Strange Donuts owner Jason Bockman reopens World’s Fair Donuts

St. Louis was shocked when World’s Fair Donuts closed at 1904 S. Vandeventer Ave. last summer. Strange Donuts owner Jason Bockman reopened the South City establishment today, Jan. 15 – and sold out in three hours.  

The shop originally started on Grand Avenue in 1944 as Northside Donuts, later moving to its well-known Shaw location. Peggy and Terry Clanton owned the shop until it closed in July 2019. Bockman said the Clantons initially planned for their son to take over the space, but after he unexpectedly passed away, they sought Bockman’s advice on how to move forward.

He subsequently decided to purchase the space as a sort of Strange Donuts outpost. “I said I wouldn’t change anything,” he said.

The shop offers around 16 doughnuts, Bockman said, and will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. or sold out. On opening day, World’s Fair sold out around 9:15 a.m.

left: owner jason bockman; right: a mural honoring former owner peggy clanton // photo by adam rothbarth

Bockman said a commissary kitchen currently prepares and delivers the doughnuts daily, but he’d like to renovate the World’s Fair kitchen to be able to handle the volume.

In a departure from his usual brand, Bockman said the new space won’t offer the over-the-top specials Strange Donuts is known for. Instead, the doughnut selection will maintain what made the original World’s Fair Donuts great.

“All classics,” he said. “Hand pies, glazed, red velvet, blueberry cake, maple Long Johns, fritters, twists, jellies, Boston cream.” He said there will also be a rotating vegan option.

All the usual beverage suspects are here: drip coffee, milk and chocolate milk from Rolling Lawns Farm, Coke, Diet Coke and water. 

Nota bene: the shop is cash only. Doughnuts are 91 cents, and pies and rolls are $1.82.

Adam Rothbarth is the staff writer at Sauce Magazine.