Los Angeles: Donut Capital of the World? | A Continuous Lean.

Los Angeles: Donut Capital of the World?

Jun 14th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Food, Los Angeles | by Michael Williams

One morning a few months ago I was thinking about donuts. That seems normal right? Thinking about donuts in the morning. Especially if you consider it was me doing the thinking. Well anyway, I was wondering who has better donuts, New York or Los Angeles? So I did what anyone would do, I took to twitter to conduct an impromptu (and non-scientific) poll of the best spots in their respective cities. One place that numerous people called-out in the Greater Los Angeles area (I just like how that sounds, Greater Los Angeles) was Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood. And man, I have to agree. Randy’s makes some tasty donuts. After a long flight in LAX, nothing is better than stopping at Randy’s for a cup of coffee and a donut.

Now this doesn’t mean that Randy’s is L.A.’s best donut spot (but I definitely think it is up there), or that L.A. trumps NYC for donuts. So don’t get all crazy. This isn’t a zero sum game. I’m simply saying that Randy’s is pretty great and that their giant donut signage is an amazing example of Americana. I am also saying that non-chain shit always wins over boring-robot-like-chain-restaurants. Now, please feel free to speculate wildly as to who has the best donuts in L.A., New York or America in general.

Comments: 62

62 Comments to “Los Angeles: Donut Capital of the World?”

  1. Travis
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 12:45 PM

    Randy’s is one of the best in LA for sure. I live close and don’t go there nearly enough.

  2. Nate
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 12:54 PM

    I’ve been to Randy’s and it’s pretty good. The recipe doesn’t really stand out from any other one off donut shop but the large donut makes for a cool atmosphere and seems to make the donuts a little more special than anywhere else.

  3. kiya
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 1:06 PM

    I find it hard to believe there is a better donut in the world than what’s available at Doughnut Plant in NYC:
    http://www.doughnutplant.com/

    DP ruined me for donuts, nothing comes close for me..

  4. edgertor
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 1:12 PM

    don’t know if it’s still there, but Fosters in glendora (?) was awesome. Fresh fruit donuts!

  5. Phil
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 1:15 PM

    Primo’s on the west side was my favorite when I lived in LA. Same couple’s been running the place since it started, over 50 years.

    http://www.primosdonuts.com/

  6. Rob
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 2:19 PM

    California Donuts on 3rd and S. New Hampshire.

  7. JonIndia™
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 2:32 PM

    Raaaaaaaandy

  8. Chuck Hatt
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 2:47 PM

    Round Rock donuts, in Round Rock, Texas, just outside of Austin. Dang.

  9. Jonas
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 3:18 PM

    The best ever glazed old fashioned are in Seattle, WA at Top Pot doughnuts (toppotdoughnuts.com). The store in the wedgewood district has a great eating/ reading room there the shelves are 15 feet high and stocked with old library books from the ’40′s and ’50′s. They roast thier own coffee also.
    Best apple fritter or maple bar is at Cle Elum Home bakery in Cle Elum, Washington where the ovens have not cooled off in over 100 years. They also recreated a thing I used to get as a kid in Camden, ME, called a persian bun. a persian bun is basicly a cinamon roll fried like a doughnut and then frosted with a special chocolate frosting. The persian bun is the ultimate doughnut!

  10. Yorgo Malone
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 3:20 PM

    The best donuts in LA are actually 30 miles east, in Glendora, at the Donut Man on Alosta (Rt.66). Maybe this is what edgertor was searching for? As a current NY resident I often complain that I don’t like the donuts here (except for Plant- which is amazing). They’re all made too dense, like Dunkin Donuts. Donuts in LA are made with lighter dough that rises more before it is cooked, and ends up being both softer and chewier.

