July 30, 2014

What We're Eating: Beiler's Donuts

If you walked through Reading Terminal Market recently and saw a lone female patron with a box of six doughnuts, a spork in one hand and camera in the other, that was me. I had to promise a lot of bystanders that I wasn't going to eat them all.

With a random weekday off from work, I was on a mission to try Beiler's Donuts. It opened just over a year ago, filling the doughnut stand void in Reading Terminal and expanding the Pennnsylvania Dutch family's corner operation full of breads, pies, salads and pickles.

And what a delicious mission it was, as in a suddenly-competitive doughnut town, Beiler's is right up there with Federal Donuts, Frangelli's and others in my book.

First tip: don't be scared off by the line. It almost always wraps around the corner stall near the 12th & Arch entrance but moves very quickly. You can watch the entire doughnut-making process from your spot in line as you get hungrier by the second. See photos below for some of that experience; they really are made right in front you.

Second tip: Order a lot. At 90 cents each or $4.95 for a half dozen, it's absolutely worth trying more than one!

But that begs the question: If you were going in for a half dozen doughnuts, among a counter of at least 30 different varieties, what would you choose? I had to go with a classic glazed, a chocolate with sprinkles (my childhood go-to) and a Boston creme. I couldn't pass up Beiler's most famous warm apple fritter, then added in an apple harvest and a salted caramel.

Warm apple fritter. A must-try.
Salted caramel perfection.

The outcome: The apple fritter is worth every rave review - so fluffy and warm with blended in apple flavor and a hint of glaze on top. Eat it first while it's still warm. The salted caramel is equally mind-blowing, with a heavenly white creme filling, caramel icing and added sprinkled salt. You can tell they are both handmade and fresh out of the oven.

The apple harvest also delivers delicious apple filling, with soft, perfect vanilla icing and cinnamon dusted on top. The Boston creme was a solid rendition of the old standby, and you can't go wrong with the basic glazed, proving that it's really the standard, made-from-scratch Beiler's dough that makes this place special. The chocolate with sprinkles was the only unimpressive of the bunch - not because it was bad, but because it was just average.

I usually head straight to Famous 4th Street for cookies after my Reading Terminal lunches, but now I'll have to seriously debate a doughnut for dessert!

Beiler's corner stand, near the 12th & Arch entrance

About one third of the options

Hand-stamping each doughnut with a nifty roller

Fillings ready to be stuffed

Doughnuts in the fryer

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