Diner owner Tony Poleshek Jr. has filled a hole in the New Haven culinary scene. The doughnut hole, that is.
Poleshek, the owner of the Orangeside Luncheonette on Orange Street, began selling his very own square doughnuts last Monday. For $1.50 a doughnut, enthusiasts no longer need Dunkin’ Donuts to get their fix. Apart from being homemade, these square doughnuts are also special to the Elm City — their shape is reminiscent of the city’s grid-like layout.
“Everyone makes round doughnuts,” he said, “so why not make them square?” His decision to depart from the conventional doughnut shape, he said, was influenced by New Haven’s original urban planning design. The city was planned on a grid of nine squares, and Poleshek said he wanted to bring some of the city’s history into the food.
And the new doughnut design is already finding fans.
Loyd Inabinet, a New Haven resident and self-proclaimed “staple” at the establishment, is a big fan.
“They’re excellent! I never really considered the lack of doughnuts until I saw these square guys. But I really like it. I had one of the jelly doughnuts, and it had a lot of filling and it was really well worth the $1.50,” he said.
Non-believers also recognize the power of the square doughnut.
“I’m not really into the whole ‘sugar’ thing, but these doughnuts are delicious. We bring home a box or two of them and I can’t stop eating them!” said Steve, Poleshek’s son, who works at the Luncheonette.
The doughnuts are usually available in five varieties: plain cake, plain powdered, chocolate, cream-filled, and jelly-filled. Additionally, Poleshek said he plans to have two new flavors each week. In the diner’s pilot week, a Caramel Apple doughnut and a Boston Crème doughnut made their debuts.
The Poleshek family has run the Luncheonette for the past two-and-a-half years, Poleshek said. After noticing the dearth of consistently good doughnut sources in the city, Poleshek’s wife, Michelle Poleshek, suggested that he try his hand at making the pastry himself.
On Dec. 31, Poleshek held a promotion in which he gave out free samples of the doughnuts to anyone who walked in the diner. While this was very successful, Poleshek said that the fried cakes are selling like, well, hot cakes. Between 15-20 dozen doughnuts have been sold daily since the pastries went on sale last Monday.
The addition of the square doughnut livens up the dessert menu at the Luncheonette, which previously consisted of the sole milkshake.
While Poleshek set out to make a unique doughnut, his wife does not think that this new addition will create any major changes in the competition level of the New Haven doughnut scene.
“I’m hoping it’s a little competition for Dunkin’, but I don’t know. I think people go to Dunkin’ mostly for the coffee,” she said.
At present, Poleshek is the only one at the diner able to make the doughnuts. But the restaurant’s entire staff is part of the Poleshek family, so others may soon learn, he added.
Employees at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Chapel Street were unaware of their newly sprung competition.
“I haven’t heard anything about it,” said one employee when asked about the diner. A doughnut at Dunkin Donuts costs $1.05, including tax.
The Orangeside Luncheonette is located at 135 Orange St., near City Hall. Doughnuts are sold Monday through Saturday.