PEABODY — In a world where it seems you’re never more than a block away from a cruller, why would this city need yet another doughnut shop?
It’s simple, said John Akatyszewski of Ziggy & Sons’ Donuts; it’s all about the quality.
A half-century-old tradition in Salem, Ziggy’s recently opened its second shop on Lowell Street in Peabody. Of course, there are franchise doughnut shops barely a stone’s throw away, but Akatyszewski doesn’t see them as real competition.
For one thing, he believes that the chain shops have dropped the ball when it comes to their core product — doughnuts.
“I don’t think they’re selling a whole lot of doughnuts,” he said, pointing to menus emphasizing coffee, sandwiches and drinks. Ziggy’s offers coffee and drinks, as well, but the doughnuts, handmade each day, remain the backbone of the operation, from glistening glazed to generously creamed Boston cremes and plump, oozing jelly doughnuts.
“We pack ’em full,” said Akatyszewski, who takes few holidays because, “I don’t trust anybody to make the doughnuts the way I do.”
The shop offers up to 16 varieties made “from scratch,” with a recipe handed down from his late father, Zygmund, the source of the name Ziggy. The precious mix and ingredients, mainly bread flour, sugar, shortening and salt, aren’t written down anywhere.
“I keep them here,” Akatyszewski said, tapping his head.
But it’s not just the ingredients that make the doughnuts special.
“You’ve got to have gentle hands to mix the dough,” he explained. “And you can’t learn how to make doughnuts in a day.”
He cooks them in a vintage fryolator in Salem and carries them to Peabody each day. Akatyszewski knows when the doughnuts are right, because he loves eating them himself. And because they’re made right, he insists, they’re easy on your digestive system.