Though they’ve been fused with croissants, we’re still in love with the simple, unadulterated original. That’s why we must take this one day a year (or perhaps, many, if your sweet tooth is so inclined) to observe one of mankind’s greatest creations. Yessir, it’s National Doughnut Day, and we’re ready for a full baker’s dozen.
The history of the dessert actually remains shrouded in mystery, a sweet ship passing in the night, then perhaps arriving in America along with countless people from around the world. Was it French? German? Russian? Or was it already here – crafted by Native Americans? We may never know for sure, but the pervading theory is that it descended from the Dutch olykoeks (which, yes, translates to the not-so-delicious-sounding “oily cakes.”) Quite literally, these were sweet bits of dough fried in oil — not unlike the greasy rings we guiltily devour today.
But no matter where they came from, we’re certainly glad they’re here to stay. From the simple to the sinful, we’re counting our doughnut blessings today at our standby spots around the city. Salivate and celebrate accordingly — oh, and relax, calories are nothing on a national holiday. Behold, our picks for the best around:
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave
This pint-sized stand in the heart of the market is cranking out bite-sized doughnuts literally right before our eyes. Watch the doughy goodness come fresh off the conveyor belt and right into the flavored sugar of your choosing. Our recommendations? Speckled Strawberry or Urban Monkey (coffee/banana/chocolate.)
The Donut Pub
203 West 14th Street, Chelsea
Consider these guys the grandparent of New York’s doughnut scene. These guys have been fryin’ up neighborhood favorites since 1964, and they have no plans to stop. Ever. They’re open 24/7, so even your intense midnight cravings can be satiated.
220 W. 23rd St, Chelsea; 370 Grant St, LES
This Manhattan mainstay pretty much invented the doughnut scene around here. The Lower East Side location is a bit reminiscent of the Soup Nazi's shop on Seinfeld, while the Chelsea outpost is, not surprisingly, a little more posh. Head there for a square pistachio doughnut, stay for disco party in the bathroom.
305 Franklin Ave, Bed-Stuy
This modest little shop deep in the heart of Brooklyn pumps out sinful little treats all day, baking and glazing in small batches to ensure freshness. So don't freak out if there are only a couple Hisbiscus or Blood Orange doughnuts left on the rack. More are on their way. Ok? OK?!
Peter Pan Doughnuts
727 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint
Of their cream-filled powdered doughnut, Tina Fey is on record as saying "I really believe... if I had a penis, I would put it in this doughnut." Enough said.
190 Ave. B, East Village
The made-to-order doughnuts come out of Back Forty's kitchen still warm and with just the right amount glaze. Every time. If we had to put together our own Breakfast of Champions it would consist of a couple of plates of these bad boys with a cup of coffee. But the brunch here is pretty stellar, too.
1261 Park Avenue, East Harlem
Three words: Maple. Miso. Doughnut. You got that? Oh yes, Maple Miso Doughnut. As the name suggests, they’ve got some crazy flavors to contend with, and they all work spectacularly well when it comes to stuffing them in your face. Raspberry Sriracha? Yes, please. Pineapple Browned Butter? Thank heavens.
222 Montrose Avenue, East Williamsburg
For some reason — true or not — we always feel like vegan desserts are healthier to chow down. So, plowing through a dozen of the s’mores doughnuts is totally guilt free, right? It’s also a good reason to keep coming back to try the spot’s massive list of more than 200 rotating varieties. Worth it.