The town of Clare (yes, the same name as Clare Cosi, the amateur sleuth in Cleo's series) has always been known for being a great point to stop on the way to Michigan's well known northern towns. It had gas stations, diners and the infamous Doherty Hotel. The Doherty gained some notoriety back in the day as a gathering place for the infamous Purple Gang.
Now we can add Cops & Doughnuts to the annals of secret hiding places the gang used back in the 20's and 30's. How are a gang of thugs known for mayhem and chaos linked to a group of nine Clare police officers? Let me share some of the fascinating things we learned this weekend while visiting with Greg Rynearson, cop-owner and Clare police officer.
The Clare City Bakery opened in 1896 with the Foss family at its helm. It went through a few different owners until 2009. This was when rumors began circulating that the bakery would be closing.
Greg and his fellow officers tracked down the lead and heard the sad truth that yes, the bakery was closing! Now these are the guys that keep Clare safe for residents and travelers alike. They patrol the streets, help find lost dogs. They couldn't stand by and let the doughnut shop close!
So two weeks before the schedule closing, which would occur on the 113th anniversary of the opening, the guys gathered over a pizza lunch and decided to come to the rescue.
They were going to buy the doughnut shop! And on the top of the pizza box they divided a circle nine ways to determine ownership and once again saved the day!
|Nancy's husband Les' favorite was the |
"Bacon Squealer," a maple frosted
donut topped with two slices of bacon!
In those two short weeks they took ownership, and instead of closing on the 113th anniversary, they had a grand opening!
For the first 3 weeks the lines were out the door, sales increased 22% over projection, and on the second day they ran out of doughnuts!
As we chatted with Greg, both Les and I could hear the love he feels for his hometown.
Any day they're open, you'll usually find one of the "cop-owners" there happy to sit down and tell their story. What amazes me is that they're all still working at the police department full time.
|Lemon "Behind" Bars |
(lemon bars with Cops' attitude) $1.79
When you visit (and you must visit!), you will see some wonderful old photos of the gang. Another thing that impressed us was the international exposure this little doughnut shop has gotten since opening. They have photos of their t-shirts being worn all over the world.
|Kee Kee stands in front of the display of hats and patches|
from police departments all over the world, as well
as a flag given to Cops & Doughnuts by troops overseas.
After enjoying our coffee Al "Bubba" White, another cop-owner took our mug shot and then Greg told Les to make sure to check out the bathroom. The bathroom? OK, Greg....well, let me just say I have never seen a bathroom decorated as a prison cell!
|This is Sherry having a great time hand frosting |
the doughnuts. "Yes," Nancy said, "they actually
hand frost their doughnuts!"
Now how can we possibly write a blog post about a doughnut shop and not talk about the doughnuts? Well, we can't! As I told Cleo: These doughnuts are as big as a pie! We tried as many as we could and loved each of them and wished we had room for more.
|Connor, an aspiring Iron Chef, |
enjoys a Cops and Doughnuts
"Elephant Ear" (Connor created
a potato Latkes recipe for this site,
click his photo to get his recipe. :))
Their coffee was equally as wonderful and... You can even order their coffee for yourself online. Click here to learn more.
Cleo now has Cops Coffee as her current "coffee pick" on her website, so if you sign up for her weekly free coffee drawing, you might even win a free package. Just send an e-mail that says "Sign me up" to VillageBlend@aol.com
To say that Les and I had a great time is an understatement. We were warmly welcomed everywhere we went, and it was hard to leave. We will be returning to Clare this summer for another visit, and we know that we will be welcomed back with a smile, a cup of great coffee, a pie sized doughnut and we will hear "thanks for shopping Clare!"
they love new friends! Click here to visit.
to enjoy with your Cops Coffee...
A note from Nancy Prior Phillips: Sundays were a special day growing up in our house. My mom (Henrietta** Prior) always made a big breakfast for us. One of our favorites was this coffee cake, which is how it was named Please Mom cake!
**My mom's given name was not Henrietta but "Harriet Louisa," bless her heart. But my dad always called her Henrietta...so much so that once, at a parent-teacher conference, when my mom introduced herself to my teacher as "Harriet," I tugged on her coat sleeve and reminded her that her name was Henrietta. Sweet memories. I think a "Please Mom" Cake would be a perfect accompaniment to a hot cuppa Cop's Coffee, what do you think?
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup peach, strawberry, OR pineapple preserves (first time I made this I used all three because I didn't read the directions carefully...it was great!!)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions: Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender to make a fine crumbly mixture. Add egg and milk; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a generously buttered 9-inch square pan. Spoon both preserves over the batter, then swirl through the batter with a knife. Mix topping ingredients with fork or fingers until crumbly and sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, until done. Cut into squares and serve while still warm.
Makes about 9 squares.
good care of Les and Nancy! ~ Cleo
(more photos and history), click here
To "like" Cops Coffee
on Facebook (a fun community!),
at their online store, click here
on your field trip--and sharing such a wonderful recipe.
God bless your mom (and you and your adorable family)
and all those wonderful cops in Clare, MI,
who are showing us how to "protect and serve"
in more ways than one! :)
for me or Nancy, just click the comments
button below. Cheers, everyone!