Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007

College Park doughnut shop believes in fun

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Photos by Brenda Ahearn⁄The Gazette
Some of the doughnuts available at the Fractured Prune restaurant in College Park.
Prunella Shriek was a 19th century landowner from Ocean City. An athlete into her 70s, she joined the men of her day in ice skating and skiing competitions. Due to her age and brittle bones, she was known to return from these sporting events with injuries. Her neighbors called her ‘‘Fractured Prunella.”

When a store owner in Ocean City wanted a name for his new shop, he read about Shriek and since she owned a lot of the land in the area, named his store the Fractured Prune in her honor. He liked the idea of a naming his store for a spunky old lady who lived life to the fullest.

Prince George’s County native Sandra Tylor bought the Fractured Prune name and doughnut-making equipment from the original owner in 1985. While the original Ocean City shop closed years ago, the company has grown to 20 stores. Eight more are on the way.

Among the existing stores is the shop at 7313-H Baltimore Avenue, College Park. Originally from Hyattsville, Tylor still has relatives in the area. Although she resides in Ocean City, she says, ‘‘It’s nice to be in Prince George’s County, where I’m from.”

Running the business is a family affair — Sandra’s daughters Colleen Kaufman and Cindy Fletcher, along with her son-in-law Tad Kaufman are her partners.

‘‘We don’t just serve doughnuts, we serve an experience,” Tylor says.

Tad Kaufman agrees.

‘‘I love to be loud ... have people laugh at me, with me.”

Employees at the College Park store say that joking with Tad enhances the experience.

All of the Fractured Prune’s doughnuts ($1.25 each; $5.95 per half dozen; $9.25 per dozen) are custom made. Customers can choose from a menu of specialty doughnuts or pick their own assortment of glazes and toppings.

First, a freshly made doughnut is dipped in a glaze (such as maple, banana, mocha, mint, caramel, cherry or chocolate), then the glaze is coated with a topping (such as coconut, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips), and lastly it is covered with one of three sugars (powdered, granulated or cinnamon).

Even if you stick to the menu of specialty doughnuts, you have plenty of choices, including:

Strawberry shortcake (strawberry glaze, graham cracker topping and powdered sugar), the Reese’s Cup (peanut butter glaze, mini chocolate chips) and pebble beach (honey glaze, cinnamon sugar and mini chocolate chips). To honor the store’s namesake, there is the Ms. Prunella (mixed berry glaze, cinnamon sugar) and to commemorate the city where it all started there is the O.C. Sand (honey glaze, cinnamon sugar).

One very popular doughnut is the French toast (maple glaze, cinnamon sugar).

‘‘First time I had one, my knees buckled,” said Joe Harris of Upper Marlboro, who visited the College Park store with co-workers.

The Fractured Prune also serves breakfast sandwiches all day. Scrambled egg, egg with cheese, or an egg with cheese and your choice of meat ($1.95-$4.25) are served on a bagel or bread. This being the Fractured Prune, the doughnuts are not left out of the act.

You can opt for a Prunewhich, which has the same choices for filling, but is served between the halves of a warm doughnut.

There is also the ‘‘Hole in One,” a doughnut topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

True to the topsy-turvy nature of life at the Fractured Prune, many customers like to start off their day with this treat for breakfast.

Living life to the fullest. No doubt Prunella Shriek would be pleased.