Reimagined, these ringed treats transcend breakfast.
Dunking sweetened dough into bubbling-hot oil is nothing new: Archaeologists have uncovered petrified, center-less fried cakes in prehistoric Native American ruins, and over the course of history most every culture has fried leftover dough. But these days, doughnuts are getting a makeover on local menus. Spots such as the Hole, which fries a maple-bacon variety and sandwiches a fried egg between the two raised spheres, are making this ad hoc breakfast the star of their all-day menus. Here, a few spots around town spinning souped-up, sugary delights.
Sugar Lips mini Donuts
Not only is Sugar Lips serving the freshest of confections, but owner Jasmine Listou does it out of a tricked-out food trailer. Listou sells her one-and-a-half-inch diameter, thin-ringed doughnuts by the dozen and half dozen—all while wearing pearls and a pillbox hat. The fresh-from-the-fryer treats are immediately covered in cinnamon and sugar and can be topped with additional sauces, including s’mores, vanilla bean, and chocolate–peanut butter. Because these dainty doughnuts are crispy and delicate, you never reach sugar overload. 720-841-9753, sugarlipsminidonuts.com
Rack & Rye Gastropub
Rack & Rye co-owner Violet Chan made sure doughnuts were on her dessert menu from the day the LoDo restaurant opened in December 2009. “The menu is essentially filled with foods I like to eat, and pop-in-your-mouth doughnut holes are a childhood favorite,” Chan says. The goods arrive at the table in a paper bag with an inch or so of cinnamon sugar. Shake the bag to coat and then dunk the crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside pastries into blackberry-mascarpone or chocolate sauces. 1320 15th St., 720-620-4920, rackandrye.com
Salt, a farm-to-table eatery in Boulder, serves a sizzling doughnut plate during Sunday brunch. These ringed sweets come with a side of cinnamon-chocolate sauce that’s topped with whipped cream. Chef Bradford Heap’s doughnuts aren’t so much junk food as they are artful appetizers, served as a sweet start to your morning. 1047 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-7258, saltboulderbistro.com
Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery
In the raised-versus-cake battle, Devil’s Food is decidedly cake-oriented. The bakery’s signature doughnut is crafted from the cafe’s decadent namesake—devil’s food. From there, the dessert (and this is dessert) is frosted in an equally rich chocolate ganache with a tiny hole cut out of the center to give your sweet tooth a break. 1020 S. Gaylord St., 303-733-7448, devilsfoodbakery.com
The Hole, which opened in Berkeley in late August, is still working out a few kinks, but the imaginative menu is worth a try for diehards. The place wins creative points for frying varieties such as Parmesan-prosciutto doughnut holes and a maple-bacon doughnut sandwich—even if the execution is a little shabby. Chef Jessica Hazard is so dedicated to the decadent treats that her ever-changing menu is available to hungry diners from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, and 24 hours on the weekends. 3877 Tennyson St., 720-379-6210, theholedenver.com