  11. Andrew M
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 4:02 PM

    Spudnuts! There used to be one in my hometown and my dad went there religiously every weekend until it finally closed. Dunkin and Krispy Kreme are so nasty in comparison. http://spudnutshop.com/

  12. Michael Williams
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 4:16 PM

    Andrew — I grew up going to Sputnuts too (in Mentor, Ohio).

    http://spudnutsmentor.com/

  13. Paul
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 4:38 PM

    Best donut I have ever had (and have regularly) come from a bar in Philly.
    The Belgian Cafe makes piping hot old school sour cream donuts made to order. They are covered in cinnamon and sugar and come with an insane hot caramel dipping sauce. Well worth the $5 for an order of three. A Monk’s Flemish Sour Ale goes compliments them perfectly.

  14. J.P
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:00 PM

    I second KIYA …

    L.A native – but have to give it up to Doughnut Plant in NYC – they are hands down better than ANY other shop.

    http://www.doughnutplant.com/

  15. aTreasuryOf.com
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:02 PM

    It wasn’t as cute, but the donut shop(s) I miss most from when I lived in L.A. was Winchell’s. Their crullers are the best I’ve ever had.

  16. J.P
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:05 PM

    For L.A: http://www.frittelli.com/home.html

  17. tons of land
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:19 PM

    mmmm… donuts.

  18. Hotch
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:21 PM

    For those living near D-troit the Donut Cutter on Woodward in Berkly is beyond comparison. It’s in a converted gas station on the east side of Woodward just north of Catalpa.

    BTW: any donut shop with friggin website has to be a joke.

  19. Jarrett
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:38 PM

    This is great I have been in the doughnut business for 10.5 years so I always eat at random doughnut shops when I travel. The best I have ever had was at an apple cider mill in upstate New York close to Watertown. Hot apple cider and doughnuts from fresh picked apples pressed right there. I love it. Best fall treat ever.

  20. e.s.
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:55 PM

    I’m going to second Top Pot in Seattle.

  21. Chandi
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 5:58 PM

    DK’s Donuts on Santa Monica Blvd. & 16th in Santa Monica — excellent!!! Family-owned establishment, 24/7, old-school (for L.A.).The “donut master” was trained as a Dunkin chef (his diploma hangs on the wall), but they’ve taken it way past Dunkin. Was just back East and tried a variety of Dunkin’s, they don’t hold a candle to DK’s.

  22. ita darling
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:11 PM

    no votes for voodoo donuts in PDX?

    kinda a gimmicky thing in essence, but they’re pretty tasty in their weirdness.

  23. Scott
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:35 PM

    LA has a better average donut. New York has a few great places like The Doughnut Plant, but for the most part it’s not a donut town. LA wins.

  24. poorman
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:35 PM

    Randy’s is great. I also like Stan’s Donuts in the UCLA/Westwood area. Fantastic doughnuts! My only experience with NY doughnuts was Dunkin’ Donuts, which was crap. And their coffee was horrible too. Which is odd because when I get the grounds at the store in LA and brew it at home it’s pretty good. Go figure.

    cheers

    poorman

  25. viva la sk
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:37 PM

    Personally, I’d say Donut Prince in Burbank is the place to go… based on this commercial by George Lopez and team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su2cp296jeI

    haha

  26. Classics Patriot
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:46 PM

    In Monterey, the best place to find donuts is Red’s (two locations: downtown Monterey and the main store/bakery in Seaside, which abuts Monterey to the north). Family owned for 60+ years.

    Old-fashioned service and counters in both locations. As far as I’m concerned, the go-to donut at Red’s is the unglazed old fashioned, though they also make a mean custard-filled maple bar.

    I gained a pound just writing that last sentence.

  27. Ryan
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 6:58 PM

    Donut Pub in Manhattan has the best god damn french crueller I’ve ever eaten. Ambiance is great too, place looks like it hasn’t changed a bit since the 60′s.

  28. Derek
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 7:08 PM

    A video I thought the ACL community and Michael would be interested in

    http://vimeo.com/12112900

  29. Loopy
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 7:40 PM

    You are all heathens. The best donuts are not called “donuts,” they are known by the sacred name “beignet” and they are in New Orleans. That is all.

