There was a query on Chowhound a few months ago about Andys Donuts and it seems that once again great minds think alike and the Contra Costa Times recently did a nice story about this little Richmond donut shop that makes its donuts from scratch.
There is also a nice mention of Johnnies Donuts in Lafayette, another from scratch donut maker, and Powderface beignets in Oakland. Link is below.
As far as Andys is concerned Boer says it perfectly Andy's fries up some of the darkest, crustiest, most rustic-looking sinkers you'll find. Here, it's all about the crust. French doughnuts look handmade: ruffled, crusty and puckered. The ratio of crust to crumb -- the soft, cakey interior -- is steep. That makes the doughnut ideal for dunking -- it'll withstand even a double dip and emerge still crusty. An early-morning plain cake at Andy's is a revelation. It's got a thin, crispy shell and a creamy crumb.
The winning donut for me was the orange. There is a true sweet orange taste with bits of orange rind. Ive never had a donut with this great sweet/bitter taste before (mostly sweet though).
I wish the buttermilk bars were a little more tangy, but again that crisp crust is addictive.
All of the donuts are a step above the usual donut shop fare. The maple bars are more than an inch high. There is an extra rise in all the raised donuts. They are substantial too. They are not just light airy fluff.
There was a very nice chocolate coating one a cake donut. Filled donuts are cut in half with a thick layer of fruit filling or custard. The blueberry was very nice. These are no means artisan donuts, but a great example of a donut classic. Bags of donut holes are lined up on the counter. Donuts are sixty cents each. A half dozen was $2.75. I never splurged on a whole dozen yet.
Andys makes a nice cup of coffee, but if you continue down 23rd Street across Cutter Avenue in a strip mall next to I-580 is Cafe Teatro, the only competition to Starbucks for miles and miles. THEY OPEN AT 5:30 AM DURING THE WEEK !!!
It is a pleasant sunny modern coffee house that has high speed WIFI. On Sunday they sell the NY Times.
They brew Mountanos Brothers coffee.
The company started in 1895 and became United Coffee Corp. The company was sold in the 1980 but Michael Mountanous restarted the company under the original name a few months later, roaster by roaster. This is a business that was passed down through the generations.
They offer a line of shade grown coffee as well. In addition, they have a line of teas under the Lindsay brand, named after a daughter.
More info about the coffee company in this link:
Cafe Teatro also carries the teas, but I havent tried them yet. I like the French roast the best which is hearty yet smooth. I wasnt fond of Laurens Blend which I though was too acidic. There are about a dozen different beans that you can buy.
The shop also sells bagels, sandwiches, salads, Paramount piroshkis (too much dough nice spicy filling), Paramount calzones (all crust, minimal filling, ugh) and, of all things, Paramount baked pork buns (shudder - $2.50). I havent tried these yet as they look like something Wonder Bread would dream up. IMO, the counter person may be wrong about the pork buns being from Paramont.
Lots of desserts, some of them Russian cream cake slices and poppy seed roll slices. I have no clue what is going on here, Italian/Russian/Chinese. There were also some Australian cookies in a jar. I'm making this sound more interesting than it is.
I would say stick to the coffee and get your donuts from Andys.
Probably the only piroshki, good or bad, that you can get for miles though.
FYI, in that same strip mall where there is a Longs, there is a new Mexican restaurant under construction called El Mocahete. Has that Chevys look so I think margaritas might be involved.
Andy's Donut Stop
971 23rd St
The CC Times says Andys is open 24/7, but Im not too sure about that. Its really not in the type of neighborhood you want to be in at 2 am either.
2181 Meeker Avenue (right on Marina Way)
Richmond CA 94804
Monday - Friday: 5:30 7
Saturday Sunday: 7:00 whenever