Starch Madness crowns true champion

Marlon Pitter

Connector Editor

There is a reason playoff systems exist: to determine a true champion.

Last week, Sports Editor Shane Foley ranked the top eight donut shops in Lowell, but with the Final Four just around the corner, it’s time to crown Lowell’s true Starch Madness champion.

First Round

No upsets this early in our bracket. Dunkin’ Donuts creams its competition by a long shot. More than eight locations in the city and a standard of excellence propel their donuts over those of East Campus’ University Dining Commons and South’s Mill City Restaurant.

Top Donut wins just on its name alone. If you don’t believe me, visit its two locations in Lowell: 603 Bridge St. or 700 Aiken St. A local favorite, their match between high quantity and quality is unparalleled. Simply put, a better variety of morning treats is hard to find in Lowell.

Market Basket deserves credit for its 12-packs of donuts sold for just 99 cents. For a dozen donuts sold at that low of a price, they’re better than you think.

The Donut Shack’s worst donut could beat Starbucks’ best coffee. They take the cake for quality in the city by far. The store’s only drawbacks are its off-campus location at 487 Westford St., just off South Campus, and its smaller quantities than franchised donut shops.

Still, this should be a one-versus-eight matchup. I’ve never even seen a donut anywhere near Starbucks. It’s far past midnight for this overrated Cinderella.

Honey Dew packs local flavor with chain consistency, a huge plus for the solid four-seed. Like The Donut Shack, Honey’s Dew is minutes from South on Middlesex Street. Their 10 percent discount with UMass Lowell ID is an added treat.

Hawk’s Nest has had great donuts in the past, but I have yet to see one this year. Along with downsizing their menu, donuts seem to be fewer and farther between at the South Campus location.

Semifinals
Dunkin Donuts (1) vs. Honey Dew (4)

Some call it an upset, but I think it’s just desserts. Honey Dew edges past Dunkin’ Donuts on sheer quality. Sure Dunkin’ has more of a selection, but you simply get more bang for your buck at Honey Dew. That 10 percent discount doesn’t hurt either.

Top Donut (2) vs. the Donut Shack (3)

This sugar-coated heavyweight bout is more anticipated than Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. In the 12th round, however, the Donut Shack emerges victorious.

This one comes down to a simple taste test, and the Donut Shack manages to stuff more flavor in a donut than any other store in the city. It wouldn’t matter if they only sold glazed donuts. Quality beats quantity in this match-up.

Though Top Donut falls in the semifinals, the local shop is a juggernaut in Lowell’s donut hierarchy and a true runner-up in my book.

Final Round
The Donut Shack (3) vs. Honey Dew (4)

There is only one Donut Shack, and there can be only one champion. This match-up isn’t as close as the last one for the shack. Honey Dew only lasts about four or five rounds in the title match, but the Donut Shack comes back stronger every time.

Honey Dew is a solid store, but it didn’t have to go through Top Donut or the Donut Shack to make it this far, so this is an overachievement of sorts. Though the bracket didn’t play out this way, Honey Dew is certainly tied with Dunkin’ Donuts for third place in a perfect world.

What weve learned

Popularity and quantity don’t beat quality. All of the donut shops in the bracket are more popular than this year’s champion, but what the Donut Shack lacks in advertising or recognition is made up for in the quality of their products. The best donuts in the city are waiting for you at the Donut Shack.

Marlon Pitter is a former editor-in-chief of the UMass Lowell Connector. Hailing from Hartford, Conn., he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in journalism and professional writing and a digital media minor in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @marlonpresents.

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