Food & Drink

Funky Town Donuts is the (gluten-free) toast of Cowtown

The gluten-free doughnuts go fast at Funky Town Donuts. We tried the Hawaiian, back, Bramble Berry, left, and Strawberry, right.
The gluten-free doughnuts go fast at Funky Town Donuts. We tried the Hawaiian, back, Bramble Berry, left, and Strawberry, right. DFW.com

Teresa Fessler and her daughters were on a doughnut quest on a recent Sunday morning.

They drove about 25 miles from Haslet to Fort Worth to get a taste of what everyone’s been raving about: Funky Town Donuts.

But, like any quest, it would involve a bit of adversity: a 20-minute wait before they could cross the threshold of the 600-square-foot Willy Wonka-like doughnut factory to get a glimpse of the gourmet goodies. Flavors ranged from maple bacon to key lime pie to the Pom Bom, a pomegranate glazed number topped with toasted coconut, almonds and a dark chocolate drizzle.

Funky Town even makes gourmet gluten-free doughnuts, but that’s another, more involved quest I’ll get to later.

Wedged next to a Jimmy John’s at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Rosedale, Funky Town has been opened about a month or so now, but word of its wondrous flavors has spread fast. Owner Brandon Mors said they’ve sold out each day so far. And it has attracted some high profile fans: On the same Sunday I met Teresa and her family in line, Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels tweeted a photo of his Funky Town dozen, all covered in sprinkles.

The shop changes flavors daily, Mors said, but the most popular so far has been maple bacon. There’s also double-stuff, a glazed doughnut topped with crushed Oreos, vanilla icing and a miny white chocolate bar. My son devoured one of those. And Teresa’s girls couldn’t resist the glitter -- a glazed doughnut topped with edible glitter in several sparkly colors. (Of course, there’s purple. Go Frogs!)

Mors, the former food and beverage manager at the Ashton hotel downtown, has been overwhelmed by the show of support for his new business, a family affair he runs with his wife, Angie, and mother, Ruth.

Mors said his father was the inspiration for the idea. He was a Denton police officer for 25 years, and Mors said many of his fondest childhood memories were hanging out with dad at the doughnut shop.

But making doughnuts is hard work. Like sleepy Fred the Baker from those iconic Dunkin’ Donuts commercials -- Time to Make the Donuts -- Mors and company are up at 1 a.m. most days to make dough and glaze from scratch. And then there’s that matter of the gluten-free doughnuts.

Funky Town is one of the few doughnuts shops in DFW to offer gourmet gluten-free doughnuts. Made with rice flour, they’re only available Wednesdays and Sundays, so if you think you have to get up early to get one of the more popular flavors at Funky Town, you better set three alarms to grab a gluten-free doughnut.

I tried for several weeks, and came up empty each time.

“They’re very popular,” Mors said. “It was just an option nobody was doing. I wish I could make more but I have limited fryer space.”

Finally, on Father’s Day, I lined up with about 25 others at 7:45 a.m. I put on a determined, gluten-free game face.

But as I eavesdropped on the conversations in front of me, and realized they were all about getting some gluten-free doughnuts, and all the other gluten-free finds around town (“Max’s Wine Dive does great fried chicken! Pizza Snob has the best crust!”) I began to worry I’d be leaving hungry and empty-handed again.

Mercifully, Funky Town limits gluten-free doughnut purchases to six. By the time I got to the counter around 8:20 a.m., I had my choice of the Hawaiian (glazed with toasted coconuts), bramble berry (blackberry lemonade, topped with a fresh blackberry and lemon zest), and strawberry.

I asked for one of each, not knowing when I’d be up this early again.

The Hawaiian was my favorite, sweet icing balanced by the earthy crunch of the coconut. The bramble berry was beautiful to look at, but a bit too sweet and sticky for my taste. I did enjoy the fresh blackberry, though.

The strawberry was solid but not quite as creative as the Root Beer Float and Samoa doughnuts on the regular menu. (Darn you, celiac disease!)

All that said, bravo to Funky Town for making gluten-free doughnuts -- and for making them edible. The courteous employee at the counter also offered to change her gloves before grabbing my doughnuts, a sure sign that they’re sensitive to issues of cross-contamination for people with celiac disease.

Truth be told, most of the gluten-free bread products I’ve tried so far have been awful -- a spongy reminder of what I can’t have any more. So I was pleasantly surprised by Funky Town’s doughnuts, which a nice texture -- kinda like a cake doughnut with a bit more bounce.

For those of us who have bid farewell to the fabulousness of a gooey glazed, fried doughnut, this is about as good as it gets.

No wonder so many people have made it a quest to come to Funky Town.

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