There are certain memories from your childhood that stand out for better or worse. Many times they’re a curso de donuts gourmet moving picture show of people, places and events that stir our emotions and pique our senses if only for a brief, warm moment. Is it possible to actually recall a specific smell? You betcha; especially if you grew up anywhere near Madsen Donuts, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio.
Some people plan their vacations based on historical or educational value, the opportunity to totally relax or familial duty. Then there’s some of us who base it on a childhood smell wafting down a summer street in the northeast corner of Ohio. It’s been over 40 years, and I can still smell a Madsen donut. I’ve traveled throughout the country and overseas and have yet to find the quality in a pastry that comes anywhere close to theirs. This year’s trip to Ohio will definitely include my journey to Mecca, this quaint donut shop in “Ohio’s First Summer Resort”.
Geneva-on-the-Lake began summer fun in 1869 when its first carnival park, Sturgeon Point, was built by businessmen Cullen Spencer and Edwin Pratt. Named for the large fish that inhabited the area waters, the park opened July 4 and featured lake access and picnic grounds. It was not long after that Spencer added a boarding house and horse-driven carousel to give birth to the Lake Erie summer resort. In the early 1900s, residents would see John D. Rockefeller, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford relaxing outside their tents by the campfire preparing for another day of camping, fishing and fun.
Generations of gentry and working class alike have flocked to Geneva-on-the-Lake for the fishing, the “Wine and “Vine” Trail, big band sounds, dancing, the Miss Geneva on the Lake contest, and since 1938, Madsen’s Donuts. The shop was purchased from Mr. Madsen in 1974 by Harry and Bev Biery. The Biery’s had grown up with the fresh, creamy donuts and could think of no better way to keep the tradition strong. In 2005, Keith Biery and his wife bought Madsen’s from his parents. Their fond memories of summer days living and breathing fresh donuts prompted them to also keep tradition alive.
Madsen’s personal quality stands out in a prepackaged, drive-up donut world. Biery begins his donut day at 5 a.m. following the original Madsen recipes. All ingredients are made from scratch including cream fillings and icing. An estimate of ingredients in a season are 4200 pounds of cake dough and 1800 quarts of raised dough. Specialties include cinnamon stick, jelly, cream stick, raised sugar and of course the staple glazed donut. Madsen’s celebrates 72 years of excellent donuts and exceptional service in 2010. You can find them serving up sprinkles and smiles summer days from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 5426 Lake Road East.