It takes light eight minutes to travel from the sun to earth. In just a fraction of that time after meeting Eat Arkansas writer Daniel Walker, you’ll know the man has an obsession for donuts so strong that it’s up for inclusion in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Hemingway had his liquor, Burroughs had heroin, and Dan Walker has deep-fried dough glazed with sugar. And despite living in West Little Rock, Walker isn’t above driving to get his fix of the very best — something he claims is available at Mark’s Do-nut Shop in North Little Rock.

Now I don’t share Dan’s enthusiasm for pastries, but when he asked a group of foodies to meet him for breakfast at Mark’s, I was intrigued. After all, I had read Dan’s previous write-up of the place, and I figured that if Dan said that these particular donuts were worth an early morning drive across the river, then I’d put his expertise to the test. Besides that, when a breakfast party includes people like grill-master Kelly Gee and his wife Erika, Natchez cake boss Zara Wilkerson, and Little Rock’s best satirist Greg Henderson — well, even bad donuts would have been okay with a motley crew like that.

Of course the story has a happy ending: Mark’s donuts really are as good as Dan says they are. The glazed variety are huge and dense while still somehow remaining light and fluffy. A blackberry jam-filled specimen had my beard full of gooey goodness and my mouth in a very happy place. And my wife was very complimentary of the donut holes I brought her home (only 25 cents each!), along with a Bavarian-cream filled that was a luscious pleasure even after the drive back home. The staff behind the counter were friendly, even though we had a bunch of folks filling up the small dining room, leading to some bad behavior (like Dan repeatedly trying to drink from other people’s cartons of milk). We talked sports, drank coffee, and savored each delectable bite of warm donut.

I’m not a big breakfast eater, and I’m also not a big fan of early morning trips far out of my way to get food. I violated both of those norms by heading up to Mark’s, and I can’t tell you all how glad I am that I did. The pastries really are a cut above anything else I’ve had in the metro area, and there’s something to be said about a weekend breakfast shared among friends.

Mark’s Do-Nut Shop is located at 4015 Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock. Get ’em while they’re hot!