Where to Get the Best Donuts in the U.S., According to Federal Donuts Founders

Federal Donuts

In addition to recipes, the new Federal Donuts book also includes a definitive guide to donuts across the country.

It’s no secret that Federal Donuts has quickly risen to the apex of dessert stardom. The Philly-based joint serves up the ultimate trifecta of comfort foods: fried chicken, coffee, and donuts*, often all together in one sinfully delicious meal. They’re particularly famous for inventive confections like strawberry lavender and pomegranate tehina, freshly made with just the right balance of texture and flavor. Aside from expanding to Miami this summer, the chain’s latest venture is a self-titled book, which officially hits stores today. Federal Donuts: The (Partially) True Spectacular Story includes everything from the history of the store to the secrets behind some of their most delectable recipes (glazed blueberry mascarpone, anyone?)—there’s even a section devoted to catering your very own “FedNuts” wedding.

Luckily for fans outside of the Philadelphia and Miami area, the book also includes a definitive guide to “Donuts that Are Better than Ours” across the country, vetted by some of FedNut’s founders; Mike Solomonov, Tom Henneman, and Steven Cook. It may seem hard to believe that their milk and coffee-flavored donut can be topped, but after reading the guide, we at Traveler got pretty hungry. Read on for our (abbreviated) list of FedNut’s favorite American donut shops.

 

Dynamo Donut + Coffee: San Francisco, California

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Known for fresh fruit-infused recipes and a killer maple bacon donut, Henneman cites Dynamo as one of Federal’s inspirations. “As we left, I had only two thoughts: This is awesome, and There’s nothing like this in Philly. A week later, Bobby and I began plotting what would eventually become Federal Donuts.” —Tom Henneman

 

Blue Star Donuts: Portland, Oregon

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Blue Stars finessed treats have expanded beyond Oregon, with additional locations in Los Angeles and Tokyo. The classic Portland-style donuts are made with brioche dough, layered with complex flavors including blueberry bourbon basil and passion fruit cocoa nib. “Blue Star’s famous Cointreau crème brûlée donut is filled with rich vanilla custard and comes with a pipette of Cointreau syrup that pierces the crunchy torched-sugar top for a very grown-up donut experience. It’s no wonder they’re big in Japan.” —Steven Cook

 

Glam Doll Donuts: Minneapolis, Minneapolis

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All-pink-everything characterizes this retro-chic donut shop, which serves up Instagrammable donuts with a punk twist. “With names like Dark Angel (vanilla bean creme and chocolate), Femme Fatale (fresh raspberry curd and vanilla icing), and Pinup Girl (apple bourbon fritter—bacon optional), Tessa and Awryn know how to optimize their titillating creations. But Glam Doll is not all about sin; the shop offers excellent vegan donuts, too.” —Steven Cook

 

Five Daughters Bakery: Nashville, Tennessee

Five Daughters has made its home near Music Row and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where it’s become renowned for its 100-layer donut base—a croissant-donut hybrid that takes more than three days to make. “Inside, the house is filled with light, the scent of buttery pastry, and the hum of happy people. Trays of donuts sit behind a glass case like precious jewels.” —Mike Solomono

 

Doughnut Vault: Chicago, Illinois

This tiny Chi-Town shop features only three kinds of donuts—old-fashioned, yeast-raised, and gingerbread stacks. But their simplicity accounts for some of FedNut’s favorite treats of all time. “I’ll stop short of saying in print that these were the best donuts I ever had. After all, we are running a donut shop of our own. (But these were the best donuts I had ever had.) Oh, and also $1 coffee.”—Steven Cook.

 

Curiosity Doughnuts: Stockton, New Jersey

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One of many Jersey joints on this list, Curiosity Donuts serves up rich, decadent flavors right in the heart of a farmer’s market. Solomonov cites buttermilk lime and apple pie with butterscotch glaze as some of his favorites; however, the shop also caters to comfort foods, just like Federal Donuts. “Their frozen custard is out of control, and their fried chicken is pretzel-crusted and delicious. How lucky for us they don’t serve coffee.” —Mike Solomonov

You can read the full list of donut shops in the book, available for order here.

*Normally, we’d style the word “doughnuts.” To be consistent with the name of the restaurant and book, however, we have decided to use “donuts” throughout.

 

Conde Nast Traveler | October 2017
Bridget Hallinan

 

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