Sunday, June 1, 2014

St. Louis, MO: Best Donut

As home to one of the major sections of historic Route 66, St. Louis is blessed with a large selection of quality mom-and-pop style roadside donut stops.  As I love good food, especially breakfast, I decided to build upon my most popular post Best Breakfasts and tour St. Louis, Missouri for it's best donut. After seeking suggestions from followers over social media I was able to compile a long list of donut establishments to check out, most I have never heard of before this donut tour (which is sad in that I was born & raised in STL, but a good reason why I enjoy doing this blog - exploring new things)!

The Donut Drive-In won the #1 spot on my list!
As always I only included locally owned & operated places - no chains.  One exception I made was for Schnucks, which is a locally, and family, owned grocery store chain- and was suggested by numerous followers of this site.  I also tried to remain consistent and ate a chocolate long john at every stop; if there was one, I also sampled whatever donut each shop was best known for.  Each profiled below was visited over a two month period.  Now on to the best donut in STL:



1.  Donut Drive-In
If you are after the best donut, this is the best place in St. Louis!  Donut Drive-In is located in south city on Chippewa just down the road from Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and Legrand's Deli; it was a bit challenging to get on it's parking lot coming from the west, but the building itself was what I expect from a Route 66 type of place.  It's a small donut shop that had only 2 workers when I visited, but everything is made fresh on-site.  They had a large selection of all the typical donuts - and for the kiddos, several donuts with smiley faces.  This place is so good we have visited several times since starting our best donut quest.  Quite simply, they had the best tasting donut I had anywhere in St. Louis!

Donut Drive-In
The #1 donut in STL!
2.  World's Fair Doughnuts
We have driven by World's Fair Donughnuts countless times over the years as we head weekly to the Missouri Botanical Garden, located just a few blocks away, yet we just visited for the first time recently.  Inside was an older couple handcrafting each donut (Terry and Peggy have been doing so every morning since 1976!), which are all made by hand on-site. On most mornings you will likely find lines out the door for this quintessential donut shop which was proclaimed the "best doughnut" in St. Louis n 2013 by the Riverfront Times.  Although donuts are inexpensive to begin with, these were the least costly of all the donuts shops we visited, but one of the very best tasting donuts in STL!

World's Fair Doughnuts makes #2 on my list!

3.  Old Town Donuts
Although Old Town Donuts actually has two locations, we visited its long-standing and more well-known location in Florissant (the other is in Cottleville).  Here I tried a maple & chocolate donut that was one of the best I have ever had; my wife enjoyed a maple & bacon donut, also very good.  This is a busy donut shop, and for good reason...the donuts were very fresh and they had a huge in-stock variety (we had issues with many of these shops running out of donuts early - Old Town makes theirs 24 hours a day, so they had a huge selection).

The best donut selection in STL is at Old Town Donuts
4.  Eddies Southtown Donuts
Another great South city donut shop, Eddies is located on Kingshighway just past Chippewa, and offers a nice outdoor sitting area for patrons to enjoy their donuts.  They also offer a "giant donut" that is bigger than a cake; we tried ordering one but had a miscommunication on the timing, otherwise it looked like a great idea (it is $15).  The donuts themselves were flawless and very fresh.  We did visit Eddies a few times, and would note that they do run out of donuts later in the morning, so be sure to get their early - but it is worth the trip for one of the best donuts in STL!

Enjoying a donut from Eddies Southtown Donuts

5. The Donut Stop
The award winning Donut Stop, located in Lemay, was named one of the 10 best donuts in the US by Bon Appetit in 2010.  The long johns and other usual donuts were flawless, but we really enjoyed the apple fritters (they also had blueberry and a few other fritter flavors).  Another Route 66 style drive-in (I am simply amazed we have some many in STL!) The Donut Stop is the place to enjoy the perfect donut in South St. Louis!

The Donut Stop
Donuts from The Donut Stop

6.  Strange Donuts
This place is both distinctive and disappointing at the same time; I had very high expectations for Strange Donuts, especially given all the publicity they have gotten since opening.  After several visits, the donuts are would rate average at best, and nothing is "strange" about it.  In fact, the donuts were more plain that other donut shops in STL (for example, the Donut Drive-In had far more variety & interesting donuts).  Now I never visited at night (Thurs - Sat 9pm-midnight) which is when I am told they have the really strange donuts...I tend to like my donuts in the morning.  Anyway, Strange Donuts is a decent spot and probably better than my opinion here, if only because I had such high expectations that were no where near met.

Strange Donuts in Maplewood

7.  St. Louis Hills Donut Shop
Despite countless reader recommendations for St. Louis Hills Donut Shop, it was a bit of a disappointment.  When we visited (10am on a Sunday) they were almost completely out of donuts.  We tried a few that were left, and although not wowed by the taste (as we were with the Donut Drive-In) they left nothing to complain about either.  We did enjoy one of the most famous donut creations, the Old Fashion Donut.  Located in South City on Hampton, this husband and wife owned shop is easy to spot (in it's green Route 66 style building) and worth a visit for their Old Fashioned Donuts.
I think we would love donuts from anywhere!

8.  Schnucks
Surprisingly, Schnucks donuts were quite good!  Actually made fresh in each store daily with a large selection (all traditional donuts though - nothing extravagant like we found at the donut shops).  While Schnucks does not have the allure of a Route 66 drive in, they do offer a decent and fresh donut and rock bottom prices!

Donuts made fresh everyday at Schnucks
9.  Donut Palace
Talking pure donuts, the Donut Palace was the worst of all the shops we visited, and the only one I would rate as poor.  Located in Ellisville, it is a large donut shop in a West Country strip mall.  They did offer many varieties of donuts, cakes and other baked goods.  To top it off, the Donut Palace was the most expensive donut shop we visited!

The Donut Palace offered several fun varieties for kids
I am always looking for more places to discover in St. Louis, so if you have suggestions for more "best donut" locations please let me know!  As long as it is locally owned, located in STL, I will visit and rank it on this list.

11 comments:

  1. I'm surprised John Donut wasn't on here (Soulard. Try the apple fritter.)

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    1. That was an oversight! Actually suggested by several readers - I will get to it soon and update the post!

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  2. I am SO HUNGRY NOW! I'm thinking it was a mistake to read this right before lunch after a skimpy breakfast, haha. I'll put these in my back pocket for the next time we're in your neck of the woods, thanks for the round up!

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    1. Donuts make for a great lunch too ;)

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  3. Plaza Donuts on Connecticut at Morganford...a blueberry fritter that makes my knees weak!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll add it to my follow-up list.

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  4. I live a couple blocks from World's Fair Donuts and I have tried and tried to love them. Honestly, I have. After all, they sell newspapers and they always have some left after all the area machines are empty and I do love Terry and Peggy--they are as sweet as the glaze on the cherry cake donuts that are my favorite donut in the world. However, my second-favorite donut in the world is a chocolate-frosted, custard-filled. Twice I have ordered a custard donut at World's Fair and gotten home, poured a cup of hot coffee and sat down and unfolded my newspaper and picked up my delicious-looking donut in eager anticipation, then bitten into it to find a glob of uncooked donut batter in the middle. Oh, there's custard and chocolaty goodness, but the donut wasn't cooked thoroughly! Ew. I know that this is not usual and if it had only been once, I would think that it was an aberration. But twice is one time too many. I still get my paper and a smile from Peggy, but only cherry and blueberry cake donuts for me. OK maybe the occasional apple fritter.

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    1. Peggy was super nice! We enjoyed their donuts on our visits, so sorry to hear you had a bad experience or two :(

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  5. Great tips for a donut stop the next time I'm in St. Louis. The problem is that after reading this, I want a donut NOW.

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  6. The only donuts I ever choose to eat are Krispy Kreme as the donuts in the UK and most of Europe are as far away from the real deal and closer to awful than I'd like.

    I'd love to come donut hunting with you one day.

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