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 America's Best Donuts

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Tony Bad

RE: America's Best Donuts Wed, 01/7/09 9:34 AM (permalink)
Baah Ben

Getting back to the Donut Plant.  Here's what I "see" when I've watched all the features on this special place on FoodTV and Food Paradise.  This guy makes incredible artisan donuts!  These are not your ordinary donuts!  You can "see" how great they are! Anyone who knows anything about food can see this for oneself 

Those dounts are not like any other I have ever "seen" any place else.  He is using the best flour, top ingredients, etc. His fondants are all homemade!  He has pistachios, cherries, special chocolates, homemade creams..Come on.  How is he only rated 13 out of 20? 

Should we be adding this survey to the many others with questionable results?  Is it political like so many others? I'd be interested in getting some comments from NY'ers who have been to the Donut Plant and might have also been to another on the list ahead of number 13. 

I have been to the donut plant many times...just last week as a matter of fact...and while the creations there are very good...some even excellent...they really are almost in a category of their own, and aren't what I consider donuts. 

I find I feel the same way with many things that fall into the "artisan" heading you mention. Creative people take an old concept and stretch it so far, it is almost unrecognizable. There are places that do this with many is one that comes to mind. I have had many marvelous versions of what may be called "pizza" created by inventive chefs, yet when I think pizza I think of the simple, original variety, not those variations that have almost evolved into a new species.

These are what I think of when I think of donuts...


Just to add...the only place higher than 13th I have been to is Dreesen's Market in East Hampton. How they ended up on this list is a mystery to me. I find their donuts to be one step above the Hostess boxed variety. They are exceedingly average. I can think of a dozen places in New England alone that belong ahead of Dreesens!


<message edited by Tony Bad on Wed, 01/7/09 9:41 AM>
    The Travelin Man

    • Total Posts: 3698
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    • Location: Central FL
    RE: America's Best Donuts Wed, 01/7/09 9:53 AM (permalink)
    I ate at Doughnut Plant last Friday with another Roadfooder.  We arrived post-lunch, and were only told that they were sold out of one of our selections (of four or five) - and we easily selected a replacement, IIRC.  In short, there were plenty of doughnuts available at around 3 pm or so.

    Of the places "ranked" ahead of Doughnut Plant, I have eaten at Voodoo, Cafe du Monde, and Round Rock Donuts.  I have also eaten Top Pot Doughnuts that were brought in for us, but I did not visit their store.  I would rate each of them as being as good (Round Rock) or better (all of the others) as Doughnut Plant.

    One other thing about Doughnut Plant.  These donuts are expensive.  I don't mean that they're expensive for NY...I mean they take a few bucks out of your pocket to enjoy.  Unless their prices have recently gone up drastically, I am pretty sure that you can get about four Round Rock donuts for the price of one Doughnut Plant donut.  Even Voodoo Donuts, which are not cheap, don't seem to be as much as Doughnut Plant.

      RE: America's Best Donuts Wed, 01/7/09 10:38 AM (permalink)
      TTM, we also tried Doughnut Plant on Billyboy's NYC Hot Dog Tour last year.  He worships them, I liked them very much -- though to me, they didn't really taste like a traditional donut.  The texture of the donut resembled cake to me (not a cake donut, like birthday cake).  What's your opinion?

      My theory is that they use a stiffer dough to be able to shape the donuts into all their creative configurations -- and also to be able to contain fillings of varying densities.  Is there a donut physicist in the house?    Chris

        Baah Ben

        • Total Posts: 3026
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        • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
        RE: America's Best Donuts Thu, 01/8/09 1:23 AM (permalink)
        The survey being discussed did not rate the donuts on price did it?  NY'ers apparently do not think they are too expensive. What do Donut Plant donuts cost anyway?  $2?  $2.50?   

        In Billy Boy's year in review, he has revisited a few of the pictures of the Donut Plant's offerings.  All I know is what I've seen on three television shows, an article I read, Bobby Flay's comments (I have alot of respect for his opinions) and the pictures on this site.  On creativity and effort alone and that's all I said I could go on, call them artisan donuts or not, I question how this place is rated only 13th out of 20 donuts places surveyed.  

