A culinary medium lending itself to unique combinations, outrageous toppings and crazy shapes, the doughnut is one of the most versatile foods around. The Dutch are largely credited with inventing doughnuts in the 19th century, but you don’t have to travel to Europe to try this treat, as some of the best fried rings can be found stateside (and no, we’re not talking about Krispy Kreme). Since the month of October is National Doughnut Month, you’ll want to go ahead and start planning ahead with our list of the best doughnut places nationwide. After all, who can resist the siren call of a hot, freshly made doughnut glistening with glaze?
Recently named America’s Best Bakery by Bake magazine, Sublime Doughnuts is located in an unassuming strip mall in the Atlanta neighborhood of West Midtown, just a stone’s throw from the campus of Georgia Tech. You may not think you’re in the right place, as the sign above this famed bakery merely says “Donut,” but once you see the crowd of people lined up for one of these signature treats, you’ll know you’ve made it. Chef Kamal Grant churns out favorites like the Orange Dream Star, the Chocolate Wild Berry Fritter and the Fresh Strawberry ‘N Cream. If you go on a Saturday, make sure to pick up the Maple Bacon Cheddar, a sweet and salty creation which is only available on that day.
Where: 535 Tenth St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318
You’ve never had a doughnut like a Voodoo doughnut. Featuring crazy flavor combinations and fresh ingredients, Voodoo Doughnuts is undoubtedly a Portland institution. People from all over flock to this funky, offbeat shop for the Bacon Maple Bar, featuring sweet and sticky maple icing topped with smoky, crispy bacon. Other favorites include the Captain My Captain, a vanilla icing doughnut topped with Captain Crunch cereal, and Grape Ape, a soft, fluffy yeast doughnut glazed with vanilla icing and dusted with grape powder and lavender sprinkles. But you can’t visit Voodoo without ordering its namesake doughnut, a chocolate glazed yeast doughnut shaped like a voodoo doll, filled with raspberry jam and stabbed with a pretzel stick.
Where: 22 S.W. 3rd Ave., Portland, OR 97204
Top Pot Doughnuts
Some of the best doughnuts in the Pacific Northwest can be found at Top Pot Doughnuts. Its two-story flagship location in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood is almost as beautiful as the hot pastry creations themselves. You won’t find any majorly crazy combinations or toppings here, because at Top Pot, simplicity is king. Instead, their old-fashioned cake doughnuts, crullers and fritters come in flavors like chocolate-peanut and Valley Girl lemon, but they’re anything but boring.
Where: 2124 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98121
The Doughnut Plant
Mark Israel, owner of The Doughnut Plant, comes from a long line of bakers and doughnut makers, so it was only appropriate that he open up one of the best doughnut places in the nation. Located in the Lower East Side near Chinatown, The Doughnut Plant continues to come up with innovative options, like the jelly-filled signature square doughnuts, the crème brulee and the sesame seed doughnut. One of the newest additions is a glazed oatmeal cake doughnut, sprinkled with dried fruit bits, oats and seeds, but whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed a delicious, homemade treat.
Where: 379 Grand St., New York, NY 10002
Los Angeles is chock full of doughnut shops on just about every corner, but Randy’s Doughnuts is a legendary stop located near the Los Angeles International Airport. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the huge doughnut atop the building, a landmark that dates back to 1952 and plays a cameo in the movie Iron Man 2. The buttermilk and crumb raised doughnut is a must-try, as is the size-of-your-face apple fritter, featuring chunks of sweet apple-cinnamon filling and a delectable glaze.
Where: 805 West Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90301
Photo credit: iStockphoto/miflippo