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Independent doughnut shops in Boston or nearby?

Now that Dunkin' Donuts has taken over, are there any independent doughnut shops left that aren't 20 miles out of town? I know there's a famous place in Saugus, but haven't made it out there b/c I have no car. Is there anyplace in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, or nearby public transit with good, old-school-style doughnuts (or is it officially "donuts" by now?)?

PS I'm guilty of eating a Dunkin' Donuts Boston Kreme donut from time to time. When they're fresh, I have to admit that they're not bad, but I'm sure there is better out there.

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  1. My favorite local (though not lo-cal) donuts are from Verna's on Mass Ave in North Cambridge - especially the plain cake donuts and plain crullers. ("Plain" is such a cruel word in this case)

    Demet's Donuts (Mystic Ave, Medford) and Linda's (Belmont St, Belmont) also have their fans. Both Demet's and Linda's make a bigger donut than Verna's, and, to my taste at least, somewhat sweeter - but Verna's wins for me for the slight crunchiness of the perfectly-fried exterior.

    All three should be reachable by T (though I'm not entirely sure about Demet's) - all three are definitely old-school non-machine-made get-there-early-or-the-good-ones-are-gone donut shops.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Geary

      Demet's is on the 95 from Sullivan and the 96 from Davis also goes nearby, there is yet another that goes up Main St which is easy walking distance but its also from Sullivan.

      Verna's is on the 77 (and others), Linda's the 73. Running the 77 there is another independent donut shop in Arlington center -- get off at the Starbucks and walk past the theater. Not quite in the same league as, but they offer huge cinnamon rolls.

      I prefer Linda's and Demet's (and Kane's) to Verna's, but its about time to try Verna's again. Mike's in Everett was a big loss. I would also suggest trying some Brazilian bakeries for sonhos mineiros with doce de leite.

      1. re: itaunas

        What is the other donut shop in Arlington Center? I've lived and worked around there for a couple years and had no idea...

        1. re: itaunas

          Ah, never mind, found it in the posts below. I had no idea that Gail Ann's served donuts!

        2. re: Bob Geary

          I also recommend Verna's cinnamon donuts -- a variation on the plain donut. I don't like non-crunchy variety like jelly so much there.

        3. If you search donuts/doughnuts, you'll see lots of old talk. In Forest Hills station is Mike's who have good donuts, altho they seem to have gone a little down hill. Then take a bus from FH to Roslindale and visit Diane's who have wonderful donuts, for only $.65. Or take a different bus to West Roxbury to Anna's on Centre St. There's also a Mike's on Mission Hill, walk down Tremont St. from the E line or 39 bus or take the 66. Stop & Shop used to make a decent donut but since most of them have Dunkin in there now, not so much. And there's Betty Ann's in East Boston but I haven't been there.

          1. Not in Boston Metro, but still deserves a mention..Donut Cafe in Worcester. Simply the best donuts I've ever had. They use a little nutmeg in the coffee rolls.....mmmmm

            1. How are the doughnuts at Twin Doughnuts in Allston?

              I never get there at a proper doughnut eating time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: horrible

                I knew there was another donut place right in town. Twin are quite decent, I've only gotten them a couple times tho. Don't they have donuts all day?

              2. Gail Anne's is an old school coffee shop with awesome donuts and breads (banana, apple etc) -- 10 Medford St in Arlington (across from the Regent Theatre in Arlington Center) (take the 77 down Mass Ave)

                1 Reply
                1. re: MaineRed

                  Yes, Gail Ann's is very good. Back when I ate donuts all the time, I went there a lot. Linda's in Belmont is definitely good, too.

                2. My favorite is Donut Villa in Malden; it's in a plaza with a Bally's fitness on Highland Ave, tucked behind a Dunkin's, almost across the street from BJ's.

                  I think their donuts beat Demt's, hands down. There sugar donuts (my favorite) are light, flavorful, soft and have just a tiny bit of crispness at the outside. The glazed aren't so overwhelming I can't eat more than a bite, yet they are rich and lovely, while the chocolate are dense and chocolately. They usually sell out by 10 am. Plus it's a decent breakfast dive; I can't honestly say the food is really chowish, but the atmosphere almost makes up for it.

