Legends never die: Stan’s Donuts, a Westwood and UCLA fixture for 55 years, closes
Stan’s Donuts, the beloved Westwood doughnut shop that fed and comforted generations of UCLA students, faculty, staff, locals and tourists, has permanently closed.
The shop served its last batch of doughnuts Thursday. In a statement posted on its website, founder and owner Stan Berman wrote the closure was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is with a sad heart that I inform you that I have made the decision to close my doors and today will be the last day I will be making donuts,” Berman wrote. “Unfortunately COVID-19 made the decision happen sooner, but I hope that you will remember how our donuts made you smile for many years to come.”
The news was first reported by UCLA’s Daily Bruin newspaper.
Denise Snead, wearing a black face mask and gloves, stopped by Stan’s Donuts Friday to pick up some doughnuts and was disappointed to find the shop closed.
“Oh no,” she said as she read a sign posted on the window.
She said a friend had brought Winchell’s doughnuts to work recently, and that made her crave Stan’s Donuts.
“I am just so disappointed and just so sad to see them closed. COVID-19 has just spoiled everything,” Snead said.
Berman, a third-generation baker, opened his shop in 1965 in the heart of Westwood Village at the intersection of Broxton and Weyburn avenues, across from the Fox Theatre. Originally called the Corner Shoppe, Berman described his business as “the smallest little shop you’ve ever seen in your life” to Huell Howser in an episode of the popular KCET travel program “California’s Gold.”
“We smell up the whole area but we have a nice smell. It’s cinnamon and peanut butter,” Berman said. “I have [customers] come from all over the country and basically from all over the world — the Philippines, Israel. I have made friends here, from Nobel Prize-winning doctors to the chancellors of the university.”
Stan’s Donuts was known for its unique doughnut creations. The Peanut Butter Pocket — a peanut butter-filled doughnut topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate chips — was renamed the Huell after Howser’s visit. It became the shop’s most popular doughnut.
The Simpson, with its pink glaze and colorful sprinkles, resembled the doughnuts Homer Simpson frequently indulged in the Fox animated series. For the show’s 20th anniversary, producers shipped several boxes of a dozen of the doughnuts to Fox affiliates.
“That’s the doughnut that he eats all the time. That’s his favorite doughnut,” Berman said.
How “the first destination doughnut in Los Angeles” is able to draw people through snarled traffic for a glazed, gleaming, glutinous ring of fried dough.
Berman’s shop inspired entrepreneur Rich Labriola, and the pair formed a relationship over their shared passion for doughnuts. Labriola opened Stan’s Donuts & Coffee in Chicago in 2014 and has since opened several more locations.
Berman, too, expanded to several other locations but eventually decided to stick with his original shop, closing the others over the years.
In his goodbye note, Berman wrote customers’ “support and friendship has meant more than you know.”
“Thank you for being by my side for all these years.”
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