11 Places for Divine Doughnuts
Be the hero of the staff meeting, soccer game or Sunday morning.
Ahh, the doughnut – that iconic, sugary, American breakfast staple. Mother of pastries. Breaker of diets. Once these ring-shaped wonders were relegated mostly to national chains and grocery stores, but now they are ubiquitous, and their makers have taken the concept up a notch with creative (and in some cases customizable) flavors. Here are 11 worthy stops to get your doughnut fix.
The Arlington outpost of this Richmond-born chainlet (near the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike) opens daily at 6:30 a.m. and offers yeast, cake and vegan varieties, as well as gigantic apple fritters made with Granny Smith apples. For a sweet-savory combo, try the Luther Sunrise breakfast sandwich, which finds eggs, cheese and sausage between two maple-glazed doughnuts of lieu of a bun. Check the shack’s Twitter feed for a daily offer of a freebie – just be prepared to sing or do something mildly embarrassing at the register to earn that treat.
1014 S. Glebe Road, Arlington
Mother-daughter duo Janette and Elaine Hosein sell apple-cider mini doughnuts, fried to order, every Saturday at the Falls Church Farmers Market, from their blue operation on wheels. Guests can watch the magical process, then add cinnamon sugar, Oreos, sprinkles, syrups, powdered sugar and more to make custom creations.
300 Park Ave., Falls Church
Mama’s is a little pink truck that serves made-to-order mini doughnuts at the Fairlington and Westover Farmers Markets on Sundays year-round, and at the Falls Church Farmers Market on Saturdays during the winter months. Sound familiar? The truck is manned by Donut Heaven co-owner Janette Hosein’s son, Rod. (It runs in the family.) In additional to those stock-in-trade cider doughnuts, Mama’s offers some enticing seasonal flavors. Think carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in summer, pumpkin in the fall and red velvet in winter.
The beloved German bakery offers a variety of cake, yeast and filled doughnuts, and it opens at 6:30 a.m. most weekdays (closed Mondays) if you need to pick up a dozen for the office. The Berliners – filled with raspberry or apricot jam – are fan favorites, and in the summer the offerings include specialty flavors like Pina Colada and S’mores. Heidelberg’s house version of a cronut – a fried and glazed croissant-doughnut hybrid – is available Friday to Sunday only, and sells out quickly. It’s not as pricey as chef Dominique Ansel’s version, but just as decadent.
2150 N. Culpeper St., Arlington
The Clarendon sweets emporium, which in April opened a second location in Falls Church City, makes cake doughnuts in classic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and cinnamon-sugar dusted. But while most doughnuts contain eggs and milk, this bakery’s renditions are vegan.
1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington (Clarendon) and 100 E. Fairfax St., Falls Church
If you’ve ever tried the light, Italian wonders that are bomboloni, you know. At The Italian Store, they arrive par-baked and flash-frozen from a bakery in Italy, and are finished on site and served either plain or filled with pastry cream. In Westover, the staff makes good use of the shop’s Nutella machine, filling the pastries with warm hazelnut-cocoa goodness. Order the “Triple Crown” – a bomboloni split (kind of like an ice cream sandwich), filled with Nutella and Dolci Gelati gelato, then finished in the waffle press. You read that right.
5837 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington (Westover) and 3123 Lee Highway, Arlington (Lyon Village)
Aficionados of the beach-themed chain – which now has dozens of locations up and down the East Coast – swear by its made-to-order process, where vanilla-cake-based doughnuts are fried and then dipped, drizzled and topped with the accoutrements of the customer’s choosing (peanut butter icing? bacon crumbles? Lucky Charms?) and served hot. Duck’s location in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center also serves the OBX Breakfast Sandwich – a split doughnut stuffed with bacon or sausage, egg and cheese.
2511 N. Harrison St., Arlington (Lee Harrison Shopping Center)
Each month, Astro’s Falls Church location offers four seasonal flavors (July brings Key Lime Pie, Melon Cooler, Peach Blueberry Cobbler and Chocolate Cherry Birthday Cake). But the permanent crème brulee option is always the shop’s bestseller. In addition to fried chicken – and decadent doughnut-and-fried-chicken sandwiches – the little storefront next to Whole Foods also offers vanilla glazed, Nutella, maple-bacon and cinnamon-sugar cake options daily.
7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church (Idylwood Plaza)
Mac’s is known for its freshly fried apple-cider doughnuts on a stick (because everything is better on a stick). Each Stick-O-Donuts features a half-dozen golden brown minis. The purveyor’s dark blue VW bus is a weekly fixture at the Saturday Farmers Market in Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood, and can also be found at special events like Clarendon Day and the Columbia Pike Blues Festival. Call it the perfect street food.
This veteran-owned operation opened in April and serves an all-day food menu – including bar service and Intelligentsia Coffee – in addition to the tempting goodies in its bakery case. Good Company offers classic, hand-cut yeast and cake doughnuts in unusual flavors ranging from honey-dipped to poached-pear and chorizo. If you’re looking for a heartier breakfast (maybe saving the sweets for later?), the scrambled egg and cheddar on a housemade semolina-honey English muffin is a buttery, filling option.
672 North Glebe Road, Arlington (Ballston)
Devotees are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the D.C.-area chainlet’s first Virginia location in Ballston Quarter this summer. Vanilla-bean yeast dough creates the base for most of District Doughnut’s sweet options. Co-founder and Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Christine Schaefer is constantly experimenting with new recipes, such as Fluffernutter, Alfajores and a Creme Brulee doughnut that’s torched to order and features seasonal pastry creams like dulce de leche and marshmallow.
Coming soon to Ballston Quarter, 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston)