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Where are the donuts?

There seems not to be a donut culture here in the cities. I have lived all over the country and most locations have donuts and a culture of donuts and donut shops. What is going on in the twin cities? I don't get it. Please hounders, I need my fix, and I don't know where to go. I have been to grandmas in West St. Paul and they are really good, but its such a trek. Any ideas of good donuts closer to the core cities?

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  1. There isn't a huge donut culture here, compared to places like LA. Dunkin Donuts doesn't have a presence here. Krispy Kreme tried several years ago and couldn't make it work. (Part of KK's problem was that they let their quality slide by selling old stale donuts at every gas station in town.)

    Most bakeries (of which we have many fine ones) will make some donuts, and there are a few old-school dedicated ones, like Mel-O-Glaze Donuts in Minneapolis. (Which I highly recommend, by the way.)

    The recent "craft donut" craze has caught on here in a small way, and there are a handful of places specializing in gourmet-ish, hipster donuts. Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis is an obvious contender, as is Mojo Monkey in St. Paul, and YoYo Donuts in Minnetonka.

    1. A Bakers Wife
      4200 28th Avenue S.
      Minneapolis MN 55406

      I'm more fond of cake donuts rather than yeasted. The cinnamon sugar donuts here are my favorite over all other places.

      Mojo Monkey, Glam Doll, Mello Glaze all suffer in comparison because A Bakers Wife does exactly what I like so very very well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KTFoley

        Love them too, though I get the plain cake. They are great, especially fresh out of the fryer.

      2. My go-to place for donuts is Puffy Cream. Bad news for you, they are in Eagan.

        http://eagan.patch.com/listings/puffy...

        2 Replies
        1. re: ChillyDog

          When I worked in Eagan, Puffy Cream was our donut go-to. They were very good, especially the giant fritter-type.

          1. re: ChillyDog

            +1 on Puffy Cream

            Always a hit at my Eagan-based employer.

          2. I've been around the Twin Cities for years. There used to be a donut culture equal to most areas but I think this metro area took to the bagel trend and coffee shop scone and muffins hard and donuts went by the wayside.

            Donuts in general are not as prevalent as in the past almost everywhere. However, when we travel to Texas I am still amazed how many independent donut shops exist there.

            1. I like YoYo Donuts and Granny Donuts; one is more modern and the other is classic/basic.

              Glam Doll Donuts is only so-so - more style than substance.

              I have periodically visited A Baker's Wife over the years, and it seems to be getting dustier and dustier...it just isn't clean or appealing.

              Mojo Monkey does a good job with trendier donuts.

              We did have Donut Cooperative, whose owner actually won one of those donut competition things on Food/Cooking (?) Channel, but the business just didn't make it. Their donuts were pretty terrible the two times I went there, actually.

              We just don't have much in the way of a donut culture in the Twin Cities, but it's much better than it used to be!

              1. Sad to say but the Old Fashion at Cub are pretty good.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ibew292

                  That isn't sad at all, in my opinion. Their glazed old fashioneds are awesome.

                  1. re: ibew292

                    Well, then maybe it depends on which location. The last two times someone has brought me a doughnut from Cub (two different locations) the bag was entirely soaked through with grease by the time it got to me a half hour after they bought and the entire doughnut reeked of fryer oil.

                    Old school doughnut shop I'd have to say Granny's in WSP.

                  2. As mentioned YoYo Donuts does some of the trendier ones but their classic donuts kill it in my opinion. My go-to for an old fashioned whether glazed or plain.

                    1. This going to sound very declasse, but if you can find a very fresh old fashioned donut at a Holiday Station store, they are quite good. Light sugar glaze on the outside, a little bit of crunch and a fluffy fresh inside. Stay away from the glazed donuts.

                      The old fashioned are my guilty pleasure.

                      1. Always go to Mel-O-Glaze for my fix.

                        1. My favs are Mel-O-Glaze in MPLS for classic raised, and Mojo Monkey in STP for the newer, more extravagant types.

                          I've heard excellent things about a Baker's Wife for the cake type doughnuts, I'm just not a fan of that type.

                          I recently had Glam Dolls doughnuts twice, and agree with a previous poster, more glam than substance. Very interesting ideas and concept with their doughnuts, but the execution just wasn't there.