        Yes Tony, it is a cut above the basic donut, but it still is a donut in shape, texture and taste isn't it?  But when you have Cafe Du Monde's product ahead of the Donut Plant?  That I can comment on from first hand knowledge..Been there several times.  I question it's inclusion on this survey.  It doesn't look like a donut nor does it doesn't taste like a donut.  It's the French's version of a Zeppoli as far as I'm concerned. It's ethnic..

        It's a top 20 survey of donuts.  If they want to include a bengnet (sp) then why not include a zeppoli too? What about Leonard's in Ohau?  Been there and that at least that could be called a donut. Hey, maybe all 20 are better than Leonard's anyway?

        Hopefully, we can get some more rf people who have eaten at some of these places on the list. Hey consensus is consensus.  I'll accept 13th, if enough people have been there and done that. 

        I just thought this guy would have gotten more respect for all the effort he's put into one our country's most well known bakery items.  I was very surprised at his low placement. I'm sure he was, too!

        <message edited by Baah Ben on Thu, 01/8/09 1:28 AM>

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          • Location: New York City, NY
          RE: America's Best Donuts Thu, 01/8/09 2:32 AM (permalink)
          Baah Ben, all of these surveys, like most things, are subjective and therefore are attuned to the surveyor's tastes.  They clearly love the Doughnut Plant, but just love others better.  I'd be willing to try all of the places on the list (if I could afford to travel that much, sigh!)  As ayersian and Tony Bad witnessed firsthand, I do in fact worship the Doughnut Plant.  I've always been a yeast doughnut man and While I do like cake doughnuts, they run a somewhat close second for me. Yeasts remind me of the fried dough I used to make and eat at fairs and carnivals growing up.  Although these doughnuts aren't greasy, it's really about the soft, pillowy, slightly chewy texture for me.  If the crispy exterior/creamy interior of a cake doughnut is your ideal, then the Doughnut Plant will definitely be a letdown.  Mark Isreal does make cake doughnuts, but they don't have those contrasting textures.  He does make some very righteous churros though.  If you're coming into the city for some eats and you know ahead of time, drop me a line and I'd love to meet up for a bit of Roadfood!

          Chris (ayersian) and I had a really good discussion about this last year and I think we both pretty much agreed that the Plant's strength lies in the glazes and fillings.  As, TTM said, these are not cheap.  Not the kind where you'd pick up a dozen on a Sunday morning to read with your copy of the Times.  They'd set you back between $20-$30.  I think all of the Dean & Deluca locations carry them, but the selection is minimal and it really is best to get them at the source.  Not just for the full monty, but for me, the least amount of time from the fryer to my mouth is my motto!  They are good after a few hours, but still warm? Indescribable!  The Plant is closed on Mondays and sorry to say, as many times as I have gone there, I have forgotten more than once and been Travelin'-Manned!!

          I was kind of hoping to see Dottie's in Woodbury, CT on the list though.  That was the very first cake doughnut that I ever loved!  I totally see the appeal of those contrasting outer/inner textures now.  There is a Daylight Donuts right next to Voss Bar-B-Q in Yorkville, NY and just down the street is Holland Farms Creamery and Bakery which I saw on a previous thread as part of another best doughnuts list.  I've never really had one kind of doughnut in my head as "traditional".  I've tried cake, yeast, bismarcks, long johns, crullers, twists, rings and many others.  They really do come in many shapes, sizes and textures.  

            Tony Bad

            RE: America's Best Donuts Thu, 01/8/09 9:46 AM (permalink)

             As ayersian and Tony Bad witnessed firsthand, I do in fact worship the Doughnut Plant.  

             Evidence of above claim...

            Billyboy almost wandered into traffic he was so lost in his donut bliss!
              Baah Ben

              • Total Posts: 3026
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              • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
              RE: America's Best Donuts Thu, 01/8/09 2:52 PM (permalink)
              BB - I much prefer cake donuts.  But, I have to try this place!  I sort of thought they would be about $2 a piece.  Yes, I knew he sold to D&D..

              This guy has done very well for himself.  I believe he took has father's donut recipe, started in his own home and delivered them to local places on his bike. 

              Hey, I'd love to meet you for lunch this Spring when I come up..that would be terrific.  I'd love to do a Chinatown soup/dumpling kind of thing, if you and maybe a few other rf people want to join us.  Or, it could be pizza?  Then, dessert at the Donut Plant?

