Reader tips rarely steer us astray here at Heavy Table. So when we got an email last month about a new-ish cafe in Belle Plaine, of all places, we gassed up the car and took a drive. Main Street Donuts & Deli, we were told, is a “new local treasure,” with fresh doughnuts, hearty burgers and sandwiches, and even a few Asian dishes. Considering we once drove 350 miles to eat at several supper clubs across two states, a 40-minute trip to check out some doughnuts was an easy sell.
The good news: The doughnuts ($1-2 / each) hit the spot. Light, tender, and appropriately iced, the classic flavors and shapes — cake and raised, glazed and sugar-dusted, round and twisted — showcase how delightful a simple doughnut can be without gobs of frosting or sugary toppings. Favorites include the chocolate-frosted long john and the maple-glazed cake doughnut, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Would we make a special trip to Belle Plaine just for these doughnuts? No, but they’re a good reason to stop if you’re in the area.
The not-as-good news: The other dishes we tried don’t rise above your standard lunch fare. The pretzel burger ($9) doesn’t come close to its doppelganger that we devoured at the Gold Nugget Tavern in Minnetonka a couple of years ago. The thick, dense patty doesn’t fill out the crushed, lackluster bun and tends to slip out from the bread with each bite. (Perhaps a little layer of mayonnaise would help it stick a bit better.) The burger also arrives overcooked without a hint of pink, resulting in a dry bite that would be improved with the addition of ketchup if any were on the table. The crinkle-cut fries hearken back to the elementary school cafeteria — perfectly edible but forgettable.
The spring rolls ($4) offer loads of crunch and freshness from the crisp vegetables and rice noodles but little zing. The dipping sauces help somewhat but don’t make the dish crave-worthy. The phun bowl ($8) features your choice of chicken, beef, or shrimp mixed with spicy cabbage, peppers, and carrots atop a bed of white rice. The dollops of sour cream, intended to mitigate the dish’s heat, instead shut down the flavor entirely. Even leaving the sour cream behind, though, the bowl doesn’t come across as much more than a simple, belly-filling meal.
Cute, comfortable, and custom-made for families or the solo diner grabbing a quick lunch, Main Streets Donuts & Deli may not be worth the drive just for a meal, but it’s a fine option if you’re in town for apple picking or shopping at the state’s largest candy store. It’s not a diamond in the rough, unfortunately, but if you’re looking for some deli sandwiches and doughnuts at reasonable prices, you’ll find them not far off 169 in this little deli.
Main Street Donuts & Deli
Deli in Belle Plaine
108 W Main St
Belle Plaine, MN 56011
Mon and Wed 5am-4pm
OWNERS: Tim and Linda Heng
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE PRICE: $5-9