Mmmm, Forbidden Doughnut

More than ten billion doughnuts are made in the US each year. That means doughnuts outnumber earth’s population (by about 3 billion) every year. What…? We must love the hell out of this sweet, doughy treat.


These days, DC is doing its part in American doughnut creation and consumption. More than half-a-dozen specialty doughnut shops have cropped up since 2010. Local blogs countdown to new openings, and doughnut lovers stand in long lines or partake in doughnut crawls. We may not rival Boston, which apparently has the most doughnut shops per person, but I think we’ve hit an official doughnut renaissance.

Now, because my posts are rarely complete without a little history lesson, I recommend taking a look at the Smithsonian Magazine’s History of the Doughnut. It’s a long and meandering story “that involves Dutch immigrants, Russian exiles, French bakers, Irving Berlin, Clark Gable and a certain number of Native Americans,” says writer David A. Taylor. If you say so!

Here’s the skinny on participants in the DC doughnut renaissance…

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken: Is there anything more beautiful than the marriage of doughnuts and fried chicken? Astro is located near Metro Center, a few blocks from the White House, and serves a variety of non-traditional doughnut flavors. Vanilla glazed, maple bacon, pb&j and crème brule doughnuts are served daily. Rotating doughnut flavors include coconut cake, caramel macchiato, passionfruit berry and s’mores.

From Astro Doughnuts

From Astro Doughnuts.

Golden Brown Delicious: GBD is another shop specializing in doughnuts and fried chicken (opening just a week before Astro). And they co-exist peacefully. GBD is located just south of Dupont Circle and features flavors like Funfetti, Bourbon Butterscotch, Grapefruit Campari, Carrot Cake, Key Lime Pie and Apple Fritter, among many others.

Garden District: If you are walking down 14th Street and smell sweet doughnut dough wafting through the air, it’s likely from Garden District’s outdoor, street-facing doughnut deep fryer. They don’t even give us a chance. One flavor (buttermilk cake—as opposed to yeast), one dollar. Get ‘em hot outta the fryer.

District Doughnuts: Branded as a gourmet doughnut shop, District Doughnuts was founded by a couple of doughnut-loving Washingtonians and a pastry chef whose brown butter doughnut had them at first bite. The company made a splash as a delivery service before the team opened a storefront on Barracks Row in SE. In addition to the Brown Butter Doughnut, flavors include Dulce de Leche, Cannoli, Caramel Apple Streusel, Chocolate Orange, Cookies and Cream, and Goodfellow (Nutella Bacon).

District Doughnut

From District Doughnut.

Nothing But Donuts: Have you ever wondered what goes on in the Union Station food court? Doughnuts, that’s what. Nothing But Donuts came on the scene long before the DC food craze or any of the other doughnut shops on this list. Props. Since opening around 15 years ago, the shop has served up as many as 50 doughnut flavors every day. Recommended: the more than half-pound Dinosaur doughnut. Bring a friend.

Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts: I have it from a good source that these doughnuts are, in fact, magnificent. Usually located near Eastern Market (or the downtown holiday market during the holiday season), Migue’s sells eight mini doughnuts for $3 cash. They come to you hot and, if desired, you can top them yourself with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, cinnamon and/or sprinkles.


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