Greetings from the Gulf: September

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Go ahead, be a Meaney not once but twice

By John Morton

With a name like Meaney’s, you have to be kind.
Or at least not cruller than most. Ha! Donut tell me that wasn’t a good one. Double ha!
And this will continue until you get your filling. Until you are glazed and confused.
Sure enough, the owners of the newest Meaney’s mini-donut mecca were as nice as can be on opening morning, letting me into their kitchen to chat. It was the equivalent of the Keeblers letting the Cookie Monster into their treehouse.
I’ve lost a few pounds in recent months — hence the new headshot (oh, the vanity!) — so little did they have visual evidence of my former donut-eating prowess. Growing up, my father and I every Saturday morning would hit the stools at the counter of our neighborhood Mr. Donut shop and crank down a bunch of deep-fried dandies.
My dad’s name is Ray, and dough-ray-me was his tune, baby.
My oldest sister Mary even dated the shop owner’s son. Yes, us Mortons totally knew what we were doing.
I used to order plain donuts and I don’t recall too many options back in those days. But remember, I’m the one who used to order dry Anna’s sandwiches on our Siesta Key visits! Dumb kid.
Anyway, watching the other day the Meaney’s donut designers create little masterpieces with assorted frostings and powders was quite the delight. And to do so on such a tiny subject!
Too pretty to eat? Almost. Let’s not get carried away here.
Hey, to learn more about the new Meaney’s operation on Old Stickney Point Road, visit the front page of our second section.
Now, I’ve seen the long lines at their Siesta Village location, so I knew Meaney’s was a hit. But meeting Thom and Ann Williams in the parking lot of the new place further reinforced folks’ dedication to these donuts. Just like they did at the other two Meaney’s locations (there is also one on St. Armands Circle), they made sure they were first in line to hand the business its first dollar bill. And here a buck literally buys you a donut!
I’m so happy to see the donut make a triumphant return. Remember how it lost its lofty status for a few decades, considered too naughty? People would say the only healthy part was the middle. How un-holey of them!
They were shunned much like the cigarette. Which is curious, seeing as I recall how a chocolate-iced and a Marlboro Red was considered the breakfast of champions in my 1970s childhood. Remember John Belushi’s Olympics decathlon commercial spoof on SNL? Funny, “America Runs on Dunkin’” wasn’t even a concept then.
Speaking of which, how disrespectful to the almighty donut that a dying company can drop that magic word and simply go with “Dunkin’” and make a fortune. They want us to believe that people are just grabbing a coffee to-go? “The 30-pack of bear claws is our little secret” says the gal at the window with a wink.
I like how Meaney’s is a walk-up window operation. Everyone watches what you get. You have to take ownership in your order. You are proud of those extra sprinkles.
Come to think of it, I’m going to proudly and smugly display my Meaney’s plain mini donut on social media. Finally, I can get even with the snooty culinary creeps in my age group who have been posting their meals online for years on end.

Oh, it just hit me: America might run on Dunkin’ but we Siesta on Meaney’s. There’s the slogan.
By the way, while hanging out in the Meaney’s parking lot and watching the plaza receive a facelift, it was another reminder of how the business landscape on the south end of the Key continues to take shape. Whether you are a fan of the proposed hotel down there or not, and recent developments leave that even more an unknown, one can’t help but wonder how that area could look and feel if at full force. I think it does have the ability to match the Village’s energy and offerings. Whether that would be good or not is obviously a personal preference.
One thing that isn’t doing the south end any favors is that 7-Eleven parking lot. Good grief. They have no business selling coffee with those potholes.
What I do like is the idea of businesses having a north and south location on the Key. Keep ’em coming! We’ve had the two Davidsons for years, recently a second Daiquiri Deck, and now another RE/MAX and Meaney’s.
And you’ll recall the pair of Anna’s locations for several years. Did I ever visit both in a single day, you ask? You bet I did.
Look out Meaney’s, you’re next. And, likely, so is the return of my old headshot.

(John Morton is managing editor of the Siesta Sand.)

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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