Peter Pan is a retro holdout on a stretch of Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint where Brooklyn Industries and the sleek coffee chain Konditori have opened outposts in recent years. The shop dates to the 1950s, and the current owners, Donna Siafakas, 58, and her husband, Christos, purchased it in 1993 after meeting in a doughnut shop in Queens. (She was a waitress; he was a baker.)
In addition to the space and the fixtures — the mixers, a checkerboard floor, a black-and-white menu board, all serifs and curlicues — the former owner offered recipes: the key, for example, to a cruller that’s crispy on the outside and cakey inside. “I like the plain ones,” Ms. Siafakas said, surveying the dwindling supply in the cases. She mimed dipping a doughnut into a cup of coffee. “I’m a dunker.”
For the most part, the shop looks as it did 60 years ago, with the exception of those uniforms — an anachronistic flourish inspired by outfits Mr. Siafakas saw on a TV show. They’ve been so popular that the shop has lent them to customers as Halloween costumes, Ms. Siafakas said. The store’s period look has attracted the attention of location scouts; it was the site of scenes in the Vince Vaughn movie “Delivery Man” and the NBC series “Shades of Blue.”
At one nook of the counter, Lois Revett, 82, sat nibbling on a whole-wheat bagel. She refers to the shop as a “yenta center,” and stops in to check up on other customers. “They don’t kick you out,” Ms. Revett said. “You don’t see people for a while, and they come in with good news or bad news.” Two seats over, a young woman in a knit cap leaned forward on her stool, craning to snap a cellphone photo of the doughnuts in her bag.
Michael Karczewski, 52, has been a regular since he was 12. He stops in nearly every morning, newspaper in hand, to order coffee and a croissant or a doughnut. He sometimes takes them on the road, too — he took a dozen on a three-day train trip to visit an old neighborhood buddy in Ri
verside, Calif. “Not the ones with cream, though.”
Allison Spivey, 27, and Francis Fiore, 25, were visiting the city from North Carolina and Virginia. They embarked on a doughnut tour that wound through the boroughs, and they sampled two varieties at each shop. “We use coffee to cleanse our palates,” Ms. Spivey said. As they shared pieces of a glazed doughnut, Mr. Fiore nodded in approval. He loved the texture and the way the sugar dissolved on his tongue. “You don’t even have to chew it,” he said.
“Are you in line?” customers kept asking, waddling into a mass of puffy winter coats. On a recent Saturday at Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop, the whole store was a line.
Waitresses in mint-green smocks with pink collars and cuffs dodged one another’s elbows as they reached for classic varieties — glazed, with or without sprinkles, cream-filled or coconut — selling for $1.10 apiece.
Bakers had arrived at 1 a.m., and the shop opened at 5, catering to customers on either the very late or the very early shift. By afternoon, the trays of red velvet doughnuts were picked clean. Amanda Noa, 33, was among the crowd waiting to be served. If her first choice was gone by the time she reached the counter, she had a backup plan: “I just ask for whatever’s warm.”
In Greenpoint, a Doughnut Shop Where Time Stands Still
FROM N.Y TIMES
N.Y. / REGION