              Incidently, if anyone wants to go on and put in the Donut Plant, they have a slew of very recent reviews on the place forwhatever it's worth.  Almost all very, very positive.  I find some very good information on and tripadvisor, too.

              I asked a friend who lives in Manahattan to call the DP and ask about their hours, etc.  He said they told him customers should try and get there before 2:00 PM so that's a bit better than what I'd heard; noon.  He said that they told him they make 5 different flavors each month.   Positive comments most recently are about their coconut cream donuts.

                Tony Bad

                RE: America's Best Donuts Thu, 01/8/09 3:09 PM (permalink)
                Baah Ben

                 Positive comments most recently are about their coconut cream donuts.

                I had a coconut cream one last week...very good. They had gingerbread on list, but were out when I got there. Rats!


                  • Total Posts: 2363
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                  RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 01/9/09 12:17 AM (permalink)
                  Baah Ben, Sounds good to me.  Just give me a heads up the week before so I can mark it down.  Split some pies, walk through Chinatown and then polish off some sugary, fried goodness.  The Coconut Cream is pretty good.  He makes a mean strawberry and mango doughnut too.  
                    Baah Ben

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                    RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 01/9/09 12:57 AM (permalink)
                    Billy - Do you like Chinese food?  If not, we can do pizza..If I were your age, I guess I could do "some pies" and walk through (does that mean eating? As in dumplings, etc) and eat "some Chinese" and then the donuts.  More realistically for me would be either or and then dessert at the Donut Plant.  Anyway, we can figure it out.  I can see this being pretty funny.

                    Stawberry and Mango?  Wild....I envision this guy (I think his name is David?)coming to work each day and really liking what he does for a living.  How many people can say that....Who puts this much time and effort in a donut?  Wild....

                    Doesn't he have more than one location now?
                    <message edited by Baah Ben on Fri, 01/9/09 1:00 AM>

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                      RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 01/9/09 1:32 AM (permalink)
                      Ben, I'm game for pizza or Chinese, a;though Chinese might be the best options as we can walk through Chinatown and find some good places.  My buddy here in NYC who first put me on to Roadfood knows just about every place in Chinatown.  Is there any particular type of Chinese you're interested in trying?  Bakeries? Noodles?  Dumplings? Etc...  The "some pies" is assuming there might bee a big group of Roadfooders. Personally, I'm only good for one pie between two people.  

                      The Doughnut Plant guy is Mark Isreal.  Interestingly, he only has the one shop in NYC, but has 9 in Japan and one in 1 in Korea where I've heard good reports on their popularity and I think his dad has a hand in running the Japan locations.
                        Baah Ben

                        • Total Posts: 3026
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                        • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                        RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 01/9/09 5:28 PM (permalink)
                        Billy - I thought dumplings and noodles with Chinese bbq pork, duck, etc.  I was with JohnA today for lunch and we were talking about Ellen and how she goes to 75 places in a day (just kidding Ellen)
                        Hey, if we can get a group and do a dumpling/noodle/bbq meats Chinese or pizza journey sort of like Lewis and Clarke..That would be terrific.  I know of a few good Dumpling places also.
                          carolina bob

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                          RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 01/16/09 8:48 PM (permalink)
                          Not everyone shares my feelings, I know, but I love the glazed donuts at Krispie Kreme. I first had them as a kid down in North Carolina in the ' 60s, and it was love at first bite. Until about a year ago, we had a place here in Lansing, the late lamented Village Bakery, that had the best cake donuts I've ever had. The buttercream chocolate frosting was just incredible. Boy, do I miss them! 

                            • Total Posts: 208
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                            • Location: Dayton, OH
                            RE: America's Best Donuts Wed, 05/20/09 8:39 AM (permalink)
                            My favorite is a donut institution in Dayton. Bill's Donuts in Centerville. And for those who live in Dayton who may disagree I have tried Donut Haus (very dissapointed), Milton's Donuts (Unique Apple Filled but lackluster glazed), Stan the Donut Man (Meh!), and Jim's in Vandalia (have a great cream horn and cheese danish, but again found the glazed pretzel to be lacking).
                            Anybody else from Dayton have a favorite I haven't tried yet?
                              Beverly K

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                              • Joined: 5/11/2009
                              • Location: York, PA
                              Re:America's Best Donuts Thu, 05/21/09 9:58 PM (permalink)

                              I'm familiar with the chains, DD and KK, and the local chain, Maple Donuts, but Giant Supermarket makes their own donuts. Not a huge variety, but the apple-raspberry jelly and the chocolate frosted, peanut-butter creme are the best.