                  Donut Villa
                  1 Highland Ave # A
                  Malden, MA 02148
                  (781) 322-3028

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Raconteur

                    Thanks- we don't have donuts much, but nice to know there is a place close by ( Kanes is near me, too). Used to be a great donut shop in Melrose- now home to MExico Lindo.

                  2. There's a great donut place in the Quincy Center Red Line station, called Donuts N Donuts. They have enormous crullers-chocolate, honey dipped, old-fashioned, and jelly filled. The jelly-filled probably weighs almost a pound. Their donuts are fresh and tasty, not too sweet, with a nice little crunch when you bite into them.

                    They also make these outstanding lemon, raspberry and cherry squares, that are about 1.5 inches thick with fruit filling. Very good.

                    They also have decent coffee, and they make a very nice egg/sausage sandwich. Oh, and the counter staff speak English, and when you ask for an Old-Fashioned donut, they don't try to reach for the glazed or chocolate ones, like some OTHER donut places I've been to...

                    1. I live right near Linda's, which are very good, but prefer Verna's.

                      Recently ate a DD plain and a blueberry and could not believe how bad they were. They really have gone down hill. DD donuts used to be a least passable, these were lame, small, textureless excuses for them to sell coffee. Oh yeah, that's right, that is the business model.

                      1. Now I'm really craving some doughnuts. I'll definitely check out Verna's, which is very convenient to me, and I'll have to make Zipcar or bus pilgrimages to Medford and other places.


                        4 Replies
                        1. re: bella_sarda

                          I love Verna's, but I would like to warn you that I found their Boston Cream doughnut to be the worst I've ever had. Everything else I've had there (coffee, doughnuts, a bran muffin one day) has been fantastic. It is on a bus line, but it's also a very short walk from the Davis Sq. T stop.

                          Also, be aware that Verna's is closed on Sunday. And they run out of doughnuts fast somedays...

                          1. re: maillard

                            I am a huge Verna's fan, I even like their jelly (and I don't like jelly donuts) but I agree, whatever donuts have that weird white foam are an abomination. Tastes more like shaving cream.

                            Chocolate glazed, plain, jelly, butternut, coconut, all excellent.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Is the weird white foam in the boston cream? Or in a kreme type of donut? The cream center of the boston cream that I had was yellow, but sour. Almost like they had accidentally filled it with lemon.

                              Plain is my favorite for breakfast and the glazed crueller is my favorite as a snack. I also love that they have a raisin doughnut. Why doesn't anyone else make this? It's wonderful, though too sweet for breakfast (for me).

                              1. re: maillard

                                You're right, it is the "Kreme" donut.

                        2. There's a tiny "secret doughnut factory" just off the bike path in Somerville (at the corner of Morrison and Highland Road (which is NOT Highland Ave.)). They have a tiny retail window where you can pick up fresh 'nuts for like 25ยข each, maybe only in the afternoons. Lots of school kids. Very tasty when fresh. Think cinnamon.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: DavisSquare

                            That is the company that supplies catering trucks and I believe vending machines. I think its called Russ' Donuts, but am not 100% certain.

                            1. re: itaunas

                              Oh man, I was always wondering what that smell was when I run that route on the bike path - at 6am it smells like HEAVEN:).

                              1. re: itaunas

                                Right you are (google is my friend):
                                Russ' Donuts
                                2 Highland Road
                                Somerville, MA

                                Essentially no information on the web beyond name and address (and a citation for operating before 7am)

                            2. There is aplace in W. Rox on Centre St called "Anna's" .. From what I remember they used to have some pretty good homeade donuts.. I no longer eat them but the place is still there....

                              1. Ohlin's bakery in Belmont, on Common Street has pretty good donuts. I like the glazed yeast and the jelly.

                                Stopped at a Honey Dew (chain) on the Mass Pike for a glazed donut, it was horrible.

                                1. twin donuts in allston! their donuts beat DnD any day. when you get there early enough (like 7am) you have all the pickings. later on, its pretty slim. chocolate and reg old fashioned or glazed varieties there are really good.