Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 9, 2014

DELUCA: Frankie's has fans who are sweet on his dough

Niagara Gazette — There is a box of doughnuts on the desk near mine as I write this. They were made this morning and include several of my favorites — cinnamon swirls, chocolate frosted angel creams and the ones with the multi-colored jimmies. I am trying not to walk over and fall into that box, but it hasn’t been easy.

Instead, I’m eating air-popped edamame chips. Seriously. But, that box over there cannot be considered lightly. They’re Frankie’s doughnuts, after all, and around here, it’s understood that a person should not pass by a doughnut from Frankie’s. Because, life is short.

I brought the doughnuts into the building. I went to Frankie’s Donuts Wednesday morning to talk with the owner, Frankie Hernandez, and his lovely life partner, Terry Rolling, about the business that’s been open near the corner of Pine Avenue and Portage Road for 30 years. Terry called me the other day and said someone should write about Frankie. I agreed.  

More than once, when things were glum around here, I’ve thrown my coat on and headed out the door to buy a dozen of Frankie’s best. Sure, they’re high in fat and sugar. But, sometimes, my soul just needs a big, fat doughnut and extras to share. 

So, that’s how I landed at Frankie’s and finally got to meet the man who makes the dough and hand-cuts those doughnuts everyday. And, if you’re keeping a list of Falls businesses that have devoted fans, you need to know about Frankie.  

I thought he was Italian, given his first name and the fact that I have a multitude of Italian cousins named Frankie.  He’s not. He’s Puerto Rican. Years ago, his older brother managed about 20 area Mr. Doughnuts and Frankie got his start at 18, making doughnuts. Eventually Frankie bought the Mr. Doughnut in Niagara Falls and then, given an option, he went independent. About 10 years ago he tried to open a pizza and wings place next door, but eventually, combined the two businesses and now the pizza and wings are just as popular as the doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches.  

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