  30. Andrea
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 8:33 PM

    Doughnuts are (is?) a religion in Maine; most any local doughnut shop along the coast will set you up just fine and stave off doughnut pangs until you reach the next shop. My favorite was Frosty’s in Brunswick, but Tony’s in Portland is grand.

    And yes, beignets are indeed the apotheosis of fried dough, but darned if I can get to Cafe du Monde and back before work in PDX most mornings.

  31. Danica Lo
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 8:34 PM

    The Los Angeles Donut Summit: http://donutsummit.wordpress.com/

  32. NC Farm Guy
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 9:09 PM

    Britt’s in Carolina Beach, NC. Open seasonally, glazed only, so don’t ask for sprinkles, chocolate or any other “toppings”. And for that matter don’t ask for any jam, jelly, or other tasteless goo squirted into your nut’ that other places offer.
    And if you don’t like Britt’s then you have to go with the old North State’s best, Krispey Kreme.

  33. Paul C.
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 9:58 PM

    Schneider’s Bakery, Cooperstown, NY

    They’ve been around for over 100 years. I’ve traveled far and wide and sampled many a donut. I’m still am looking for one that compares to Schneider’s.
    Best part; they still taste the same as they did 30 years ago.

  34. dallas
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 10:39 PM

    in NC gotta go Krispey, but only for glazed, only when the “hot light” is on. otherwise go get a real breakfast somewhere else

    Krispey Kreme, not far from your older post about Cheerwine – both NC treasures

  35. the_passenger
    on Jun 14th, 2010
    @ 10:48 PM

    I’ve lived in New England my whole life, and I’ve never cared for Dunkin’s donuts, even when my friend’s sister was in a training program there and got us free ones.

    I will recommend Kane’s, which is in Saugus, MA, a bit north of Boston. Owned by the same family since 1955. They also sell a cinnamon roll the size of a small pie, which is meant to be cut in slices like a pie, but if you’re hungry enough…

  36. JD
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 12:46 AM

    The cider donuts at Brimfield from Faddies or Fatties (I have the card somewhere) were actually one of the best damn things I’ve ever had.

  37. Parker
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 2:42 AM

    BOB Saggot

  38. Alohabobs
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 6:34 AM

    I’m from LA and grew up on Randy’s donuts..then i moved To NY and was hooked on Donut Plant..Its a tough call.. but Randys is a bit more classic.. and alot of people dont realize that you can even find Donut plant in Tokyo, infact there are more locations there than in NY which olny has one.

  39. chris
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 9:14 AM

    Peter Pan Doughnuts in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. There was a quote in a recent NY mag from Tina Fey saying something like, “If I had a penis I would put it in this doughnut.”

  40. Chedoke Parkway
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 9:27 AM

    Clearly you’ve never heard of Hamilton, Ontario.

  41. Don Draper
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 11:13 AM

    Krispy Kreme in Penn Station are the worlds greatest donuts.

    ’nuff sed.

  42. Thornproof
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 11:18 AM

    Krispy Kreme … only glazed and only when the light is on … especially from the original in Winston-Salem.

  43. t
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 2:08 PM

    portand has http://voodoodoughnut.com/
    better than most.

    seattle has http://www.mightyo.com/
    better than that.

  44. Brian Miller
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 2:27 PM

    Poorman is right – Stan’s in Westwood is tops, followed by Donut Star in West LA, then DKs in Santa Monica. Blinkie’s in Woodland Hills is a true neighborhood hub though.

    I hope that doughnuts don’t become precious like cupcakes. They’re best when they’re honest and cheap and not precious.

  45. TBone
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 2:54 PM

    I grew up in NY and live in LA now.

    Overall I give the edge to LA. NY is overly dominated by Dunkin Doughnuts. LA has a lot of really good mom and pop shops.

