Cincinnati’s Hip Holtman Donut Dynasty

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Holtman Over-the-Rhine’s Maple Bacon on Blueberry Cake Donut.

 

I have a soft spot in my heart for baking families, as my mother’s family were bakers.    But thankfully, I don’t have a soft spot in my enamel, at least this visit.   The last thing you think you’ll learn about in the dentist’s chair is the legacy of Cincinnati’s hippest donut empire.   Well that’s exactly what happened to me when I recently made my twice yearly cleaning appointment.   Little did I know that my dentist married one of the Holtman donut family, whose Over-the-Rhine donut shop has a line snaking down Vine Street almost any weekend morning.

 

The conversation was a bit one sided.   It’s kinda hard to carry on a conversation when a stainless steel scraper is spanning your mouth.   But it all started with a discussion of local restaurants that offer live music.   My dentist told me about his 80-something year old father-in-law, who still plays the saxophone, and goes out with he and his wife on the weekends to listen to bands, sometimes making a cameo appearance on stage.

 

This saxophone-playing octogenarian is none other than the oldest living original Holtman donut brother, Marvin Holtman Jr.     His brothers Charles and Roger Holtman started Holtman Donuts in 1960 in Newtown, Ohio, to give their father Marvin Sr,. a job after he had lost his as a milk delivery man.     Marvin Sr. opened a second location in Milford in 1964.   Then, as other family members saw the success, they opened multiple locations in Cincinnati.

Marvin Jr. was one of those other family members, who operated two Holtman Donut shops in Norwood, one at Smith, and one Allison Roads near the baseball field.     That’s where my dentist met his wife, Marvin’s daughter, even though he was not a donut fan himself.  I wonder how many of my dentist’s patients are loyal Holtman eaters.

Another family member who branched out was Charles Hotlman’s daughter Marcella Holtman Poole.  She opened Marcella’s Bakery, recently passing it on to her daughter, Carmen Meholick, and Carmen’s son, Tristin Meholick, who now manages the Amelia, Mt. Carmel, and Eastgate locations.   The 21 year old is passionate about growing the business.   He’s landed an account with the Hotel Covington and has released his version of the New York invented cronut – the croissant-donut love child.

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Fourth Generation Holtman descendant, Tristin Meholick, owner of Marcella’s Doughnuts & Bakery.

 

Marcella’s sister, Toni Holtman Lazarin, is the current keeper of the original Holtman donut recipes. She and sister Marcella are two of 10 children of Charles Holtman, all of whom learned to make the signature hand-cut Holtman donuts. Toni and husband Chuck run the Loveland and Williamsburg shops, with help from other family members, while Toni’s son Danny Lazarin and wife Katie are the ones who opened the super-popular Over-the-Rhine location in 2013.

 

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The Holtman Donut Family.

In addition to the traditional Holtman donut recipes, the Over-the-Rhine location offers specialty pastries like the sufganiyot, a deep fried jelly filled donut available during the Hannukah season.   They also make a completely decadent maple bacon-iced blueberry cake donut.      My sister bought Holtman’s  oversized donut cake for one of my nephew’s birthdays and its delicious.

It’s so worth the wait in line for a Holtman donut if you are ever tooling around downtown on the weekend.    But make sure you brush after eating!

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