Friday September 13, 2013
There may not be a more perfect food than donuts. But you need not sell your soul a la Homer Simpson just to get your hands on the ideal fried, glazed pastry. We've spotlighted some of the country's best donut shops, from classic mid-century spots that never change to places that are reinventing the donut as we know it, testing size limitations and piling on unorthodox toppings.
The Buttermilk Drop (New Orleans, LA)
You might recognize owner Dwight Henry from his role in the critically acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild, but he's been a baker far longer than he's been in the acting game. Locals eagerly line up at his Seventh Ward restaurant, The Buttermilk Drop, for beignets, glazed donuts, king cakes, and most of all the signature buttermilk drops.
Dominique Ansel Bakery (New York, NY)
Whether you'd wait two hours for one or you're growing weary of the hype and media saturation, there's no denying that Cronuts, the much ballyhooed hybrid creation of former Daniel pastry chef Dominique Ansel, have made an indelible impression on the country's donut and pastry landscape.
The Donut Hole Cafe & Bakery (Destin, FL)
When it comes to breakfast at the beach, there's nothing better than a box of donuts. This longtime Destin favorite is happy to satiate your early morning sugar cravings with red velvet, apple crumb, and vanilla and chocolate angels among popular choices. Locals swear by the key lime pie as well.
Dough in the Box (Marietta, GA)
Marietta hidden gem Dough in the Box is an old-school mom-and-pop donut shop owned by Jesus Balestena and his wife Diana — former customers of the same shop who liked it so much they bought the place. They open at 5 am daily to serve up their signature apple and blueberry fritters and sour cream old-fashioned donuts (these sell out quickly).
Dynamo Donut & Coffee (San Francisco, CA)
Specializing in raised yeast cake doughnuts, ever-popular Dynamo Donut & Coffee may be best known for its maple-glazed apple doughnut topped with crispy bacon bits. Other inventive varieties include Chocolate Star Anise, Lemon Sichuan, and Molasses Guiness Pear.
Gourdough’s (Austin, TX)
Gourdough's doles out some of the world's wackiest donuts from a vintage Airstream Trailer to the delight of Austin's late-night noshers. These fried-to-order monster donuts come in flavors such as The Carney (apple pie filling, cream cheese icing, caramel and peanuts), Heavenly Hash, and the Mother Clucker (topped with fried chicken strips and honey butter).
Home Cut Donuts (Joliet, IL)
In the far southwest suburbs of Chicago, Joliet's Homecut Donuts, founded in 1966, delivers everything you'd want in a classic, old-school donut shop. Kids, old men reading the paper at the counter and hipsters looking for a late-night bite all adore Home Cut, particularly their glazed cherry cake donuts, apricot-filled donuts and angel cream eclairs (pictured below).
Mighty-O Donuts (Seattle, WA)
Cholesterol-free vegan donuts?? Don't declare "blasphemy!" until you've taken on one of the dense heavyweights at Seattle's Mighty-O Donuts. These decidedly non-wimpy donuts come in varieties such as French toast, coconut-topped chocolate (the Don King), and pumpkin-spice (available seasonally).
Nickel Diner (Los Angeles, CA)
Fashioned into a 1940s-style diner, Nickel Diner draws crowds of hungry hungry hipsters and downtown brunchers with its quick service, bottomless cups of coffee and solid diner fare. Their delicious, hefty Maple Bacon Donut has garnered attention and accolades from many food publications, but don’t sleep on their Irish Car Bomb Donut (pictured below) filled with whiskey-cream.
Tato-Nut (Ocean Springs, MS)
Family owned and operated by the Mohlers since 1960, Tato Nut in downtown Ocean Springs survived Katrina (much to the relief of its many devotees), although you can still buy oblong "Katrina Pieces" from the pastry case. Locals happily line up out the door for their unique potato-based donuts, from their classic glazed to Persians, a cinnamony honey bun-like treat.
Voodoo Doughnut (Portland, OR)
Piling up accolades from countless magazines, TV shows and frosting fanboys, Portland's Voodoo Doughnut just may be the world's most famous donut shop at the moment. In large part responsible for the trend of new-school donuts with outrageous toppings and flavor combinations, Voodoo features the likes of Bacon Maple Bars, cereal-topped donuts, and the raspberry-filled, chocolate-frosting topped voodoo doll-shaped donut.