In New Orleans, Police Officers Don’t Just Eat Donuts, They Make Them.
Cop A Donut first appeared on our radar at 35,000 feet. Simon, Otto and I were on a Delta flight to New Orleans (AKA NOLA). In conversation with Deborah, our friendly flight attendant, she told us about her brother’s business in Kenner, just a short distance from the airport.
Apparently, bro Butch is a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy, and Cop A Donut is where he makes the kind of donuts every cop deserves. By the time Deborah had completed her pitch, the donut shop in Kenner was on our must-do list.
Birth of a Business
Butch and Tonja Geis loved donuts, but didn’t have a clue about how to make them. So they jumped on the internet to learn the techniques that, along with their natural creativity, would ultimately make them donut don and diva of New Orleans.
For nearly a year, the couple practiced making donuts and giving them to the neighborhood kids. Then, in 2015, it was finally show time.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” Butch explained.” Now, there they were, owners of one of the Big Easy’s sweetest spots to give the beignet a run for its dough.
Yes, members of the local constabulary are among Cop A Donut’s regulars, as well as fire fighters, neighborhood folks and tourists. The donuts, and other menu items, are made fresh onsite. Breakfast is served all day, and lunch is also available. Meanwhile, donuts are being baked throughout the day. What’s there not to like? “We put a lot of heart and soul into this business,” said Tonja, “and we strive for freshness and customer service.”
A registered nurse who still works weekends, Tonja is a NOLA native. She has known this foodie paradise of a city all her life, and knows what it takes to make the taste buds dance. As an added benefit to Cop A Donut customers, Tonja also knows what to do if someone passes out from too much of a good thing.
Butch hales from south Florida, where he worked on maintenance of race track computer systems. In 1984, he was transferred to NOLA. But law enforcement was in his blood. Butch’s father was a cop, and he always wanted to follow in his footsteps. Taking the long way ‘round’, he first became a fire fighter and an EMT, before reaching his ultimate goal. Like Tonja, Butch still regularly dons his uniform.
Meanwhile, back at Cop A Donut, in the short time they’ve been in business, Butch and Tonja have come to know their regular customers by name. They even know what they’re going to order before they reach the counter. “We try to make people feel like this is their place to be,” Tonja said, summing up their business philosophy.
Birth of the Boozy Donut
Ever heard of a Boozy donut? Neither had we, until Deborah clued us in on our way to NOLA.
This criminally delicious concoction of a big, fluffy donut filled with a booze infused cream and topped with a glaze, is the invention of Tonja herself. Boozy donuts are made to order – about a five minute wait – and take sugar, dough and icing to a higher level.
Boozy donuts come in a variety of flavors like Irish Car Bomb made with Bailey’s and Irish whisky and Kahlua Mocha made with Kahlua and espresso. I think you get the picture.
Tonja pre-makes her fillings and keeps them in the fridge. When a customer places an order, she pipes the boozy goodness into a plain donut, decorates it, and voila!
Although Tonja is generous with the liquor, you’d have to eat a lot of donuts for Butch to take your car keys. And by that time, you’d be more likely to be in need of Tonja’s medical expertise.
Simon and I opted to share a Kahlua Mocha donut. My reaction to that first bite? “Oh…my…God!” The filling was creamy, and the Kahlua and coffee flavors were in perfect harmony. The rest of the donut? I’m sure it was good too, but I was too much in tune with the filling to notice. All I could think was, “Would I ever love to fall face-down in a big bowl of this stuff.”
We departed with a Kahlua Mocha and a Strawberry Margarita for our friends back home who had been taking in our mail. Since Cop A Donut was a short distance from the airport, it was our last stop before leaving NOLA. This meant our precious cargo would still be fresh when we arrived home, so there was no excuse for indulging in a couple of solid “cocktails” en route. Darn!
Birth of Innovation
Once committed to opening Cop A Donut, Butch and Tonja’s creativity kicked into high gear, and they’re still on a roll. Aside from the ever-expanding Boozy donut flavors – Pina Colada, Rum Chata balls – you can also purchase Boozy donut holes for those who can’t manage a whole Boozy donut. Definitely not recommended for children’s birthday parties or soccer games.
Another unique Cop A Donut feature is the larger-than-average size of the donuts. They come in classic forms – Boston Cream, glazed, sprinkled – Boozy and a variety of gourmet creations. Try a donut filled with crawfish étouffée, pulled pork, red beans and rice or meatballs. You never know what surprises await you.
The combination of good food, unusual taste-tempters and friendly service is a definite winner. On our next visit to NOLA, we’ll be stopping at Cop A Donut both coming and going.
If You Go
Hours: Open Monday, 5 AM to noon, and Tuesday through Sunday, 5 AM to 6 PM.
Cop A Donut
2321 W.Esplanade Ave.
Kenner, LA 70065
Phone : 504-305-4858
This post is dedicated to all those in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to protect us. And in memory of the far too many who have tragically lost their lives in the performance of their duty. ALL lives matter.
Do you have a favorite cop or donut memory? Let us know in the comments.