                          Deviating slightly, I find it interesting that a poster above said that the twin cities had a big doughnut culture, but that it disappeared when bagels and other good got popular. It's been a struggle to find a good bagel in the twin cities, with the exception of the St. Paul Bagelry. Like other cities have a solid doughnut shop on most blocks, and others have a solid bagel on most blocks, the twin cities have neither.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: foreverhungry

                            I find St. Paul Bagelry's bagels a little too bready for my taste, preferring Common Roots bagel instead. Neither is the best bage I've ever had.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Agree 100%. Tandem Bagels in Mankato is excellent and I'd drive to The Gingerbread House in Rochester for their glazed donut holes!

                              1. re: teamkitty

                                Tandem Bagels is in Northfield now, too, just FYI.

                          2. I was recently in Houston TX and was shocked that there is a donut shop on every corner and 3 in between. Just crazy amount of donut shops, they made coffee shop placements look reserved in comparison.

                            I've liked the two times I've had Glam Doll. For an everyday solid donut, SuperMom's from SuperAmerica are good. I prefer raised versus cake donuts. Cub actually has decent donuts too.

                            1. I'm a big fan of glazed donuts and filled donuts, so my favorites are Mel-O-Glaze, YoYo Donuts and Angel Food Bakery. The glazed at Mel-O-Glaze can't be beat, IMO. And Angel Food has a blueberry glazed that I really love.

                              1. Heights Bakery makes IMHO the best raised doughnuts in town (never tried the cake variety) and their apple fritters are to die for. Don't expect anything fancy however; this is just a classic old school bakery. For those of you old enough to remember the "old" Franklin St. Bakery (before they went corporate), you'll know what to expect.

                                Plus, they're only about a 12-15 minute drive from downtown.

                                Heights Bakery
                                4925 Central Ave NE
                                Minneapolis, MN 55421

                                1. Thanks for all the advice. It seems I will be on the donut hunt soon. For me, its cake donuts or apple fritters. I will check out The Bakers Wife (thanks KT), and Cub!?(Thanks IBEW) soon. With this colder weather, its time for a sweet carb fix.

                                  1. Granny Donuts in West St. Paul is as old-school classic as you can get. Their glazed, blueberry cake and apple fritters are all tops. However, the "gentleman" who owns it is very difficult to deal with and frequently works the counter, and he seems to have a litany of things that piss him off coupled with a bizarre sense of humor. Just be prepared that he will always try to upsell you, and if you don't comply you will get an attitude. However, the donuts are worth it.

                                    A Baker's Wife is wonderful, though I always seem to get the tea cake instead of the donuts.

                                    Mel-o-Glaze? No thanks. I went in once in the morning and they were serving stale stuff...at least a day old. There are too many great places in town for me to give them a second chance.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: gryffindor249

                                      So weird to read this, as my experience with Granny's is the opposite. I only ever get the apple fritters, not being much of a donut lover. But not only is the owner always pleasant and friendly, he's never tried to upsell me from my one measly fritter purchase and he has sometimes thrown in an extra one gratis. Maybe I just look hungry.

                                      1. re: clepro

                                        My four or so experiences there have been good as well.

                                        1. re: clepro

                                          There was actually an article about his bad attitude in the Pioneer Press a couple of years back. Though rumor has it he can be selective in his harassment.

                                      2. Areed with Mel-o, Yoyo, and Cub. Not much mention of Angel Food but they are quite good as well, also the only place I know of doing 'cronuts'.

                                        Glam Doll isn't worth it. Bakers Wife seemed to have slipped a little the last couple times I went.

                                        A little harder to come by but Bogart Loves which were just sold every other weekend or so at the Kingfield Farmers Market were awesome, highly recommend making your way there next year.

                                        http://heavytable.com/anne-rucker-of-...

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: getgot211

                                          http://heavytable.com/bogarts-doughnu...

                                          So Bogart Loves will soon have a shop, and will then be about the best place to regularly get donuts.

                                          1. re: getgot211

                                            Bogart's is on my list, but a search of Chow shows this is the only mention of it. Any updates? I see from their FB page that they sell out of certain flavours quickly, and will sometimes sell out for the day around noon.

