Chloe N. Clark
1305 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53705
Greenbush Bakery is located next to a chain pizzeria and, viewed from the parking lot, one might assume that it’s just some commercial bakery. Once you go inside though, and are hit with the smells of fresh doughnuts, you’d realize your mistake. Greenbush Bakery isn’t just not a commercial bakery, it’s also a fantastic bakery.
Greenbush Bakery has been in Madison for decades and is probably the only place in the city that offers fresh kosher doughnuts. It’s one of those places that all locals know about, but that rarely gets it’s due anywhere outside of the city. When I lived in Madison, as an undergraduate, my walk to campus took me directly past this establishment of doughnut wonder. Or, okay if I’m forced to be absolutely honest, I made my path into one that went directly past it. When it was a Wisconsin winter and well below freezing, stepping into Greenbush Bakery made my glasses steam up and my first deep breath of doughnut-scented warm air was always exhilarating.
The doughnuts themselves are reasonably priced and range from the simple raised-and-glazed (fluffy and with a pleasantly yeasty taste underneath the sweetness, like sugary bread) to the brilliant cinnamon sugar coated doughnuts filled with apple-y gooeyness to, my favorite doughnuts, the chocolate cake with chocolate glaze (the doughnut itself has a very light chocolate taste which is nicely contrasted with the rich intensity of the glaze). Seasonal and special flavors of doughnuts exist as well—I’ve seen everything from Oreo-inspired doughnuts to cranberry-orange fritters.
And speaking of fritters, the absolute must-have at Greenbush is without question their magnificent apple fritter. This may just be a fixture of Wisconsin, but the apple fritter when done right is a majestic thing that exists somewhere between doughnut and pure ambrosia. Greenbush Bakery’s apple fritters are the real deal—gigantic (seriously around the size of a dinner plate and weighing at least a pound), sweet but not cloying because the barely sweetened dough balances out the sweet-tart apple chunks and the drippy sugary glaze. These fritters are best caught when they are fresh and warm, but cold they are also delicious. Basically, they are just delicious at all points and distances in time. Plus, their hulking size lends itself to sharing (I’ve split one with four other people and we all got a satisfyingly large chunk of fritter). Of course, eating an entire one by yourself isn’t out of the question. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.
Of course, all good things must come to an end and eventually I graduated and moved from Madison and my beloved bakery. But, Greenbush continues in my absence and whenever I’m in Madison, it is always my absolute must-stop at place. There is still nothing that helps ease the bite of winter’s frost better than an apple fritter.
Chloe N. Clark is a MFA candidate. Her work has appeared such places as Prick of the Spindle, Rosebud, and Fogged Clarity. Her motto is “Always keep your bakeries on speed-dial.” Follow her on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes.