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Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon
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  • States:
    New York
    South Carolina

Times have changed since the first doughnut machine was introduced in New York City, New York in 1920

Bakers across the U.S. are now testing the limits of doughnuts. Ubiquitous doughnut chain stores such as Krispy Kreme, which opened in 1937, and Dunkin’ Donuts, which was established in 1950, can be found in big cities and small towns. But you’ll also find inventive independent bakeries serving up exciting concoctions like cronuts — croissants blended with doughnuts — to awaken your senses and change your perception of doughnuts. Ready to take a bite? Check out these seven tasty spots for doughnuts.

Dough — New York City, New York

Dough began in at a small shop in Brooklyn, New York, and has been so popular that it added two shops in Manhattan. Inspired by European and Latin American desserts, Dough serves up handcrafted fritters in unique flavors, including chocolate with Earl Grey, and Tropical Chile, a blend of mango, papaya, guava and pineapple with a touch of heat.

Dough incorporates non-traditional doughnut flavors like tea and chilies into its treats.

Dough incorporates non-traditional doughnut flavors like tea and chilies into its treats.
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Noah Fecks

Voodoo Doughnut — Portland, Oregon

Considered by many as a must-see in Portland, not only for its inventive doughnuts, but also for the Portland spirit the shop engenders. Long lines at the original Voodoo Doughnut in PortlandOregon, led to a second shop in the city, and then beyond, to Eugene, Oregon, DenverColorado, Austin, Texas, and all the way to Taipei, Taiwan.  A pioneer of the new doughnut movement, Voodoo is known for inventive doughnuts such as the Voodoo Doll doughnut, a puppet-shaped confection filled with raspberry jam and topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake, or doughnuts covered in kids’ cereals.

Federal Donuts — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Along with Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches, doughnuts are a popular go-to food in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania. Locals find these circular goodies at Federal Donuts, which also offers fried chicken meals that include a doughnut — an addition that has only enhanced the bakery’s reputation in the City of Brotherly Love.

Try any of five locations across the city, including one at Citizens Bank Park during Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball home games. Early risers will get the best pick since doughnuts often sell out quickly. Flavors include lemon meringue, grapefruit brûlée, cinnamon brown sugar and old-fashioned glazed.

Federal Donuts has five locations in Philadelphia.

Federal Donuts has five locations in Philadelphia.
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Michael Persico

Glazed — Charleston, South Carolina

Glazed in CharlestonSouth Carolina, emphasizes local, epicurean ingredients, including the herbs and berries grown in a garden behind the shop. Dough, jam, fillings and glazes are made on-site. Choose from nontraditional flavors such as green tea and sesame, sweet corn and blueberry, or “the Charleston” with bourbon cream filling and homemade pralines.

Doughnut Vault — Chicago, Illinois

With two locations and a roaming van in downtown ChicagoIllinoisDoughnut Vault serves hot, fresh doughnuts in timeless flavors such as chocolate-glazed, lemon poppy seed and buttermilk. Doughnut Vault takes pride in making thick, handcrafted doughnuts generously covered in icing. 

The line that forms in front of the brick storefront window suggests that Doughnut Vault’s treats are worth the wait. Whether you try a daily special, such as Raspberry Shortcake, or a local favorite like the chocolate-glazed doughnut with roasted peanuts, you can enjoy these sugary baked goods at a communal table in front of the shop.

Primo’s Donuts — Los Angeles, California

Family-owned since opening in 1956, Primo’s Donuts in Los AngelesCalifornia often runs out of its daily batch, so arrive early. Two favorites on the menu include Primo’s renowned buttermilk doughnut, a dense delight that’s crispy on the outside while soft on the inside, and its own glazed twist. Muffins, cinnamon rolls and other baked goods are also available.

Leonard’s Bakery — Honolulu, Hawaii

Leonard’s Bakery in HonoluluHawaii, is a family-owned shop that opened in 1952. Drawing from the family’s Portuguese heritage, Leonard’s specializes in malasadas, a Portuguese doughnut without a hole. Try the original made of yeast dough, rolled into an egg-sized ball, deep-fried and covered with granulated sugar, or try a different topping, like cinnamon. Leonard’s also offers malasada puffs, which are filled with custard, dobash (chocolate) or haupia (coconut). More than a half-century later, this shop is still going strong, so expect a short line filled with locals and travelers alike.