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Who doesn’t like donuts? Probably no one.

These yummy little fried pastries drenched in a heavy sugar glaze bring smiles to children and happiness to almost any office coffee room. Purchased in bags and boxes, and washed down with milk, coffee or juice, these treats seem to be a national favorite.
 
Lone Star Donuts, at 1721 N. Beckley, has been operating at its current location since 1964, after moving from its original 1950 spot on the southeast corner of West Davis and Bishop. This retail bakery with wholesale distribution introduced the automated donut production line to Dallas, and quickly became a staple in the Oak Cliff community. Lone Star has long been the destination of many early morning sprints for breakfast goodies and purchasing on-the-run munchies for the drive to work. Over the years, the bakery’s conveyor system, dripping with sugar, has rolled off more than 3 billion of the yummy treats, filling stomachs and satisfying the sweet tooth of many a Cliffite.

From Lon Oakley, Adamson class of ’65, I learned that while growing up in Oak Cliff, many a boy had either a Dallas Morning News or Dallas Times Herald paper route. According to Oakley, “The experience of working hard for small monetary rewards was compensated when Sunday morning deliveries were followed by gatherings at Lone Star for hot donuts and milk, with one of our dads always going along to pick up the tab. There was nothing better than a hot glazed Lone Star donut to make it worthwhile to have crawled out of a warm bed to fold and deliver newspapers.”

Recently, at a Kimball High School Alumni Association board meeting, I had the pleasure of visiting with Danny Smith, class of ’68, whose uncle, Merrill Burdine, owned and operated Lone Star Donuts. When Burdine built the North Beckley store, offering a better location and more customer parking, he naturally performed a trial run of the bakery’s production system before opening to the public. 

Eleven-year-old Danny and his cousins were at the new store late on a Saturday afternoon when the conveyor belt jolted into action for this inaugural run. The operations went well, as row after row of glistening, piping-hot donuts navigated their way through all the production stages before being placed in boxes and ready for sale.
 
The only problem? The shop had no customers to eat all the little delicacies.
 
The employees and the cousins were able to consume only so many of the sugary treats. Faced with the inevitable decision of dumping a significant number of the leftovers into the store’s garbage cans, Burdine came up with a solution: He told Danny and the boys to give away the goods.

And so they did. Outside, the boys stationed themselves on the street curb, flagging down cars and giving away free donuts.

The Lone Star Donut sign and futuristic architecture have become an Oak Cliff icon over the years. It even acted as the backdrop of an exterior scene from a movie filmed in Oak Cliff during summer 2007. “Closure, the Trouble with Money”, written by Oak Cliff natives Alan C. Elliott and Leon McWhorter and filmed entirely in Oak Cliff, shows the recognizable sign, with the marquee portion reflecting the message: “Angels Love Donuts!” That’s right … and so do Cliffites.

So, the next time you’re cruising down the hill on North Beckley and have a hankerin’ for something sweet, you might drop by Lone Star Donuts. Probably, neither Lon and the other newsboys, nor Danny and his cousins, nor any angels will be passing out free samples from the curb.

But you never know. Anything’s possible in Oak Cliff.
 


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  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    TO SEND PERSONAL COMMENTS OR MESSAGES, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT gkokel@advocatemag.com.

  • Chris Nix

    Our family used to stop by Lone Star Donuts on the way home from Sunday evening church, where my brothers and I would relish the reward for being good little boys.
    What a powerful memory.

  • Carolyn Woody Ross

    I do remember those wonderful donuts. We had them often and it was required especially at church. Wayne Burdine and Chester,his cousin, were in a Tyler Street Methodist adult class with me. I remember Chester being a fun loving jokester and Wayne was more serious. Wayne had restored a very nice vintage boat. I think we all graduated from different high schools. The best of times and great memories!

  • sharon hoerter

    I am really enjoying these readings as well as I enjoyed many Sunday mornings on our way to church and getting to stop for a donut at LSD ! We only got one each (my sister and I ) and we made the most of every, tender, sweet bite as we slowly ate it. ummmm…. Sweet memories.

    Sharon Reed Hoerter, Kimball Class of ’66

  • Bob

    Fortunately for me, my Dad was a donut enthusiast. When Lone Star opened on Davis he took me many, many times for hot, fresh donuts off the line.

    As a result, I cannot really enjoy a cold donut today–60 years later.

  • Annette H.

    Ahhh – what a wonderful memory. Only wish I still lived close enough to partake of those yummy delights, though I’m sure my body is thankful I don’t!!

  • John R

    I distinctly remember the store on Davis & Bishop which seemed to be opened around the clock, but the new store on N. Beckley served as sort of a meeting spot for me and alot of my Adamson classmates. We used to drive up on the levee behind the store, and park as we marveled at the downtown Dallas skyline. We later nicknamed the levee LSD hill, and everyone immediatly knew where it was. LSD stood for Lone Star Donuts.

  • Lon Oakley

    Thanks Gayla for continuing to bring us stories about “our” Oak Cliff. I know it has changed a great deal over the years but the memories don’t fade from a time when life was a about little simpler. Keep bringin’ it!

  • Larry Click

    My very first job was selling Lone Star Donuts door to door on Saturday mornings, (25 cents for a bag of 6, (I got a nickel). I was about 10 or 11 and a man named J R or J W or similar would pick me up at my house and take me to a route,in Wynnewood area usually, (different every week), and I would walk door to door starting early Saturday morning, (7:30). He would check back periodically and resupply me. I’ll never forget my best day, 21+1/2 dozen

  • Benny Kirtley

    What was really nice it was across the street from Wee St. Andrews Minature golf course. Thanks for posting this Gala.

  • Marilyn

    Oh my! what great memories that invokes!Thanks for that walk down memory lane. I still stop there if I happen to be around in the morning. It just can’t get any better than Lone Star!

  • Penny P.

    I can almost smell those warm donuts and my mouth is watering all the way out here in East Texas! Thanks for the great memories.