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The Doughnut Plant
By Locanananda dasa
Not far from 94 Bowery, Srila Prabhupada’s first official place of residence on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, lies one of the premiere prasadam distribution outlets in America, known as the Doughnut Plant.
Mark Isreal, its founder, has been practicing Krishna consciousness since 1990. He began making doughnuts in the basement kitchen of his apartment building using a recipe first introduced by his grandfather in his North Carolina bakery back in the 1930s.
Mark spent five years perfecting his doughnuts and glazes, attracting some of New York’s most prestigious fine food establishments like Zabar’s and Dean and DeLuca’s as steady customers.
While struggling in a humble way, Mark became a familiar sight around town making deliveries all over the city by bicycle. New Yorkers found his dedication unparalleled.
Two years ago, the Doughnut Plant relocated to a commercial space at 379 Grand Street, not far from where Srila Prabhupada opened his first bank account in America at the First National City Bank, at Bowery and Grand. After the plant moved to the new spot, sales increased tenfold due in large part to the enormous free publicity Mark received in newspapers and magazines and on television. Articles appeared in the New York Times and New York Magazine rating the Doughnut Plant one of the one hundred best places to eat in New York City. Mark appeared on Emeril Live, on Cable Television’s Food Network special "New York City after Midnight," and on the nationally televised Martha Stewart Show. He has even appeared on television in Japan, where there is keen interest in his doughnuts.
When New York City was attacked by terrorists, the crew at the Doughnut Plant went into action. Working in cooperation with the New York City Police Department, they donated many hundreds of doughnuts decorated with tiny American flags to the relief effort. One of the volunteers who worked at the site of the World Trade Center disaster recently published a book entitled Twenty-one Days at Ground Zero. The introduction is a tribute to the Doughnut Plant, whose kind offerings overwhelmed workers assisting in rescue and recovery as well as family members of the victims.
Everyone realizes that what makes these doughnuts super excellent is the care that goes into preparing each and every one of them. The quality of the ingredients in our doughnuts and glazes is unsurpassed. What the public may not know, however, is that the doughnuts are offered daily with love and devotion to the Deities of Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva on a marble altar at the Doughnut Plant.
The devotees work a twelve-hour shift beginning at 11:00 P.M. Their aim is to please Krishna and to distribute His mercy as widely as possible. To date, more than half a million prasadam doughnuts have been produced at the Grand Street factory, and their popularity continues to soar.
Knowing that we depend on the mercy of the Vaisnavas for our success, we invite all devotees visiting New York to stop in at the Doughnut Plant to sample the doughnuts that New York’s top critics have called "the food of the gods" and "the best on earth." We open daily at 7:00 A.M. and are closed Mondays. For directions and further information, please call (212) 505-3700 or visit our website at www.doughnutplant.com.
© CHAKRA 4 June 2002
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