I love donuts! One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to try out donut shops across the globe. I wanted to share the best four donut spots I have found in my travels. This list also includes donut shops across the country from the East Coast to the West Coast.
I am sure this could be one of the great debates but these are my picks. My choices are always glazed and never cake! This may be fightin’ words but, I see no need for cake donuts to exist.
Glazed Donuts – Peachey’s Donuts at Bonnaroo
Hands down the best donut experience I have ever had was courtesy of Peachey’s at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Peachey’s is typically a food truck based in Sarasota, Florida. During festival season they setup in booths inside fairs and music events.
Sarasota is not the first thing you would think of when discussing Amish glazed donuts. The Peachey’s website gives no indication where the recipe originated and I kind of like the mystery of it.
It was a magical experience eating a warm huge donut with fresh glaze dripping off of it. It was absolutely one of the best things I have eaten in my life.
This year Bonnaroo didn’t have Peachey’s as a vendor and it caused a major upset on Reddit where people shared their Bonnaroo donut memories. I guess I wasn’t the only fan.
I am now planning my next trip to the fairs where this treasure still exists.
Glazed Harvest Apple Donuts – Beiler’s Doughnuts in Philadelphia
I have visited Philadelphia a lot over the past few years as I made lots of new wonderful photojournalist friends who live there. I have loved Philly and its people for a long time and every time I visit I love it more.
On one of my first visits to the city, my friend Wolfgang took me out to find donuts. Our first stop was a cake donut place that I rejected and then he moved on to the Amish donut bakery known as Beiler’s and I fell in love.
Beiler’s Doughnuts began over 30 years ago out of their flagship location at Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. Beiler’s became one of the first Amish merchants to arrive at Reading Terminal, bringing the deliciousness of Amish baking to the big city.
Reading Terminal Market is worth a visit on its own. The donuts are just a bonus. It opened 129 years ago and is a must-see food attraction for any visit to Philadelphia. You can stay there all day and enjoy amazing food from vendors for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or you can choose to buy fresh produce and meats from local suppliers.
My favorites at Beiler’s are the glazed Harvest Apple donuts. These delights have an apple filling. Another favorite is the M&M vanilla donuts. Every time I am in the city I must visit and take some home. These are donuts that I would make a special trip to procure!
Bacon Maple Bar Donut – Voodoo Donuts in Portland
Voodoo Donuts are probably more well-known than the two listed above. I was first introduced to them in 2020 when I made a few trips for work to Portland.
Portlander friends Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon opened the first Voodoo Donuts in downtown Portland, Oregon in 2002 Their vision was world donut domination and it feels like they are on their way.
I was all in for the Bacon Maple Bar! It is a maple donut with crispy strips of bacon on top. This donut is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The company website even claims it was voted the best donut in America.
I splurged on delivery of these treasures through Door Dash during the pandemic. But I was happy to finally visit their in-store locations in Portland and Orlando. I was able to get the full experience of the fun pink shop in person.
Voodoo Donuts come in the coolest pink box packaging with skulls and coffins so you can tell from a mile away who is carrying the prized possessions in the custom packaging.
Voodoo Donut locations are across Oregon, Texas and Denver. Locations are also inside Universal Studios in California and Florida. All I can say if you see one, go in and grab anything that is available. You won’t be disappointed.
Grilled Cheese Donut – Tom and Chee in Cincinnati
My last pick is also a special one because it is in my local city and has a very different take on my beloved donut. Tom and Chee is a Cincinnati company that has now grown across the country with multiple locations.
The establishment was also featured on Shark Tank because of their unique use of ingredients with their now famous Grilled Cheese Donut.
The grilled cheese donut is another level of the donut experience. It has a grilled glazed donut bun and melty mild cheddar cheese in the middle. It is the perfect dessert or mid-afternoon snack.
Tom and Chee also features a variety of gourmet grilled cheeses. My personal favorite their Cesar Salad with grilled cheese croutons. If you are in Cincinnati this is a must visit eatery. You must try their original grilled cheese donut!