                                            1. re: prasantrin

                                              See Heavy Table or Eater Minneapolis for current info on Bogart's doughnuts (and other bakeries). Chowhound's search is pathetic - even if there was recent info, the chow search wouldn't find it. (Tip: Don't bother with the chow search box; instead, search from google and include "site:chowhound.chow.com" in the search string.) Plus, there are (sadly) less doughnut-eaters on chowhound these days - myself included.

                                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                Thanks. I think I found out about them through either Heavy Table or Eater MSP. I was just surprised there was so little mention of them here.

                                                I went early this morning. I got two brown butter, and 1 each of the rest (chocolate cake, nutella filled, cream filled, glazed...I might be missing one, but I think that might be it).

                                                I think they're good doughnuts--not too dense, but not so light it seems like you're eating air, not a doughnut. I do find the glazes to be too sweet, and I don't notice the browned butter in the browned butter glazed doughnut. I really like browned butter, so I was a little disappointed.

                                                One thing I noticed was that the doughnut smelled very heavily of grease. Not unusual since they're fried, but I was thinking it might be time for them to change their fryer oil. The doughnuts, however, do not smell like they've been fried in old oil, so that was probably just my imagination.

                                                If I were in the 'hood, I'd go again. But I'm not likely to be in the 'hood again. I don't think they're worth a special trip, though.

                                                1. re: prasantrin

                                                  follow up, I just the rest of my brown butter glazed, and I liked it much more than I did earlier. I could taste the butter more and it didn't seem as sweet.

                                                  I don't like the cake doughnuts, though. The chocolate one has a nice dark chocolate flavour, but I find the cake ones to be rather coarse. Upon closer examination, I did have a lavender one. Slight lavender flavour, but that's a good thing (you don't want to feel like you're eating your grandmother's soap, after all).

                                        2. Minnesotans save up their donut cravings for a period in late August called the State Fair. Then they eat bags and bags of mini-donuts, swear them off for good, and then gorge again the following year. No time for donuts in between!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: GutGrease

                                            Which reminds me. Several weeks ago I had my first experience with a bag of mini donuts, the apple cider donuts at Apple Junction in Hastings. HIGHLY recommended... sticking your hand into a bag filled with still warm donut holes, the smell of apples and autumn all around, and then popping little nuggets of sweet spiciness into your mouth, is pretty much Minnesota perfect.

                                          2. I have only had Glam Doll donuts once, 3 varieties, and I thought they were very good, some more than others. Worth a try, and they are open late and convenient location. I didn't think the bacon-chocolate was worth it, but one that was filled with a cream was pretty amazing, i forget exactly, but white chocolate was involved.

                                            I am also disappointed with the lack of doughnut culture in such a cold place, but am adapting. For convenience, Cub's can be pretty good. SuperAmerica is best for ultra-convenience but they are not very good usually. I really don't get Kowalski's. Cereal on donuts is the extent of the creativity? Gross, and boring. Lunds baked goods in general are average and donuts usually out of stock.

                                            Croissants seem to be better done in this city. Sometimes I have to use croissant + nutella as a doughnut replacement.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: L12

                                              I've tried most of Glam Doll's varieties. Some are pretty good; some are just 'fine', and some are definite misfires. The sweetish-savory donut with muenster cheese and curry-flavored icing was just not good, no matter how much I tried to appreciate it for the novelty. The salted caramel-chocolate one has just a teeny pool of liquid caramel on the top. It would be a great donut if they'd use a salted caramel icing and actually get it over the entire donut.

                                              On the other hand, the vanilla donut with the fresh raspberry curd is outstanding. Really great fruit flavor.

                                              They're selling donut chicken pot pies now, I think. I'm afraid to try one, but I have to admire the ingenuity.

                                            2. Can't speak for cake donuts or apple fritters but I get my sugar and glazed donut fix at Cub.

                                              I've gone to Glam Doll in the mornings and guaranteed every time I wind up with a dry donut. Donuts are not their strength.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: queue4ever

                                                Maybe they are better at night for some reason...

                                              2. Thanks for all the donut love out there.

                                                1. I like the doughnuts and pastries from Sarah Jane's Bakery on Johnson St NE & 29th in NE Mpls.

                                                  http://www.sarahjanesbakery.com

                                                  2853 Johnson Street NE
                                                  Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Codetron

                                                    One note on Sarah Jane's: Closed on Sundays. Which is ridiculous for a donut place, but whatever.

