The end of 2016 also brings the end of one of Charlottesville, Virginia’s, most beloved family-owned operations: The Spudnut Shop.
Richard Wingfield opened his Avon Street business in 1969, introducing the college town to fried doughnuts made with potato starch. They’re lighter and fluffier than their wheat-flour cousins, and, at The Spudnut Shop, come in varieties including glazed, cinnamon-sugar, chocolate-dipped, coconut, blueberry, and sometimes maple—options perfected with decades of practice. Spudnuts quickly became a local favorite, and when Wingfield died in 2005, his daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Mike Fitzgerald, inherited the business. Lori had already spent her whole life helping around the shop, bringing Mike along shortly after the couple met.
“There are a lot of loyal and great people that we’ve gotten to know over the years,” Mike says, “but there comes a time when you either need to grow the business or make room for something new on the block.” Though the Fitzgeralds are unsure of their next step, they do know that rest is in order. “It’s been a lot of working long hours, and we need a breath of fresh air,” Mike says. “I’m making doughnuts in my sleep.”
To get your spudnut fix one last time, stop by the shop before it closes for good on December 30, 2016. But be sure to bring cash. Just as when it opened forty-seven years ago, The Spudnut Shop doesn’t take credit cards.