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Hot Donuts Returning to Latonia with Moonrise

Nearly nine months after losing its lone donut shop, Latonia will soon have two.

"When the moon rises, so do the donuts."

That's how founder Keith Bales describes his new business, Moonrise Doughnuts - an operation that will serve the namesake treats in the evening hours from 6 to 11 p.m. Those of a certain age will fondly remember nighttime snacking on donuts at the famous Latonia Bakery at Ritte's Corner.

"Moonrise mimics what the old Latonia Bakery did," Bales said. "We'll be open in the evenings and at night to recreate a piece of history in our neighborhood."

Bales, who also operates a nuisance abatement company (think: graffiti removal and the like) which works closely with the Covington Business Council, is a Latonia native and a graduate of Holmes High School. He remembers the old days when young and old alike would wrap the block awaiting a piping hot donut from Latonia Bakery.

"When I was growing up there was no juvenile curfew so my friends and I would camp out and around midnight, we would make that walk down to the bakery and the line would go to the parking lot," he remembered. "It captivated us."

Many remember those hot donuts and the Latonia Bakery, which is long gone. 

In its place over the years, a Servatii's operated in the space, and more recently, a Bernhard's Bakery was located under the iconic sign that features a pastry chef looking at loaves of bread.

Bernhard's closed up shop last December following trouble at its Newport location but the lights were back on in March when another local favorite - Emerson's - opened at the site on Decoursey Avenue.

Emerson's maintains traditional bakery hours and closes before the night rolls in.

That's where Moonrise will be different.

While it won't operate in the space from which it draws its inspiration, Moonrise is targeting nighttime donut fans.

"I have very vivid memories of buying those warm donuts at night," said Bales, who prefers a cake donut with chocolate icing.

Moonrise Doughnuts will celebrate a "soft opening" on Saturday, August 26, at 3718 Winston Avenue (locals will remember the building as the old Subway sandwich shop before it relocated across the street to Latonia Plaza). Then, it opens for business on the following Tuesday (it'll be closed on Sundays and Mondays).

Donut fans will find a wide variety to choose from: long johns, glazed, sugar, cream filled, etc. But they'll only find donuts. There won't be cakes or pies or cookies. Just donuts, made fresh on site and served warm, just like so many people remember.

And for those who don't remember, there are old photos on the walls featuring the former Latonia Bakery and other vintage scenes from the Covington neighborhood. While dining on donuts - made by Bales's team of experienced pastry and kitchen cooks - guests can chill out at the tables and chairs inside, or take their donuts outside to enjoy.

"People love to wax nostalgic about things in their past, especially their childhood," Bales said. "We want this to be a place where you can just relax and talk about your memories. That's our thing.

"This is an homage to what Latonia was like back in the day for us in the 60s and 70s."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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