The best doughnuts in St. Louis
The best of the best
Best 24/7 shop: Old town donuts
The “Donut Man” logo can be a little creepy at 2am, but hey, it’s the middle of the night and expect a bit of weirdness. The old town is the place for excellent donuts and pastries around the clock. It’s wonderfully friendly, with daily specials. 508 New Florissant.
Best cheesecake donut: O’Fashion donuts
It’s cramped and a little submerged – but what kind of beloved St. Louis donut shop isn’t it? The cheesecake donut – no hole with white icing, a cheesecake filling and some cinnamon – is a highlight. 5120 southwest.
Best passage: Donut Delight
The passage opens at 4 a.m. Remember to bring cash (the only acceptable method of payment here) for a pair of chocolate-covered long johns that are fresh off the fryer. Then head east to North Riverfront Park and enjoy breakfast as you watch the sun rise over the Mississippi. 3605 Dunn.
Best decor: John’s donuts
Donuts and Superman go together like … well, Batman and Sushi? Nevertheless, there is a metropolis here with Man of Steel memorabilia, which creates an unusual atmosphere. The Soulard staple is open from 11pm until the donuts are gone, usually before noon. Expect great fun joking from employees and customers. 1618 S. Broadway.
Best cheese flip: St. Louis Hills Donut Shop
The tiny green building stands alone in Hampton. Inside, you can bet someone will order one of the shop’s unique cheese flips. The donut-Danish hybrid has a layer of sticky cheese in the middle. 6917 Hampton.
Best Square Donuts on the East Side: Glassy squares
The Collinsville favorite recently moved to a larger room and debuted with a drive-through window soon after. That means more glazed squares, cookies and sauce, and blueberry twists. 410 waistline.
Best Gooey Butter Cake Danish: Shamrock donuts
In Shamrock’s ingenious crossover of classic pastries and the legendary St. Louis dessert, the sticky butter cake is made from scratch and fresh fruit is used for the apple and banana pieces every morning. 1901 Richardson, Arnold.
Best Chop Suey Donut: Donut King
The new owners Paul and Alissa Thoenen saved the decade-old St. Charles store from closing earlier this year. They kept things similar, including the famous Chop Suey Donut, a generously glazed gigantic cinnamon bun. 658 First Capitol.
Best cinnamon balls: The donut stop
This joint, with locations in South County and St. Charles, has been in existence for 65 years. Exclusively on his menu: delicious cinnamon balls with two bites – basically mini cinnamon rolls or the “unrefined cousin” of the roll shop describes them. 1101 Lemay Ferry; 3120 W. Clay.
Best tower: The donut house
A more apt name would be The Donut Castle, with a corner tower that gives this iconic beacon a regal look. The interior is humble – with two cabins and linoleum floors – but the real allure is the pastry shop. Don’t be surprised if you find a couple of donut holes thrown in for good measure. You will feel like royalty. 8500 Morganford.
Best Mini Donuts: The preppy donut
The menu only features cake-style mini donuts – hot and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Match them with toppings like cinnamon sugar and Nutella. 11600 olive.
Best Small Town Complement: Waterloo donuts
America invented the donut and its wonders spread to Cambodia, where Kosal In learned how to test the dough, how to let the moisture rise before sinking the circles into the deep fryer. Now he and his father, Vichet Keo, are here, making amazing apple fritters and old fashioneds, as well as devil cakes and strawberry-length panties at Waterloo Donuts (and Donut House in South City) to prove how small the world is. 654 N. Market, Waterloo, Illinois
Best Reality Star Well Done: Vincent Van Donut
After seeing a variety of high-end pastry shops during a trip to Berlin in 2010, Brian Marsden returned to St. Louis for an upscale donut experience. Despite having worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, Marsden had never baked. But he couldn’t get the idea out of his head. Knowing that he had to get to this market before anyone else, he carefully and obsessively tested the recipes before launching his Vincent Van Donut Food Truck in 2013. The next year, he won the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown competition and bought a deep fryer with the prize money. Opening two brick and mortar stores in two years. With wholesale deals at grocery stores and universities in the area, Marsden now brings the truth to his father’s motto: “Grow or Die”. 1072 Tower Grove.
Best Egyptian Inspired Shop: Pharaoh’s donuts
Unlike many donut shops, Pharaoh’s isn’t in a residential neighborhood, but the downtown location is aware, says owner Amon Aziz, who wanted to appeal to travelers and employees in the area. Today there is an average of 200 dozen glazed donuts a day alone. Aziz attributes the pastry’s popularity to high-quality flour, which brings as much water into the dough as possible and maintains stable dough temperatures. As for the name? While studying in the late 1980s, Aziz saw one of Anheuser-Busch’s Great Kings of Africa art series on display during Black History Month. When he found out about Amon, the Egyptian sun deity, he decided then and there on the name. Today he runs Pharaoh’s Donuts together with his daughter Syeeda Aziz-Morris. 200 N. Seventh., 8 Maryland Plaza.