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                                • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                Re:America's Best Donuts Thu, 05/21/09 11:37 PM (permalink)
                                Stan's Donuts in Westwood, CA.

                                Home of UCLA and the best donuts I've ever had.

                                Believe me when I say I've had a few.

                                Banana chocolate peanut butter.  Swooooooooooon!

                                  c abro

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                                  • Location: Jeffersonville, IN
                                  RE: America's Best Donuts Tue, 07/21/09 11:31 AM (permalink)
                                  I realize this is an old thread but I have to put in my two cents worth. If you find yourself traveling northbound on I-65 around the Ohio river, I would highly recommend a detour at exit 0 in Indiana. Go to the bottom of the ramp and turn right. About five blocks or so on your right, on the corner of Court Ave. and Walnut is a place called Jeff's Bakery. I would put Jeff's up against anybody's doughnuts. They mostly do yeast doughnuts but on Saturday and Sunday they also do some of the best cake doughnuts I have ever eaten. Jeff's also makes the best apple fritter I have found in years. My only knock on the place is he's sometimes a little too generous with his frostings and glazes. That's why I like the weekend but you have to be quick. I've been in there at 7:00 and the place looked like a swarm of locusts hit it.  If you're traveling southbound it's not easy to get to. You have to get off on Hwy.62 and work your way through several blocks south and then east. They're open at 5:00 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

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                                    RE: America's Best Donuts Tue, 07/21/09 12:18 PM (permalink)
                                    All donuts, doughnuts are good....

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                                      • Location: Chicago, IL
                                      RE: America's Best Donuts Sun, 08/16/09 5:49 PM (permalink)
                                      Was in Louisville last weekend and took the opportunity to drive across the river and go to Jeff's. Have to agree that they were great donuts, although I only had the opportunity to sample a couple because they were almost out by 10:00 on Sunday morning. That said, I had one of the greatest apple fritters ever! Heavier loaded with apples that any I have ever had. Definitely recommend.

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                                        • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
                                        RE: America's Best Donuts Sun, 08/16/09 6:37 PM (permalink)
                                        Since the thread keeps reviving and I noticed Tobie's in Hinckley, MN was on the list and I knew of a place better. I feel I must settle this once and for all. The World's Best Donuts are in Grand Marais, MN. It says so.


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                                          • Location: New York, NY
                                          RE: America's Best Donuts Mon, 08/24/09 10:05 PM (permalink)
                                          Funny this thread should re-emerge and be near the top of the list.  I live in NY.  Donut Plant, feh.  Even when my Mom lived four blocks from the place I wouldn't bother with it.  Ok, maybe they are an acquired taste.

                                          In almost ten years in NY I've been looking for a light, cake-y cake donut that was tender inside, crispy on the outside, not greasy and had just the right chocolate icing.

                                          Marshall Field's basement/tunnel bakery had the best years ago. 

                                          On the MI-OH leg of a NY-IL-MI-OH-NY driving trip, we got lucky.  Took a wrong turn off I-94 one exit too soon and found:

                                          Ericann Cookies & Ramberg's BakeryAd in Union Pier, Michigan.
                                          Right off the corner of Town Line Road and Red Arrow Highway.

                                          Just right, still a little warm at 7:30AM, I bought two.  We wound up turning around and getting another half dozen "for the road."

                                          They were just as good with coffee at noon in western PA. 

                                          <message edited by Forsyth on Mon, 08/24/09 10:09 PM>

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                                            • Location: New York, NY
                                            RE: America's Best Donuts Mon, 08/24/09 10:07 PM (permalink)
                                            P.S.  Anyone with suggestions for LI, holler!


