PLATED: Arthur Paloukos, of Linda’s Donuts – The Boston Globe

Don’t go to Linda’s Donuts in Belmont expecting to find Linda. According to Arthur Paloukos, Linda was the daughter of the former owner. “It was established in the 1950s or ’60s, I’m not quite sure of the timeline, I’ve heard a lot of different stories,” says Arthur, whose father, John Paloukos, bought the shop in 1983. “He’s been here doing doughnuts ever since, seven days a week,” says Arthur.

John is far too busy taking care of customers to chat. He arrives daily around 4 a.m., and won’t leave until 2 or 3 p.m. Arthur fills us in on his story. “My father was an electrician in Greece,” says the son. “When he came here, he learned how to make doughnuts at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Jamaica Plain, where my mother worked. He heard the people who owned this business were going to sell it, and he jumped on that opportunity.”

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The shop has continued as a family business. “My mother works here,” says Arthur. “She comes in on the weekends to help. My cousins, my grandmother worked here, my grandfather worked here.”

Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

The menu has not changed much in 31 years. “My mother added all the breakfast stuff, and lunch items,” says Arthur. “I’m trying to stay up-to-date, add more egg whites and healthier options, but overall we stay very, you know, a greasy spoon-type place.”

Egg whites? It’s hard to imagine coming into Linda’s and not ordering one (or two) of the melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. Arthur explains what makes them so popular. “I think it’s just the fact that they are made the old-fashioned way, the way they were made back in the ’80s. A lot of people have machines, but [my father] makes them all by hand.”

Prices are old-fashioned too, with doughnuts in classic flavors like jelly stick, honey-dipped, and butternut all $1.17. Coffee rolls and muffins cost $1.50. “We try to base the business on that kind of old-fashioned, old-style coffee shop. We know all of our customers’ names,” says Arthur.

“You know, I have everybody’s coffee memorized, everybody jokes around with everybody, it’s a good atmosphere, you know what I mean?” Linda’s Donuts, 247 Belmont St.,
Belmont, 617-484-9844

CATHERINE SMART

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