Jennifer Gardener shows off a tray of best-selling donuts. For a fun twist at Donut Chef, order up your own personal donut composed from their selection of 10 fillings, 10 toppings and seven icings, including Fruity Pebbles, Reese Cups or Gummi Bears! (contributed)
Jennifer Gardener shows off a tray of best-selling donuts. For a fun twist at Donut Chef, order up your own personal donut composed from their selection of 10 fillings, 10 toppings and seven icings, including Fruity Pebbles, Reese Cups or Gummi Bears! (contributed)

Archived Story

Helena has a new coffee shop

Published 3:55pm Monday, July 29, 2013

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Welcome to Helena’s newest coffee shop; you will want to check out the donuts while you are there. Perhaps enjoy the maple bacon or banana pudding donut or apple or peach fritter.

Try the kolaches, and customize with turkey, bacon, sausage and cheese, even jalapenos, if you like. On the weekend, fresh warm beignets are an option, and are also available by special order ahead at any time.

Making donuts, as it turns out takes considerably more time than eating one. Jennifer Gardener, owner of Donut Chef with her husband Tom and brother-in-law David Gardener, described the process for me.

First, of course, the batter is prepared, then must sit ½ hour. The dough is divided into quarters, then allowed to rise another half hour. At this point, the dough is rolled out and put in the proofer for an additional 30 minutes. The donuts are then ready to fry and glaze.

The Gardeners, originally from the Ft. Wayne and Chicago areas, have lived in Helena about 15 years. “We love it here; it’s a quiet town and the schools are great,” say Jennifer and Tom, whose two daughters, Ashley and Alexis attend local schools, as do David’s daughters, Lauren and Makayla.

“We want people to know this is a family friendly environment; we have room for small business groups to meet; comfortable seating and free WIFI. It is a safe place for youth to hang out with their friends.”

“We want to get the word out to schools and churches that we are here and also that we are available to partner with them for fundraisers.”

Donut Chef plans to have school and sports-themed donuts, softball or football-shaped donuts or megaphones, for example.

Donut Chef also serves smoothies and frozen and iced and flavored coffees. Their espresso machine can brew up lattes, cappuccino, café mocha, even a caramel macchiatto.

Donut Chef is located at 4685 Shelby County 17 (near CVS) and open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday they are open until 9 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Find more information on their Facebook page.

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