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Top Pot Doughnuts

2124 5th Ave., Seattle, WA - (206) 728-1966
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/9/2006 6:44:00 PM
First and foremost, there's the crunch of the doughnut's skin. It is crisp enough to feel like your teeth are breaking something, after which they sink into the creamy cake interior just below the golden crust. Even a plain old fashioned doughnut at Top Pot is a sensuous experience. Encase the top half with silky dark chocolate or a glistening thick sugar glaze and this modest-sized circular pastry becomes sheer ecstasy.

They call them "gourmet doughnuts" at Top Pot, of which there are three shops now in Seattle; and if gourmet means better than average, the term is apt. There's nothing frou-frou or pretentious about them. They are good ol' cake doughnuts, the kind you want to have with morning coffee, but by any meaningful standard – taste, texture, heft, even good looks – they are in a league by themselves, far beyond any of the better-known national chains and just about as good as any served by our favorite doughnut shops in the Northeast, where, until today, we believed all the really good donuts are.

Thanks to several Roadfood.com users who tipped us off to Top Pot, and to Seattlite Rebekah Denn, who took us there, our perspective on doughnut excellence has been broadened. The downtown Top Pot we visited is a beautiful, airy space with book-lined walls and retro décor that includes a vintage TV and an handsome old espresso machine – and there is another on Capitol Hill and one in Wedgewood. The nice guy behind the counter told us that Top Pot now has a bakery but not a retail shop in Portland, where they make doughnuts for local Starbuck's there. We asked if the owners of Top Pot planned to create an empire. He doubted that was their goal. Whatever the future of Top Pot, anyone who considers a great doughnut one of life's essential pleasures needs to come to Seattle and feast, right now.

The two other Top Pots in Seattle are located at 609 Summit Ave. E. and 6855 35th Ave. NE.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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An Old Fashioned Chocolate Doughnut is one of a couple of dozen varieties that are available (not counting fritters, bismarks and bars). We think the silky chocolate frosting is sweet harmony for the savory crunch of the doughnut's skin.
"An Old Fashioned Chocolate Doughnut is one of a couple of dozen varieties that are available (not counting fritters, bismarks and bars). We think the silky chocolate frosting is sweet harmony for the savory crunch of the doughnut's skin."
Michael Stern





Beyond doughnut excellence, Top Pot's allure has a lot to do with its ambience. Walls lined with books -- some really interesting books, by the way -- and a clean, airy space make it a great place to sit and contemplate just how good a doughnut can be. Contemplation can be abetted by coffee, espresso, and lattes streaked on top in artistic ways.
"Beyond doughnut excellence, Top Pot's allure has a lot to do with its ambience. Walls lined with books -- some really interesting books, by the way -- and a clean, airy space make it a great place to sit and contemplate just how good a doughnut can be. Contemplation can be abetted by coffee, espresso, and lattes streaked on top in artistic ways. "
Michael Stern


Here's the sign on the Top Pot on 5th Avenue. According to a post card given out inside, the recipe used to make doughnuts comes from the 1920s.
"Here's the sign on the Top Pot on 5th Avenue. According to a post card given out inside, the recipe used to make doughnuts comes from the 1920s."
Michael Stern


We love the gnarled, knobby surface of the old-fashioned doughnuts, this one coated in a sweet sugar glaze. Other old-fashioneds are available with maple, raspberry, cinnamon/sugar and chocolate. And of course you can have one plain.
"We love the gnarled, knobby surface of the old-fashioned doughnuts, this one coated in a sweet sugar glaze. Other old-fashioneds are available with maple, raspberry, cinnamon/sugar and chocolate. And of course you can have one plain."
Michael Stern



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