    They are so good here in fact, I made a New years resolution to not eat any doughnuts this year because I was eating way too many. (I have yet to eat one in 2010 but it’s very hard.)

  46. JD
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 3:16 PM

    I agree with the beignets. Cafe du monde at the french quarter in New Orleans are the tastiest things ever.

  47. UYMF.COM
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 3:21 PM

    Livin’ in KCMO the best we have is Lamar’s. They recently came out with a Cupcake Hybrid Donut that is Red Velvet cake with a whipped icing. Hella good.

    However, like Ita states above- Voodoo up in the PDX is awesome!
    Moving there in a month… oh how I can’t wait!

  48. Randy
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 6:55 PM

    guys, you’re too kind.

  49. Brian
    on Jun 15th, 2010
    @ 10:50 PM

    The KC comment about Lamar’s is just wrong.

    The place to go for donuts in the Kansas City area is John’s Space Age Donuts – founded in 1967 – John’s worked there part time since 1968 (when he was 17).

    It’s located at 8124 Floyd in Overland Park, KS

  50. David
    on Jun 16th, 2010
    @ 12:15 PM

    Randy’s with the drive thru. Apple fritter on the way home.

  51. Steven Paul
    on Jun 16th, 2010
    @ 1:11 PM

    “Round Rock donuts, in Round Rock, Texas, just outside of Austin. Dang.”

    I second that they were featured on Man Vs. Food for cryin out loud.

  52. Adam
    on Jun 16th, 2010
    @ 3:17 PM

    Greenbush Bakery in Madison, WI. Delicious, and for some reason, kosher!

  53. Jeff
    on Jun 16th, 2010
    @ 7:04 PM

    No offense to our beignet fans, but the ultimate in fried dough is actually found offshore. Malasadas — Portuguese in origin but done right in Hawai’i — are the shit. Leonard’s and Champions are both great, but for the right feel, I recommend buying a bag at the Punahou Carnival.

  54. Peter
    on Jun 16th, 2010
    @ 7:42 PM

    I second the apple fritter at Randy’s. Maybe their donuts aren’t the best in the world, but they are pretty tasty, and that giant Randy’s donuts sign off the freeway in the middle of Los Angeles is like a beautiful, twisted mirage. It’s a quintessential Los Angeles experience that makes their donuts all the better tasting.

  55. Emily
    on Jun 17th, 2010
    @ 5:41 PM

    A Baker’s Wife in SE Minneapolis!

  56. Derek
    on Jun 18th, 2010
    @ 12:39 PM

    I agree with Round Rock donuts, it is by far the best donuts in the world. i was born there and there is nothing better than skipping first period of HS and hitting up RR donuts after a wake and bake…

  57. Edward Furlong III Esq.
    on Jun 18th, 2010
    @ 11:27 PM

    Randy’s hands down- plus they’re cheap!

    Stan’s in Westwood are not any better than Randy’s and cost a mint in comparison.

  58. kb
    on Jun 20th, 2010
    @ 6:37 PM

    I will second an earlier post – Kanes Doughnuts. Who new a choclate frosted doughnut could be a pastry, a meal, and a vice worth more than the cost of a family:

    http://kanesdonuts.com/

  59. ep
    on Jun 21st, 2010
    @ 2:31 PM

    I second Paul C’s vote for Schneider’s donuts in Cooperstown, NY — if they ever change that recipe, I don’t know what I will do. I may have to take over the bakery.

  60. hated of the world
    on Jun 22nd, 2010
    @ 11:11 AM

    upon my first trip to long beach and l.a. recently, i was blown away by the amount of doughnut shops. seems like they were on every corner!

  61. yuko
    on Jun 23rd, 2010
    @ 5:37 PM

    what? no close up picture of a donut (apart from the “big” donut)? i was ready to drool……

  62. RianR
    on Jun 30th, 2010
    @ 7:02 PM

    I second the comment about Voodoo Donut. “The Magic is in the Hole.”

    And you can get married there.