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These 6 donut shops are reinventing the retro treat

By Kate Silver

The tired old doughnut is getting a makeover. Bakers across the country are breathing sweet and fluffy life into the dated glazed routine, and reinvented doughnuts are taking on innovative flavors and artisanal appeal. Bacon-maple, anyone? As doughnut designers open up dedicated shops across the country, the dunker may just be edging out the cupcake—and even the cake pop—as the latest gourmet treat for go-getters.

Stop by these sassy shops on your next commute. A dozen designer doughnuts will fit easily into the passenger seat of your Chevrolet Sonic, resulting in extremely happy coworkers and a car that smells delectable. They also happen to make the ideal road trip food.

Voodoo Doughnut
Portland, OR

Don’t expect to find the same-ol-same-ol’ round pastry at Voodoo Doughnut. Here, edibles come in all shapes and sizes, including a voodoo-doll shaped doughnut, bars, fritters, crullers and more. Tempting toppings include candy, cereal, peanut butter, cookies, bubble gum and more at this lovably weird, psychedelic bakery.

Top Pot Doughnuts
Seattle, WA

This prized doughnut shop is a Seattle institution, with five Top Pot locations throughout the city. Each of the 40-plus doughnuts here is handmade in the old-fashioned tradition, and the top sellers are as classic as they come: old-fashioned, cake, sprinkle-topped, fritters and more. The modern twist? Top Pot proudly advertises that its doughnuts contain zero grams of trans fat. Bet you wouldn’t find any nutritional info like that in your grandfather’s doughnut shop.

The Doughnut Vault
Chicago, IL

It’s not uncommon to see lines winding around the block outside of downtown breakfast destination The Doughnut Vault. Flavors are limited to just a handful a day (chocolate, vanilla, old-fashioned, chestnut and occasional specials) and hours are motivating: The Vault opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 9:30 on Saturdays, and closes when it sells out—usually just a couple of hours later.

Doughnut Plant
New York, NY

Pop into the Doughnut Plant for all-natural doughnuts made from seasonal ingredients and filled with house-made jams, creams and custards. Showstoppers include the blackout, which is a chocolate cake doughnut filled with chocolate pudding, glazed and sprinkled with chocolate cake crumbs, and the tres leches cake doughnut, made with three different kinds of milk.

Sublime Doughnuts
Atlanta, GA

The menu alone is enough to awaken your sweet tooth: Nutella, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, sweet potato cake, salted caramel with reduced balsamic vinegar, Oreo ice cream burger—the list goes on. Owned by a Culinary Institute of America-trained pastry chef, Sublime Doughnuts thrives on quality ingredients and a gourmand vision so good you can taste it.

Café Du Monde
New Orleans, LA

No doughnut story is complete without a nod to Café Du Monde, the New Orleans institution that has been serving nothing but beignets (square, French-style doughnuts smothered in a blanket of powdered sugar) and beverages since 1862. There are actually eight locations around the city, but the original, in the French Market, is an historical adventure. One order of three of these piping hot pastries is worth a road trip to the Big Easy, any day.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Kate Silver is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Chicago. Her work appears regularly in Spirit Magazine, Men’s Health, the Chicago Tribune and Midwest Living, as well as on Parents.com.

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