Our story begins in the Fall of 2008 when we were lucky enough to purchase Larkspur's iconic donut shop, Donut Alley, from Bill Pirozzoli. For many years Bill and his wife, Ginny, had successfully guided the Marin County shop making donuts and serving coffee and juice, building a business much beloved by the community. In Fall 2008 he was ready to hand over the reins.
We are carrying on the rich tradition of Donut Alley, but with our own twist. We pride ourselves on selling quality products and organic fresh roasted coffee that's not only steeped in tradition, but also dabbles in the unexpected.
Our story really begins in the 1920s when Fred Pring, Steve’s grandfather, opened a produce market on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California. Steve’s father, John Pring began working there at the age of 14 and so began a family tradition in the food business and later the donut shop business.
After World War II John returned to the East Bay and opened up his own produce market. Later he sold it so he could open up a donut shop that grew in to a family style restaurant serving hamburgers, salads, divine milkshakes, and of course, donuts. He simply called it Pring’s and it soon became a popular hang out on “The Strip” in San Leandro, California. The business thrived and John eventually expanded, opening three restaurants and another donut shop and bakery in the East Bay.
Like his father, Steve Pring worked for his father in his youth, learning the business. Following in the family tradition, we chose to open a food business, but with our own twist. In 1981, we opened Pring’s Bakery on Solano avenue in Berkeley, California featuring an eclectic array of items baked from scratch. Pring's sold everything from fresh roasted coffee and buttery croissants and apple pie to whole wheat bread and baguettes.
Although we loved eating blueberry muffins warm out of the oven and drinking a good cup of coffee, after seven years, we sold the business, deciding to take a different path, which included moving to Marin County where we could take hikes out our back door with our two daughters. In the back of our minds we always thought that someday we might get back into the baking business with a streamlined operation which could be more fun. So we did.
— Steve and Ann Pring
We feel as if we’ve come full circle serving fresh hand crafted donuts and fresh roasted organic coffee daily — just like Steve’s father did so many years ago. Many early mornings you will find Steve making donuts, each crafted by hand and chatting with customers over a cup of organic French Roast coffee.