Yeast Donut with Strawberry Glaze and Sprinkles
Maple Long John
Raspberry and White Chocolate Spiral
Chocolate Cake Donut with Chocolate Glaze
Brookie with Peanut Butter Chips
Home to a rapidly expanding population with some 40,000,000+ yearly visitors it stands to reason that hundreds of millions of folks have tasted Carl’s Donuts since 1966, yet it was not until early April that the supplier of untold numbers of Coffee Shops and Convenience Stores finally re-entered the retail arena with an expansive store on East Sunset.
Last available direct-to-consumer over two decades prior, various middle-men including everything from Casinos to spots like Grouchy John’s offering Carl Sanders’ Pastries in the intervening years, it is reportedly the granddaughter of Carl and wife Lynn who opted for the new concept focused on the “nostalgia of a classic Donut” that is neither trendy nor “over-the-top,” though everything from silver helium balloons to a “Donut wall” indicates Carl’s intention to target the Instagram crowd.
Officially addressed 3170 East Sunset Road as opposed to Carl’s Corporate offices at 6350 Sunset Corporate Drive, already an apparent issue as clerks report the Retail Shop receiving daily calls from would-be patrons unable locate them, it is tucked away near Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah that guests will find two cases of Treats plus several-hundred square feet of tables and empty space, the likelihood of either ever being filled seemingly optimistic considering the lack of foot traffic in the complex as well as longtime favorite Sunrise Coffee within shouting distance.
Living up to Sander’s promise of not trying to compete with the likes of Pink Box or Donut Bar in terms of novelty, the bulk of Carl’s Donuts simple Yeast Rings and Bars shiny with Glaze, it was with greetings from three youngsters that decisions were made amongst various well-priced products, a total of seven for just $11.84 more expensive than Krispy Kreme or Winchell’s but better than one will do at most locally owned Shops in Las Vegas or elsewhere.
Declining staff suggestions for a $4 Stumptown Cold Brew or Donut Wall “Selfie,” the weighty cardboard box instead taken elsewhere to taste, it was starting out with Homer Simpson’s favorite that Carl’s revealed its base to be a spongy mix with texture not dissimilar to what one might get at a Grocery Store, the Strawberry Glaze not as thick or Frosting-like as Dunkin while their Maple Longjohn fared similarly though a bit less sweet than what seems to be industry-standard in an era where Bacon is frequently added to such things.
Moving on to a Blueberry Muffin, its flavorless Berries and granulated Sugar topping an immediate turn-off when better can even be made at home via Betty Crocker, those seeking a good Fritter would better off pointing their GPS in any direction as Carl’s comes across greasy and dense with no perceivable Fruit, the list of better options including but not limited to CRAFTkitchen and Friendly in Henderson or ACE, Coco and Pink Box to the West.
Disappointed to this point, even modest expectations underwhelmed, it was finally by way of a flaky laminated spiral wrapped around White Chocolate Chips and Raspberry Jam that Carl’s finally provoked a smile even though the “Fruit” was anything but natural, the Double Chocolate Cake quickly returning to square one by being both dry and slightly bitter while a Brookie tucked amidst more classic Brownies proved far better by adding melted Peanut Butter Chips to an item that doesn’t exactly ‘fit’ Carl’s promise of nostalgia despite being an improvement in terms of satisfaction.
TWO STARS: Neither ‘artisan’ nor crafted to the small-er batch standards of other mom n’ pop Donut Shops around town it seems odd that Carl’s has opted to turn retail so long after other local brands have established themselves, and while the Donuts may be fine at a Casino Coffee Shop or Gas Station there is little reason for connoisseurs to visit…even the “nostalgia” aspect questionable given the modern décor compared to true classics like Ronald’s, Friendly, Sunshine or Real.
RECOMMENDED: Brookie with Peanut Butter Chips, Raspberry and White Chocolate Spiral.
AVOID: Blueberry Muffin, Apple Fritter, Chocolate Cake Donut with Chocolate Glaze.
TIP: 6a-2p daily.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.