Holey moley! 10 essential doughnut spots
November/December 2014 | By Jessica Daynor
Gourdough's / Raine Martin Hopper

Gourdough’s / Raine Martin Hopper

Beer-traveling? You’ll need breakfast. Track down the nation’s most delicious doughnuts, conveniently fried in bubbling beer towns.

Portland, Ore. // Blue Star Donuts  
Fluffy, melty, painstakingly made brioche doughnuts come in gourmet editions like almond-speckled chocolate ganache, gorgeous blueberry-basil-bourbon—and a maple-bacon doughnut that rivals the one from it’s famous neighbor, Voodoo Doughnut.

New York City // Doughnut Plant
Innovation is the heart of this Lower East Side bakery, inventor of the square jelly doughnut in 2004 and the crème brulée doughnut in 2008. Both are still made fresh each day, along with tres leches, blackout cake and other doughnut genius.

Austin // Gourdough’s
Helping to Keep Austin Weird are Gourdough’s piping hot, fried-to-order, food-festooned doughnuts: plain ones topped with fried chicken, brownie-batter rounds dripping with fudge icing, and the Boss Hog, crowned with pulled pork, honey barbecue sauce and honest-to-goodness potato salad. The original location—a vintage Airstream—still slings rings in the So-Fi neighborhood, but Gourdough’s Public House 2 miles west serves all the originals plus doughnuts in burger and dumpling permutations, and 120-ounce beer towers of Texas craft.

Philadelphia // Federal Donuts
Fried chicken and doughnuts: That’s all they do at this five-location Philly icon. If you miss breakfast treats like blackberry-walnut and cinnamon spice, go for lunch; each plate of chicken arrives with pickles and a honey doughnut.

Portland, Maine // Holy Donut  
Maine-grown potatoes in the batter and glazes colored with fruit juices (no fake stuff!) give Holy’s cake doughnuts a healthy edge; flavors like mojito, toasted coconut and sea salt provide the extra yum factor.

Chicago // Doughnut Vault  
This tiny, cash-only storefront across from Chicago’s Merchandise Mart makes doughnuts that span pineapple to pistachio, root beer to red velvet, but the sell-out star is the ethereal,
simply sweet plain glazed—often called the nation’s best.

Durham, N.C. // Monuts Donuts
Owned by a husband-and-wife dynamic doughnut duo, this buzzing bakery rotates doughnuts inspired by drinks. If you like the hard stuff, there’s amar-etto and peach bourbon; for the no-ABV set, there’s chocolate chai and apple cider. Sip on craft bottles while you choose.

Boston // Union Square Donuts
Each day, the Somerville bakery fries up just a few flavors to sell in-shop and at area farmers markets; minimalist rings like pretty pink strawberry and hand-swirled chocolate marble are as Instagram-worthy as they are delectable.

Los Angeles // Randy’s Donuts
L.A. has more doughnut shops than struggling actors, but 62-year-old Randy’s is a star. The giant doughnut on the roof beckons the hungover (and folks en route to LAX) to the cake rings, old fashioneds and apple fritters inside.

Cleveland // Brewnuts
Every doughnut at this beer-geek haven is made with local craft, from the cinnamon-spiced Bernie (infused with Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold) to the lemony Bumbler (Fatheads Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale). Oh, and they also invented the wonut—that’s part waffle, part doughnut. The shop’s only open till the day’s limited batches sell out.

Published November/December 2014