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Mar 21, 2012 11:01 AM

ISO Great Boston Doughnuts

I've been getting pastries once a week for my office from Flour, but am kind of feeling like changing things up. Any great doughnut places in the city? South End or Backbay would be particularly convenient, but not required.

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  1. I think we're a pretty weak doughnut city, probably because DD killed all the competition. There are very few places in the city that do doughnuts (like Clear Flour), but not with a big selection, and a handful outside the city that do. My favorite is Kane's (for their yeast doughnuts) in Saugus, but that's too far, and even those aren't that amazing (unless you want diabetes).

    I saw this list yesterday and was pretty amused to see two Boston places make the list. I've been to a couple NY places besides the superb Doughnut Plant that best anything I've had here by a wide margin.

    The artisan doughnut trend has hit elsewhere, notably NY and Chicago, and LA has always been a doughnut city (DD was slow to get cross country). I'm sure Boston will get a decent artisan shop in around 2016-17, as is typical for food trends hitting Boston.

    I think that a small (and cute) doughnut shop using high-quality ingredients and giving a damn in the back bay or south end would sell out early every day and make a killing. I'm surprised no one has tried yet. It's a shame that all the people who want to open sweet bakeshops here just want to do cupcakes.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DoubleMan

      I was literally just talking about this at lunch, reviving my dream of a cart that sells Doughnut Plant-caliber doughnuts. I must make this happen!

      1. re: nsenada

        I'm in. Make like 700 doughnuts a day, sell out by noon. Maybe 500 sq feet of space, 80% of which is the prep and frying area. 3 permanent flavors, 2 flavors per day on a rotating basis, and 1-2 one-off seasonal specials each day. Charge market price for a good, fair trade coffee and offer some local milk for drinks.

        I guess a truck would be easier as you could have an offsite bakery in a cheaper area like Chelsea or Everett. After a while, save up enough to open an impossibly cute brick and mortar location in the south end.

        1. re: DoubleMan

          Get the Clover guys on the phone. Sounds like what they do, but with donuts.

          1. re: DoubleMan

            Hmm - this is sounding good... I think the Clover people might "health them up" too much.

        2. re: DoubleMan

          Understand that there used to be many more wonderful Mom & Pop doughnut places here, before DD killed them. DD killed them with longer hours (doughnut shops, like many bakeries, often closed by mid-afternoon), then the coffee craplosion, and drive-throughs. Since we are in the ground zero of DD-madness, we've blasted out most of our M&P shops earlier than the rest of the country.

        3. Gotta hit the semi burbs...

          Verna's in Cambridge
          Linda's in Belmont
          Ohlin's in Belmont
          Kane's in Saugus

          17 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            Add Donuts with A Difference in Medford for tasty, ethereal glazed donuts.

            I like Linda's for cake donuts and Kane's for yeast ones. My one stop at Verna's was underwhelming, but that may be more of a personal preference given the other accolades I've seen.

            Oh, and if you're down the Cape, Hole in One in Orleans and North Eastham, both for glazed and for the sour cream donut (think old fashioned on steriods and with the best fry-job in the world).

            1. re: emannths

              I'm not sure if Verna's is quite as good as they used to be.

              If you like glazed, try the ones at Ohlin's. Really excellent.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                Agree with both of these points. Ohlin's butter crunch donut is amazing.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  Gosh how could I forget the butter crunch? The crack cocaine of donuts.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I force myself to look away from Ohlin's when I take my wife to work in Belmont, as those butter crunch donuts ARE like crack!

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      I sometime bring a dozen or two in to work and the butter crunch are ALWAYS gone first. The nice thing is you can either eat them, or smoke them.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I have to take my wife to work Monday so I can have the car. I think I'm stopping for some crack on the way home!

                        1. re: kimfair1

                          Yum! I blew my diet and had an apple fritter on Sunday. While not as good as the honey dip or jelly donuts it's still pretty tasty. Ohlin's is strictly a donut destination. The rest of the baked goods aren't special or worth the calories.

                          1. re: Jpan99

                            I like the fritter quite a bit myself, but agree on the other baked goods. That fritter is a meal...

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Stopped in yesterday and picked up a butter crunch and a coconut. man these are good! What i really liked about them is they are not cake donuts but a nice raised donut, with the butter crunch or coconut covering. Good stuff.

              2. re: emannths

                Donuts with a Difference basically makes the donuts that Dunkin's used to make, back when they made more than three kinds and they were baked fresh in the shops every day.

                The Doughnut Plant donuts are pretty good, but the basic problem is that if I'm going to spend $3-5 on a donut, I'm not going to spend it on a donut. Even when I lived in New York I'd only get them when someone else was buying. Sure, in New York and LA you've got a large enough population of people with enough money that you can sell almost anything at any price, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

                1. re: Moopheus

                  Doughnut Plant is an outlier for price, but I (and lots and lots of other people) don't think it is a bad value. Dough in Brooklyn also has very good doughnuts, and for only $2. I believe Kane's are $1.75. I'm confident that Boston could support at least one good doughnut shop charging in the $2.50-3 range.

                  Of course NY and LA are bigger, but that doesn't mean lots of people won't spend lots of money here on similar-type things. Sweet has four locations!

                  1. re: DoubleMan

                    "Sweet has four locations!"

                    Yeah, I don't get that. Esp. since the one in Harvard Square hardly ever seems to have anybody in it.

                2. re: emannths

                  I like Demet's in Medford better than Donuts With A Difference, myself. It's not in the town center, but down on Mystic amid the car dealerships.

                  Also, while not worth going out of one's way for, the place that replaced (yes, replaced!) Dunkies at Sullivan Station and Wellington Station is a serious cut above Dunkies, with similar varieties, similar prices. (Note: I almost always order cake doughnuts rather than glazed, so my preferences may align with shops that do those better.) Their coffee is often kind of cold, though, at least in non-morning-rush hours.

                  1. re: antimony

                    I usually do a breakfast sandwich of some sort at Demet's, which are made to order and very good. It's a good alternative for those of us who gravitate to the yeast donuts.

                3. re: StriperGuy

                  Been to Verna's and Linda's and both were great. Verna's is still as good as ever

                4. I like Ohlin's in Belmont. Depending on how you make your way into the city that might be an options.

                  Funny, I think I'm one of the few that didn't like Doughnut Plant. Granted, I tried it when they were fairly new, back in 2000. They do much more variety now. I just felt the texture of the dough was more bready and chewy than I like in a donut.

                  Try this site for ideas for Boston donuts, it's interesting.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jpan99

                    Different strokes. I *like* Doughnut Plant because they're chewy. And they're nicely fried, which doesn't hurt.

                    1. re: Jpan99

                      I'm with Jpan. DP didn't do it for me a coupla years ago. Nothing special there at all except vibe. Lotsa vibe. Good vibe.

                      1. re: Jpan99

                        I agree with you on the overly chewy texture. Though they do sell a few cake donuts now.

                      2. Donuts and Bagels are way lacking in terms of breakfast food. I'd love to see a truck/restaurant that really did it right in the city.

                        1. Curious - has anyone ever tried Donuts & Donuts in Quincy Center? I pass by it every so often, but usually only for errands so I've never stopped in. According to their store front signs, they make their donuts fresh.