By Troy Petenbrink
While some of the once popular donut shops in Washington, D.C. area, such as GBD and Zombies, have closed there are still many places to find outstanding donuts. Here are five of the area’s best with offerings ranging from classic to funky — but all delicious.
749 8th St. S.E.
Washington DC 20003
Since its early days as a homegrown catering business back in 2012, District Doughnut has made its mark with the unexpected. It’s rare you will find a donut shop serving cannoli, baklava, and cookies and cream flavored treats but they are common place at District Doughnut. Its salted dulce de leche doughnut even won praise from Food & Wine Magazine; however, many customers swear by the “Brown Butter,” a yeast donut with a cinnamon sugar coating and brown butter icing. In addition to its Capitol Hill location, District Doughnut has a location in Georgetown.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
1308 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Co-owned by childhood friends Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern (the first native Washingtonian to play for the Washington Capitals), Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken turned heads when it opened. Its twist on the classic waffles and chicken concept was quickly embarrassed and continues to draw crowds. It keeps to a rather small menu with vanilla glazed, maple bacon, PB&J, and crème brûlée as the daily offers, along with a few specialty options, such as the smoked almond brittle that includes butterscotch glaze with chopped smoked and salted almond brittle. In addition to its D.C. location, Astro has a food truck and a location in Falls Church, Virginia.
Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee
804 N. Henry St..
Alexandria, VA 22314
Birthed in nearby Richmond, Va., Sugar Shack Donuts has a strong foothold in the DMV. It has multiple locations in Northern Virginia, including Alexandria and Arlington, and will soon open a location in D.C. proper. Sugar Shack takes great pride in the fact that it hand rolls and hand cuts each of its donuts in small batches throughout the day. Its “Tastes Like a Samoa” and the sea salt caramel are among its most popular offerings.
Related: Best Macaroons In Washington, D.C.
Mama’s Donut Bites Food Truck
The hot, fresh mini donuts from Mama’s Donut Bits can be found at various Northern Virginia farmers markets throughout the year. In addition, its signature pink food truck makes the rounds in D.C. and Arlington, Va. Mama’s standard offering is tasting mini cake donuts coated in a mix of sugar and cinnamon. Customers then have the option of adding their own toppings, such as caramel, chocolate, sprinkles, and powered sugar.
2511 N. Harrison St.
Arlington, VA 22207
Another regional franchise, Duck Donuts began in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and has spread across the east coast with nearly a dozen locations in the DMV. Each location makes fresh vanilla cake donuts and then directs its customers through a three step process: 1) pick a coating, which range from bare to blueberry icing, 2) pick a topping, such as bacon bits or shredded coconut, and 3) pick a drizzle of hot fudge, blackberry, raspberry, or salted caramel.