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                                              • Location: Hatfield, PA
                                              Re:America's Best Donuts Mon, 08/24/09 10:20 PM (permalink)
                                              I had always heard about how great Krispy Kreme donuts were so I stopped and bought some in South Carolina one time.  Absolutely worst donut I have ever had.
                                              My favorite is Yum Yum Bake Shops in Warminster, Colmar and Quakertown, PA

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                                                • Location: Shawnee, KS
                                                Re:America's Best Donuts Tue, 08/25/09 2:57 PM (permalink)

                                                I had always heard about how great Krispy Kreme donuts were so I stopped and bought some in South Carolina one time.  Absolutely worst donut I have ever had.
                                                My favorite is Yum Yum Bake Shops in Warminster, Colmar and Quakertown, PA

                                                Yum-Yum is far better than Krispy Kreme.  But then again, most places are.  My vote for all-time worst donuts from a donut shop is Dunkin Donuts.  I understand why they chose the name Dunkin Donuts because without the coffee you'd never be able to get them down.
                                                  slow racer

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                                                  • Location: Leawood, KS
                                                  RE: America's Best Donuts Tue, 08/25/09 4:37 PM (permalink)
                                                  Fluffy Fresh Donut 10123 State Line Rd
                                                  Kansas City, has the best cake donuts bar none in the region old fashion sour cream donuts especially.
                                                  Perhaps a different take on donuts was the old R donut in Ft. Lauderdale, scenery and counter service were  better than the donuts.

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                                                    • Location: pittsburgh, PA
                                                    RE: America's Best Donuts Fri, 08/28/09 2:02 AM (permalink)
                                                    my 2 cents 
                                                    Hands down: BOB'S DONUTS on polk street in san francisco. After midnight is prime time as they are coming straight out of the grease. The buttermilk with a jelly cross on top is probably as close to a religious experience as I will have. 

                                                    Another great spot: Dixie Cream in columbia, MO. The cake donuts are almost poundcake dense. Perfect smaller size as well....what I would imagine homer simpson eating at the plant.

                                                    Voodoo donuts is great in concept but on my 4 or 5 visits the donuts themselves didn't really impress. Also had a high stale ratio. Dixie cream had a better bacon donut. 


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                                                      • Location: sacramento, CA
                                                      RE: America's Best Donuts Sat, 09/12/09 12:24 PM (permalink)
                                                      For some reason, there are no real donut shops in downtown Sacramento.  You have to go at least 6 blocks from "real" downtown, or to Old Sac tourist trap and pay $2. per starting at 11am.   Best in the area, though is Marie's DO-Nut Shop on Freeport Blvd.  They split a plain raised glazed and fill it with fresh whipped cream.  Sometimes I don't want breakfast, I only want donuts and coffee.  Plural on the donuts.  Anyway, if someone wanted to open a donut shop downtown, they'd make a killing. 

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                                                        • Location: Alsip, IL
                                                        Re:America's Best Donuts Sat, 09/19/09 11:48 PM (permalink)
                                                        Tim Hortons by far, the best donut is the Canadian Maple, long time reader, 1st time poster.
                                                          Wandering Chew

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                                                          • Location: Miami, FL
                                                          Re:America's Best Donuts Sun, 09/20/09 11:09 PM (permalink)
                                                          Im surprised more New england Donut shops aren't mentioned. My favorite is Congdon's in Wells ME just north of Ogunquit in on US1. GREAT cake donuts- the cake with chocolate fudge topping is super, as is the coconut cake. In Rockland is the Willow street donut shop now on US1 WITH VERY GOOD plain, cinnamon and molasses -all cake donuts. Moody diners chocolate and plain cake are very good to as are most mom and pop diners in Maine who make their donuts fresh.

                                                          i've had Donut Plant donuts but only from Zabar's- good not great, a little heavy- did the travel wear them out?? i'd rather have the homemade rugallah.

                                                          winchells in LA and the West coast were great for a chain- are they still around. Ive had good donuts on the way to Maine from Logan (not Honey Dew) but someplace near the Clam Box in a small town - anyone know where? Very old fashioned and classic donuts.

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                                                            Re:America's Best Donuts Fri, 11/16/12 11:37 AM (permalink)
                                                            In an interesting cross-reference, Round Rock Donuts is featured in Roadside America (with pictures):
                                                            Round Rock, Texas - Donuts Larger than your Head
                                                            These doughnuts are truly tasty. They are a weird yellow color, but that has something to do with the recipe. You go inside to get your doughnut, but if you want to sit and enjoy it you have to sit outside at one of their four tables. That is the only downside to Round Rock Donuts. [Danielle O., 11/15/2012] 
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