Best Route 66 Throwback: Donut drive-in
Do you want a 50s cinnamon roll? OK, not literally – that would be gross – but this tiny South City institution makes these candies using the same tried and true recipes. The shop is open until midnight on weekends when you can expect long but fast-paced lines. Consider going evening on a weekday and enjoying your price outside. 6525 Chippewa.
Best old school spot: World’s Fair donuts
The Shaw store may not be as old as the name suggests, but it’s been in St. Louis for a while. New owner Jason Bockman (co-founder and owner of Strange Donuts) serves some of the best donuts in town. Be sure to bring cash. The shop does not accept credit cards or checks. 1904 S. Vandeventer.
Best double strike: The donut palace
For those days when half a dozen glazed blueberry donuts just isn’t enough, consider a chocolate chip cookie from this Ellisville shop’s adjoining biscuit bakery. Plenty of seating and bright decor make it a popular West County travel destination. The promise of cookies only adds to its attractiveness. 37 Clarkson.
Restaurants with unexpected takes
House of India
Don’t miss the gulab jamun, the classic Indian dessert made from fried cheese balls, served hot in a sweet syrup. 8501 Delmar.
Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria
Don’t leave Katie without an order for ricotta donuts. The crispy donuts come with a scoop of ice cream and fresh berries. 9568 Manchester; 14171 Clayton.
Brasserie by Niche
It wouldn’t be brunch in the brasserie without fritters. The pastries are served with homemade cream cheese and come with a spicy dried plum compote. 4580 Laclede.
Fifty – fifty
Served with powdered sugar and a casserole dish of melted chocolate, the cinnamon sugar donuts are nothing for a bird’s appetite. Split an order of six with the table or keep them all to yourself. 8135 Maryland.
A look inside some of Strange Donuts’ craziest collaborations
- A nacho “ready” designed with Taco Circus
- A burger donut created with Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions
- “Bad 2 the Done” pulled rib donut, developed with Bogart’s Smokehouse
- Duck adobo poutine on purple yam fries made with guerrilla street food
- A Slinger Donut with Billy Goat Chips.
- Beef “Wellingdone”, a collaboration with Herbie’s
- “Mai Pho King Done” made with Mai Lee
Five places where the café meets the donut shop
Marios Donuts & Café
The falafel sandwich is superb. For dessert? Try a donut and some baklava. 2786 Muegge.
The Sweet Spot Café
Burgers, gyros, omelets … if this sociable hangout doesn’t have it, you don’t want it. The sweet spot has one of the largest selections of donuts and pastries in town. 3586 Aie.
Not to be confused with downtown Tony’s. The store with two locations offers “more than just donuts”, as the slogan suggests. This includes a spinning top, an egg and cheese on a bagel, as well as breakfast sandwich combinations (complete with drink and donut, of course). 12218 McKelvey.
Wood River Donut & more
The “& More” in the name includes lottery tickets and the best biscuits and sauces in Wood River. 102 W. Edwardsville, Wood River.
A look at Eddie’s Southtown Donuts
At 3 a.m., it’s time for Eddie Strickland, owner of Eddie’s Southtown Donuts, to make the donuts. Strickland started his business at Dunkin ‘Donuts 35 years ago and as he moved from shop to shop he learned that each neighborhood has a different flavor. Located in a building owned by general manager Bradley Arteaga, co-owner of Arteaga Photos (which photographed the construction of the Arch), Eddie’s is aimed at a neighborhood in South City that prefers glazed blueberry donuts. Also popular are toffee and caramel chocolate rounds (a lucky coincidence caused by shipping the wrong topping) and a chocolate mousse-filled donut (nicknamed a scatological one by the local kids). Strickland cuts all of the yeast donuts by hand and has just two employees handling deliveries for the wholesale and busy counter on weekends. The owner’s gift for gave hold back customers; Strickland jokes that the place should be called “Eddie’s Donuts / Psychiatry”. Talking through problems – whether with his customers, employees or children – is part of his system in order to achieve everything that needs to be done in a day. Then he starts over at 3 a.m. the next day. 4701 S. Kingshighway.
I remember Stan the donut man
His treats have been a hit at the Soulard Farmer’s Market since 1979.
In 1979, Stan Smith started making donuts at Soulard Farmers’ Market to spend the weekends with his family. Chinh Smith, his wife, would help, and their three sons – Adam, Mark, and Phil – grew up mostly behind the counter in the stable. Smith died unexpectedly last September, but the business lives on. 5,000 mini donuts are sold there every Saturday. The reasons for Stan’s success are many, but Mark Smith says his father’s ability to develop relationships with people – in some cases three generations deep – contributed to the company’s longevity: “He enjoyed seeing people who enjoy the donuts. “
Donut or donut?
Honestly, we prefer oly koeks – “oily cakes” – the name used by the early Dutch settlers in New York who invented them. (We would also prefer if they were fried in lard as they were originally.) However, when we have to pick we will accept “donuts” because in a world of “rite”, “nite”, “british” and “Lite”, we think that some words should be written in an adult way. Don’t you care? Tuff.
☘ Congratulations to Shamrock Donuts, the winner of the St. Louis Magazine Donut Shop Showdown!