stories,” Bockman says. “Strange Donuts is here because places like this were here. This is a donut town because of this place. More than anything, I’m honored to carry on the tradition of what this place means to St. Louis.”
World's Fair Donuts is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6am to 2pm.
World’s Fair Donuts, 1904 S. Vandeventer Ave., Southwest Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.776.9975