We’ve all heard the famous quote, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” from the Notorious B.I.G., but in this case, it’s more like “mo’ dough, no problems,” because there is no such thing as having one donut too many.
Donuts apparently originate from the Dutch settlers who came to America. In basic terms, donuts are a deep-fried cake with a ring. Though donuts have been around for a while, they didn’t come to the forefront until World War I when Americans were fed donuts in France to cure homesickness. By 1931, the New Yorker was reporting about donuts, which resulted in the treat becoming an iconic part of the American diet.
In the U.S. alone, more than 10 billion donuts are produced each year. Perhaps the cliché that cops love donuts is true, or maybe my many trips to the donut shop contributed to that large number.
When I was a child, my eyes would light up when I saw the Krispy Kreme neon sign. If you aren’t aware, when the sign is lit, it usually means a free warm donut is available. I would be lying if I said my eyes still don’t light up every time I pass the iconic sign and that I still get amazed when I go inside to see the donuts trail along the conveyer belt being dipped and coated. But just like everything else in the world, there are things that top corporate factory styled donuts: decadent, independent donuts.
Before my love for cookies grew, my dessert of choice was donuts. I still have clothing with donuts on them, and I never say no to Dunkin’. It’s safe to say I’m well-versed in the realm of decadent donuts. Doughy, fried or even baked — these donut hot spots are a lot better than the nationwide chains.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not these doughnuts. Advertised as “so good you’ll lick the box,” this shop is open 24 hours. This spot is the place to go if you are addicted to the dough, especially after a long night on the Strip. Who wouldn’t want to have a bite? Every month, Pinkbox chooses a doughnut of the month, and each comes with its own spunky name. They have holiday-themed doughnuts, Fancy Pancys and even classics like a cinnasugar donut.
2. Art of Donut
Art of Donut describes itself as a hand-crafted dough lab, and their donuts certainly live up to that name. Donuts are made fresh daily and are available until sold out. If you’re looking for a variety of yeast and cake donuts, Art of Donut is the place to go. The shop also offers customized orders that are more unique than other shops. They can do jumbo donuts, names, numbers or anything you can think of.
Do you believe in black magic? What about when it comes to being hypnotized by donuts to the point that you can’t control how much you eat? The Voodoo Doughnut shops are located in the strangest places, and can be described as being a hole in the wall — get it? Featured on many talk shows and nationwide news outlets, Voodoo has nine locations across five states. The lines for the shops are often long and wrapped around the block. They have an assortment of yeast, cake and vegan donuts. Some popular flavors are “The Homer” and the “Marshall Mathers.”
Fun fact: Voodoo actually used to sell medical donuts coated with NyQuil and Pepto Bismol but had to stop as the FDA got involved.
4. Duck Donuts
I’m not sure what’s better than a donut made to order, which is another reason why these donut shops are much better than corporate franchises. Duck Donuts has over 200 stores in the U.S. and originated from the Outer Banks town of Duck, North Carolina, the tribute to its name. Duck Donuts offers a variety of combinations, so the flavors are endless. Sometimes they even feature iconic brands in their donut flavors, such as Nutella or Lucky Charms.
“Big. Fat. Donuts.” Though that’s their motto, Gourdough’s is more than that. They have non-donut foods, but even those still revolve around the classic treat. With favorites like the “Mother Clucker,” a donut with smoked fried chicken and honey butter, or “Black Out,” a chocolate lover’s dream, anyone visiting Texas should make it a point to go to Gourdough’s. Not to mention that Gourdough’s is another shop with a fun aesthetic.
6. Mojo Donuts
To quote Enrique and Mr. 305 himself, “She gon’ make you move Miami,” and by “she” we mean the donuts that are sold at Mojo’s. Located in South Florida, Mojo offers fried chicken with their treats and often sell out quickly. This donut shop was even featured on Guy Fieri’s show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” so you know they have something going on.
Fun fact: The meaning of mojo is “a magic charm, talisman, or spell,” which is exactly what the bakers put into these donuts.
This small donut shop doesn’t let down. Each donut is handcrafted from scratch, as the foundation of the shop was built on farm to table comfort food. Located in the depths of Georgia, the shop offers a variety of donuts, including gluten-free options.
The Dough Bar is the one doughnut shop I’ve found that ships, but there’s a twist. These are protein donuts, macro-friendly and baked for those looking to watch their shape. Doughbar also offers cinnamon rolls and monkey bread. The Dough Bar actually was featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2018 so it’s still a fairly new concept.
Though only one shop ships to your doorstep, and the rest are in person or delivery, they are worth a drive. It’s really hard to find food that has quality and flavor, especially desserts that are worth the calories. Think about it: It’s 2020 and we’re still on the kick that the phone eats first so we can get that Instagram-worthy photo — we might as well make it tasteful.
Of course there are a ton of other donut shops such as Five-O Donut Co, District Donuts and Momo’s Donuts. If I could I would list them all, but I think it’s safe to stop at saying America loves donuts. So, did someone say road trip or dough-trip? After all, National Donut Day is June 5.