Glazed, gooey, dipped, dense, fried, fluffy, stuffed, or square-shaped, New York City has a doughnut to suit any palate. From classic glazed to Japanese and Polish doughnuts to doughnuts coated with hibiscus, New York City, as always, offers plenty to see, try and taste.
The doughnut opportunities aren't as plentiful uptown as they are downtown, so what Glaser's Bake Shop offers is truly something you won't find just a few blocks away. Located in the Upper East Side, Glaser's specializes in old-fashioned doughnut making and serves favorites that stand the test of time, like raspberry jelly doughnuts and French crullers. Perhaps that's why they're still going strong after more than a century in business.
It gets a little crowded in downtown Manhattan, with doughnut shops found in Greenwich Village and in the Lower East Side. Doughnut Plant, with a main store in the Lower East Side, and shops in Japan and Korea, has developed a reputation for edgy doughnuts. Rows upon rows of cake doughnuts, jam-filled doughnuts made with the in-house jams and jellies, and the famous jelly-filled square-shaped doughnut are a feast for the eyes and stomach. In the mood for chocolate? Doughnut Plant makes the "Blackout," a chocolate cake doughnut filled with chocolate pudding glazed with chocolate and covered with chocolate cake crumbs.
Pies -N- Thighs in the hipster neighborhood known as Williamsburg, Brooklyn, isn't a doughnut shop, but a tiny joint seating less than 30 people with an amazing kitchen turning out amazing food, including doughnuts (in photo) along with chicken and biscuits or fish and grits. We had the pleasure of eating here this winter and can't wait to go back. Pies -N- Thighs makes doughnuts that are the size of Volkswagen tires; giant, sticky treats dusted with cinnamon and sugar (which is what we ate) or more exotic flavors like pecan or ginger-grapefruit. The weekend brunch line often extends out into the street, so if you want to enjoy your doughnut on the premises, get there when the doors open and when doughnuts are hot and fresh.
Sunnyside, Queens, is a culturally diverse neighborhood, which means you can eat your way across town trying all kinds of delicious foods, including Alpha Donuts, which is open 24 hours. It's a great place to hang out after a long night partying with friends or if you're just starting your day. Alpha Donuts is your quintessential urban greasy spoon, dishing up eggs and sausage you can wash down with coffee or chase with some of the puffiest French crullers in New York. Apple-jelly stuffed yeast doughnuts are also available and melt in your mouth like fresh apple pie. Come hungry.
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To discover the dozens of New York City doughnut shops, check out Brooklyn-based publisher All You Can Eat Press' doughnut trail map for $8. The map takes you all around Manhattan and across the East River to Queens and Brooklyn, and features more than 30 of the finest doughnuts shops in the area.
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photo: Katrina Woznicki