Gourmet cupcakes had become the craze in DC only five years ago, but now Washingtonians are seeing a resurgence of the classic fried sweet treat, the doughnut. While most people are familiar with an array of flavors, there are some DC doughnut shops that are elevating the doughnut to new heights. Whether you prefer yeast or cake, sugary or less sweet, you’ll find plenty of options in these top five doughnut shops.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
1308 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
You’ve heard of chicken and waffles, but chicken and doughnuts are the newest food craze to hit DC. Astro Doughnut, one of the first on the scene, brings you gourmet doughnuts that are prepared fresh everyday using only the finest ingredients from local farmers as much as possible. Although its menu changes seasonally, patrons love the maple bacon doughnut, which starts with your standard doughnut glazed in maple and topped with Benton’s bacon. Another popular offering is the crème brulée—a square-shaped doughnut filled with vanilla custard and glazed with vanilla that is then bruléed. For a reminiscent nod to the junk food Twinkies, the Twink-nut is a vanilla cake doughnut that has a buttercream filling and vanilla glaze. Or for those that want a campfire doughnut, there’s the s’mores, which starts with the chocolate cake doughnut that is glazed with a dark chocolate and topped with graham cracker crumbs and then the hole is filled with a bruléed meringue.
Washington, DC 20004
The newest gourmet, hand-crafted doughnuts in town, District Doughnut brings a selection of fried perfection to DC. Its all-yeast doughnuts are perfectly spongy and made with the best ingredients around. These doughnuts are for a sophisticated palate that wants to discern each individual ingredient even down to the dough. For a lighter doughnut, try the brown butter, which offers the subtle cinnamon and sugar coating that is then drizzled with a brown butter frosting. The brown butter gives it that subtle savory flavor that will have you hooked. The dulce de leche offers the classic Argentinian caramel filling inside with a salted caramel glaze on the outside for a well-balanced indulgent delight. The orange chocolate is a rich, semi-sweet decadence with an orange ganache filling that uses freshly squeezed orange juice and zest in the mix and is then topped with an orange and dark chocolate frosting. For the foodie voyeur, the shop’s storefront offers a view into the doughnut kitchen. Pair your gourmet doughnuts with the local, Virginia-based roaster Caffe Amouri who matches its blends to District’s doughnuts. Until the storefront location opens, these doughnuts should be ordered ahead of time.
1323 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Another new fried chicken and doughnuts place, GBD—which stands for Golden Brown Delicious—serves up craft doughnuts next to its southern fried chicken. More than just a quick stop, GDB offers a full bar with decent happy hour specials and tables and booths in the back, making it a comfortable place to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner and get your sweet fix. Offering both cake and yeast doughnuts, the most popular is the bourbon butterscotch glazed brioche, which starts with a perfectly crafted yeast doughnut that is light and fluffy, but not chewy at all. It’s then glazed with a bourbon butterscotch glaze and sprinkled with bacon. Another popular selection is the Joe cake, which is a doughnut reminiscent of coffee cake with raisins and vanilla glaze drizzled with a vanilla icing. For the fruit lovers, the key lime curd filled doughnut is just as it says, a yeast doughnut filled with a key lime curd and glazed in vanilla with a graham cracker crumb sprinkle.
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Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts
635 North Carolina Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
At the Eastern Market every Saturday and Sunday, you’ll find an unassuming food stand with the freshest doughnuts in DC. Unlike most other doughnut shops that make their doughnuts in the morning for sale that day, Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts are fried to order while you wait. Then you can make the doughnuts the way you want with the toppings bar. You can top your fresh and hot doughnuts off with powdered sugar, cinnamon, sprinkles, chocolate or honey. Wash it all down with some coffee or lemonade.
Zeke’s DC Donutz
2029 P St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
This retro hip hop, Dupont Circle doughnut shop offers a variety of crafted doughnuts ranging from savory to sweet. The dense yeast doughnuts are a meal in and of themselves. Flavor varieties include the wildly popular peanut butter bacon doughnut, which has a peanut butter frosting and crumbled bacon on top. For those that enjoy the spicy sweet flavors, try the Mexican chocolate doughnut, which is a whole doughnut filled with spiced chocolate and topped with a chocolate frosting. A perfect breakfast or snack place, Zeke’s also serves cereal and coffee.
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