Banbury Cross Donuts in Downtown Salt Lake City

Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.”
~The Dorling Kindersley Book of Nursery Rhymes

While planning our culinary exploration of the Salt Lake City restaurant scene, there were a number of restaurants we categorized as “must visit.”  Among those in that rarefied air were restaurants with a national profile such as Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli and Freshie’s Lobster Co.  Another made our must visit solely on the basis of its name.  The name Banbury Cross probably doesn’t resonate with you if you’re not a bona fide Anglophile or if haven’t lived in the Cotswolds.  Having lived in the Cotswolds for three years, My Kim and I are passionate Anglophiles (but not necessarily royalists).  We were thrilled at the prospect of visiting with the proprietors whom we assumed were from Banbury, a scant 24 miles from our English home in Little Rissington.

Alas, for the second time in two days we were to learn that the education system in Utah may be lacking, at least in the area of geography.  Yesterday a clerk at a shop in Park City asked where we were from.  When we told her we were from New Mexico, she asked “Is that near San Diego?”.  (Maybe I should submit that to New Mexico Magazine for inclusion in its monthly “One of Our 50 is Missing” feature.)  Similarly when my Kim asked why a donut shop would be named for the Banbury Cross with which we were so familiar, a teenaged employee told us he had never heard of Banbury or its famous cross (and probably not even England).  Our expectations for dialogue with someone from the “old country” were quickly dashed, but not our expectations for great donuts.

An assortment of donut deliciousness

Okay, only because you insist I’ll tell you about the Banbury Cross.  The present day cross was erected in 1859 to celebrate the wedding of the then Princess Royal (Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter) to Prince Frederick of Prussia.  The story behind the nursery rhyme with which I started this essay is lost in history, but it certainly wasn’t written for children.  We took several photographs of the Banbury Cross, just a few blocks from our very favorite kebab shop in England.  While those kebabs were phenomenal, neither of us can recall having a decent donut in the land across the pond.

The fabulous Female Foodies rate Banbury Donuts as the seventh best bakery  and third best donuts in Salt Lake City.  If two places exist anywhere that make better donuts, their bakers must come from some celestial plane.  Seriously, these were some of the very best donuts we’ve ever had!   The chocolate long johns were so decadent and chocolately that my Kim ate half of them and she usually doesn’t like long johns at all.  Thankfully she doesn’t like coconut so I got to finish the chocolate coconut donut myself (with a little help from The Dude, our debonaire, donut-loving dachshund).   

Rather than giving me a bite of her glazed twist donut and cinnamon roll, my Kim tore off pieces of each, claiming that my bites are Guy Fieri-sized.  I’m insulted!   Have you ever seen Guy Fieri bite into anything?  Not even Bruce, the great white shark from the movie Jaws can fit so much in its mouth.  The cinnamon roll is superb with a nice balance of glaze and plenty of cinnamon.  Similarly the glazed twist are gooey and sugary with enough glaze to rot your teeth just looking at it. 

We may not have found neighbors from our time in England, but we did find superb donuts that alone are worth a visit or six to Salt Lake City.

Banbury Cross Donuts
705 S 700 E
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 537-1433
Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 27 August 2021
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $
BEST BET: Chocolate Long Johns, Cinnamon Rolls, Chocolate Coconut
REVIEW #1236

By Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, more than 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,200 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

11 thoughts on “Banbury Cross Donuts – Salt Lake City, Utah”
  1. I must disagree with Female Foodies. Banbury Cross makes the single best donuts in northern Utah, for at least the last 25 years. Hello to the Dude.

  2. I’m sure this is giving too much credit to that clerk, but if you look at a map of the continental US, New Mexico is practically next door to San Diego, only 560 miles away!

    1. Gil, I’m surprised The Dude didn’t force you to delete this comment. 😀

      Evidently my wife’s been following the American Kennel Club’s guidelines as well as she refuses to allow me to eat the sort of donuts (or any donut!) you enjoyed at this shop. At first I used to protest her prohibitions, and then, over time, I realized that marriage is like The Stockholm Syndrome: one adopts the values and beliefs of one’s captors in order to survive.

  3. I’m still laughing about New Mexico being next to San Diego! I’m reminded about a story where a New Mexican couple who attempted to get a marriage license in Washington DC were told they could only get a marriage license if they were American citizens. As I recall this even got escalated to the city clerk, who upheld the decision. Perhaps we need more bumper stickers similar to ‘New Mexico is a state not a country.’ Or, ‘New Mexico, just left of Texas.’ I suppose Mexico could annex us back then perhaps there would be no more confusion. Imagine the culinary blending — yum!!

    1. When I moved here and started a business in New Mexico I needed to source some supplies from a company in New York. The salesman asked, “where’s your business?” to which I replied ‘New Mexico’ to which he replied, “We don’t export.”

  4. Hi Gil: This was a great discovery! The long johns look especially delicious and brought back fond memories of those my grandmother often made. They were our very favorite of all the confections that came out of her kitchen and to this day, I have and use her handwritten recipe. Now that I think about it, she never used chocolate frosting nor did she fill them as is done by some bakeries. Rather, she used a plain vanilla frosting and topped them with either chopped nuts or coconut.  She probably got the recipe from her mother-in-law, my great grandmother, who had resided in Michigan for a number of years before the family returned to New York State. For sure, long johns have long been popular in the Midwest, but they’re also commonly made and served by the Pennsylvania Dutch. I’ve never read anything that I’d call the definitive history of the doughnut, let alone the origin of the long john. I did find this interesting note online at Celebrity Doughnut Mashup – the Long John vs. the Eclair | dannwoellertthefoodetymologist(wordpress.com): “Who the first John was and when the name and shape of the Long John was introduced is somewhat lost to history. We do know that a John Blondell received the first patent for a doughnut cutter in 1872,so perhaps the Long John is a tribute to Mr. Blondell as a doughnut engineer.” Even my old friend Barry Popik, in his etymological dictionary “The Big Apple”, notes that doughnuts have a disputed origin and he just briefly mentions the long john.

    I most certainly would have made it a point to visit the charmingly named Banbury Cross Donuts. It’s too bad that you were unable to glean any insight on why the shop is so-named but I’m pretty sure it’s not just folks in Utah who are geographically, culturally or historically challenged. That seems to be a fairly common hallmark of the U.S. education system in general.  As for your comment that the nursery rhyme “certainly wasn’t written for children”, I’m not so sure. There are a number of old nursery rhymes that, when studied closely, are rather ribald in nature but there wasn’t much of a connection to that in the Banbury Cross ditty unless one was to “stretch the imagination” (there’s a finger pointing at you, Gil). Without getting into detail here, this article points out that the horse reference was likely innocent based upon the language and terminology used at the time: What is a cock horse and where is Banbury? | Metro News And for anyone with a further interest in the subject (likely no one), there’s this: Nursery Rhymes and the Supposed Truth Behind Equine Inclusion (horse-canada.com)

        1. You’re very welcome, Becky. Looks like you’ve got it down pat, so I don’t see any remedial training in your future. Very interesting articles, BTW.

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