September 15, 2013

Fairfield restaurant takes doughnuts to a whole new level

By Jesse Scardina
Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD —There’s no sign of what hides behind the unassuming facade of the Kennebec Cafe.

click image to enlarge

Ann and John Maglaras, owners of the Kennebec Cafe, have 116 different types of doughnuts available at their Main Street location in Fairfield.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

The Cereal Killer doughnut, one of 116 different types of doughnuts offered at Ann and John Maglaras' Kennebec Cafe on Main Street in Fairfield.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Next to a piece of plywood covering up what used to be a neighboring window, passersby may not even be able to tell the cafe is open.

But locals with a sweet tooth, including a generation of Colby College students, know that tucked tightly in the downtown eatery is a smorgasbord of doughnuts — handmade to order.

For 12 years, cafe owner Ann Maglaras has fried up doughnuts and created a near endless list of flavors, serving thousands of the classic doughy treat to area residents and college students.

Fans should fill up. Maglaras, 60, and her husband, John, 67, are looking to sell the restaurant and move north to the Greenville area.

“We’ve outgrown this place,” Maglaras said, adding that she has had to remove tables because the small kitchen couldn’t withstand the number of orders.

Some of that may have to do with the doughnuts.

When she first started making doughnuts for the restaurant, “I wondered if I could make a hundred different flavors,” Maglaras said.

Resting in front of her on a pearly white serving tray were six doughnuts, each as unique and inventive as the one next to it. There was a Cookies and Cream doughnut, a Pumpkin Roll doughnut topped with cream cheese frosting, and a 4:20 doughnut, with Fritos and whoopie pie filling, which gets its name from the popular code phrase for marijuana consumption.

There is also a doughnut called Cereal Killer — topped with Froot Loops — and one modeled after the king of rock ‘n’ roll.

“That one’s called the Sequined Jumpsuit,” Maglaras said, pointing at an Elvis Presley-inspired chocolate doughnut topped with sliced bananas and a peanut butter glaze, components of Presley’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter and banana.

There are 116 varieties total.

Maglaras said the idea to start frying doughnuts regularly came to her at her previous restaurant, the Eating House.

“My partner then came to work and said ‘I should fry some doughnuts to order,’ and I said ‘Jeez, that sounds like a good idea,’” Maglaras said. “That was it.”

After the Eating House on U.S. Route 201 in Fairfield closed, Maglaras opened up the Kennebec Cafe, which also serves a full breakfast menu. Maglaras started with just four different doughs — plain, chocolate, molasses and squash — before adding dozens to the mix. Every morning, Maglaras gets up at 4 a.m. to start preparing dough for the day and setting up ingredients for other breakfast items before opening the cafe at 4:45 a.m. The couple lives above the restaurant.

“I go to bed in the afternoon,” Maglaras said with a laugh before adding the reason why she doesn’t mind the early mornings. “It’s hard to get a good doughnut nowadays, especially a homemade one.”

Over the years, Maglaras developed unique flavors by looking at conventional and unconventional sources.

“I have a lot of cookbooks,” she said. “I’ll read a cookbook like you would a novel.”

Perhaps her most touching flavor of doughnut is the Willie Wolfington, a chocolate and peppermint candy doughnut named after a dog that one of Maglaras’s employees rescued.

“When he passed away I said I’d make a doughnut and name it after him, and every time someone orders it I’ll donate money to the animal shelter,” Maglaras said.

The flavors range from traditional — chocolate coconut, cinnamon sugar — to the innovative (margarita doughnut, anyone?) to the mysterious — just what is a Fatty Arbuckle?

“A Fatty Arbuckle is a whoopie pie doughnut with a peanut butter glaze,” Maglaras said.

(Continued on page 2)

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