                                                    1. re: Foureyes137

                                                      So's Woullet, and I agree - I've always that was ridiculous.

                                                      1. re: Foureyes137

                                                        I grew up with the belief donut day was always Sunday morning to go along with reading the newspaper comic pages.

                                                        1. re: Davydd

                                                          Right? The only time I was allowed donuts as a kid was on Sundays...ostensibly as a reward for having sit through church, and the only day of the week it occurs to be to eat them now is Sundays...so I go to Lund's, which actually has pretty good donuts when you get there early.

                                                    2. I love donuts. OMG, do I love donuts. Unfortunately, the Twin Cities Donut "scene" is dominated by the fancypants donut. I love a maple bacon donut as much as anyone, but the donut purist in me dies a little bit every time I have one.

                                                      Here's what the purists need to know about:
                                                      Valley Pastries. 2570 Hillsboro Ave N in Golden Valley. (Basically 169 and Medicine Lake Road) They're open from 5AM - 11AM Tuesday - Saturday, and 5:30AM-10AM on Sundays.

                                                      I recently found them, and they have the best "plain ole donuts" in the Twin Cities. They're all hand cut, and you can get both yeast and cake varieties! If you play your cards right, you might even luck into warm donuts.

                                                      I promise you that if you find the place, you will love the donuts. But, it's also the kind of place Chowhound was created to discuss. Off the beaten path, and with hours that are, at best, difficult. (Amazingly, they've been in that location since 1987. They trace their history back to 1962)

                                                      I did find one blog post with pictures of their product: http://youcarewhatwethink.blogspot.co...

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Danny

                                                        Thanks, Danny? How are their holes? I'm less interested in eating a whole donut than a good donut hole. Again, if you get to Rochester, check out Gingerbread House.

                                                        1. re: teamkitty

                                                          Donut holes from Valley Pastries are really good. Oversized - probably 50% bigger than the typical donut hole. They are a glazed, raised donut hole rather than a cake donut. Melty!

                                                          One tip with Valley - don't go on a Sunday. They don't seem to make anything fresh on Sunday; I am guessing they just sell what didn't sell on Saturday... by 8:00am on Sundays, the selection is typically minimal, if there is anything left at all.

                                                          I'm not trying to be overly critical (because I really like their donuts and cookies), but living a couple miles away and having been there on both Saturday and Sunday, I strongly recommend going on Saturday.

                                                        2. re: Danny

                                                          I like Valley a lot too.

                                                          There is another good one in Crystal, just down the road from Valley, Douglas Drive and Medicine Lake Road. Really good and cheap. Always fresh. They have a great special on Mondays too.

                                                          1. re: Danny

                                                            As an aside, I am always confused by donuts being called "pastries" - ?

                                                          2. The Lynn on Bryant makes beautiful oldschool donuts for their weekend brunch services.

                                                            1. Mel-O-Glaze. 28th Ave S. and Minnehaha Parkway. Their specialty is the fritter, but everything is good. Everything sweet, that is (don't bother with the bread).

                                                                1. re: ibew292

                                                                  Actually,
                                                                  I've tried your old fashioned Cub ones and was pleased! I'll consider the White Trash ones, but it requires frying and I hate doing that.

                                                                2. Baker's Wife's plain cake donuts are my favorites. Go to Corner Table some time for dinner & get their fresh sweet potato donuts, they come with a molasses dipping sauce, yum! (Also, all of their food & service & everything is amazing - best kitchen table experience we've had so far too.)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: wegsjac

                                                                    I'm glad someone had mentioned Corner Table. They have some of the best donuts I've had in the Twin Cities, hands down.

                                                                  2. Totally agree that the Twin Cities doesn't seem to be as into donuts as some other cities. Seems that donuts in a lot of places (not just the Twin Cities) they are not made on-site, but shipped in from who knows where, and are always shriveled and dry. Won't help you here, but if you up north in Grand Marais, (an hour north of the North Shore) go to "World's Best Donuts" small hole-in-the wall with amazingly fresh, donuts made the truly old-fashioned way. My husband had a glazed, my daughter a powdered, and I had basically a fried donut/elephant ear. All three of them were amazing, (yes, I tried them all) and the powdered one especially was the softest freshest powdered donut I have ever had. Go and get a huge bag of them, or who knows, maybe they even ship out to the Twin Cities!