Some folks who happen to pass through both Pine Bluff and Fort Smith may think Irish Maid Donuts is a franchise, and they'd be justified for thinking so. After all, the two towns are about four hours driving time in distance, and they serve two very different communities.
But it's not a franchise. Irish Maid started out in the same family tree.
Irish Maid traces its lineage back to two brothers, Frank and Jim Claghorn, who lived in Little Rock. The brothers baked doughnuts and sold them door to door.
Frank ended up moving to Fort Smith, where he started Irish Maid Donuts in 1960. Jim moved to Pine Bluff and started up the identically named shop in 1961.
Jim ran the Pine Bluff shop until 1988, when he
The shop is small, but it has its share of regulars who have been coming in at least once a week for decades. The vanilla cream-filled doughnuts are marvelous, and in my humble opinion, there is no finer maple bar in the state.
The only problem is, Irish Maid in Pine Bluff closes so early. The two-person operation is done at 10 a.m. each day, and if you're late you'll just find yourself staring at the glass door, feeling like a bit of an idiot. Which yes, it's happened to me more than once in my life. More than twice, actually.
Even though we were coming in at the end of the morning, there were still quite a few choices to enjoy, including chocolate glazed, a variety of filled doughnuts, apple fritters,
When we returned to the house, Hunter magnetically approached that cinnabun, and managed to make it disappear quite quickly. I should have taken a photo of that.
I've been trying to get in touch with the Grinsteads to find out what's happening in Pine Bluff - I understand there have been some health issues which have meant they've been able to open every day. I'm hoping for the best for them.
Now you know the connection between the two Irish Maids.
You'll find Fort Smith's Irish Maid Donuts at 4600 Towson Avenue. That phone number is (479) 646-5337 and there's a Facebook page, too.
When in Pine Bluff, check out:
When in Fort Smith, look up these great places: