Donuts (credit: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
There seems to be a national day for just about everything in America. But it might not get much sweeter than National Doughnut Day, held the first Friday in June. The popular event was created in 1938 to honor men and women of the Salvation Army who served the doughy confectionary during World War I, and now doughnut shops across the country help celebrate the holiday by offering free doughnuts. If you needed an excuse to sample the sweet snack, here are five of the best doughnut shops in the Bay Area to visit.
Bob’s Doughnut And Pastry Shop
1621 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Recently named the winner for best doughnuts from a local Bay Area reader poll, Bob’s is a San Francisco landmark open 24 hours a day. In business since 1960, the no frills doughnut shop offers a variety of classic doughnuts, such as chocolate glaze, cinnamon sugar and crumb doughnuts. But one item that particularly stands out is the giant-sized doughnut that’s about the size of a Frisbee, or maybe a bit bigger. Insider tip: For a great late-night treat, visitors may want to stop by when freshly baked doughnuts come straight out of the fryer after 11:30 p.m.
2760 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
If a doughnut shop is located in the Mission District, it’s practically certain to be outstanding. Take Dynamo doughnuts for example, ranked just behind Bob’s among the best of the Bay for doughnuts. Like Bobs’, Dynamo gets plenty of national attention, having been featured on Bon Appetit, Zagat, the Cooking Channel, the Food Network and Buzzfeed, where it’s signature dish, the bacon maple apple doughnut, was among the top ranked doughnuts you must try before you die. Other good choices amongst the hand-made doughnuts are passion fruit milk chocolate, lemon-sichuan, caramel de sel and apricot cardamom. Dynamo doughnuts also operates a kiosk at Little Marina Green, off Marina Boulevard at Lyon Street not far from the Palace of Fine Arts.
6037 San Pablo Ave.
Oakland, CA 94608
Using locally sourced ingredients, Pepples was the first Bay Area bakery to sell vegan organic doughnuts. Ingredients are said to be 100 percent organic including toppings such as coconut milk, raspberry jam and blueberries. More than 20 varieties of doughnuts are made in-house, but other tasty vegan organic dishes are available for brunch and lunch, such as tofu scramble, cornmeal waffles, granola and tofu burgers. Top choices for doughnut lovers have been raspberry doughnuts, lemon poppy seed, salted caramel and Meyer lemon doughnut glaze. Along with the brick and mortar location just east of Emeryville, Pepples also operates a doughnut kiosk at San Francisco’s Ferry Building.
2006 S. Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA 95008
With doughnut names like Boston Scream Pie, Glazed and Confused, Nutella the Hun and Raspberry Road Rash, Psycho doughnuts isn’t your ordinary doughnut shop. Instead, you’ll find lavish gourmet creations with unique toppings like crushed Oreo cookies, freeze dried strawberries, cheesecake icing and even bacon bits. In 2013, head chef Ron Levi and his assistant Joe Cloutier won the Food Network Canada’s Donut Showdown, reinforcing just how good these crazy doughnuts are. Psycho doughnuts has also been featured by the likes of Time Magazine, the Today Show, Entrepreneur Magazine and the Cooking Channel. A second store is located in downtown San Jose, not far from San Jose State University.
Stan’s Donut Shop
2628 Homestead Road
Santa Clara, CA 95051
If you consider Urbanspoon a reliable source for online reviews, then Stan’s is one doughnut shop you must visit. That’s because this classic diner has highest rating of all doughnut shops in the entire Bay Area from the popular online bar and restaurant guide. But don’t expect to find the hippest, cutting-edge doughnut creations here. Instead you will be treated more traditional favorites like glazed doughnuts, cake doughnuts, chocolate glazed old fashion doughnuts and doughnut with sprinkles along with a 1960s-style dining counter. Visitors tip: get there early in the morning to savor the doughnuts fresh out of the fryer and bring cash since credit cards aren’t accepted.