Made In East Texas: Southern Maid Donuts

Published on Sunday, 28 July 2013 18:42 - Written by

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MAKER: Southern Maid Donuts in Tyler

PRODUCT: Southern Maid offers 25 to 30 different kinds of doughnuts, including six flavors of cake doughnuts, doughnuts with sprinkles, nuts or filled with jelly, lemon or Bavarian cream; cinnamon rolls and twists, apple fritters and chocolate éclairs. Mary Teel said they have the best blueberry cake doughnuts in the world, but their glazed doughnut is the most popular.

BACKGROUND: John Teel was in sixth grade when he began selling doughnuts door-to-door in Tyler during the summer for the owner of Southern Maid. While he was in Tyler, his future wife was growing up in Sherman and also happened to sell doughnuts.

Teel met his wife of 47 years, Mary, when they lived in the same apartment complex in Dallas, and they moved to Tyler in 1971 and bought Southern Maid when the previous owner retired.

Teel said Southern Maid in Tyler opened in the late 1940s or early 1950s across the street from where it is now on Gentry Parkway. They sold doughnuts wholesale to Ideal Bakery Co., now Flowers Bakery, which sold them all across East Texas before there were a lot of small doughnut shops, he said. The Teels began selling strictly retail in 1977.

Southern Maid Donut Flour Co. is a Garland-based franchise that started in 1937 and now has shops all across Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Georgia, Teel said, adding that they have the only one in Tyler, but there are nearby stores in Brownsboro, Mineola and Kilgore. Teel and Mrs. Teel, both 69, run the Tyler shop together from 5 to 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“This is the best location for doughnuts in Tyler,” Teel said. “We feel like we have the best doughnut in Tyler; in fact in East Texas. And we know most of our customers by name.”

CONTACT: Southern Maid Donuts, at 1514 W. Gentry Parkway, can be reached at 903-593-7251.