Way back before ultra-fancy doughnuts hit the Mile High City, our choices were pretty much limited to plain, glazed, powdered, jelly-filled, or sprinkled. And while some doughnut purists may still prefer the simpler treats of their youth to the extravagant concoctions of today, we think of ourselves as equal-opportunity doughnut fans. That’s especially true on National Doughnut Day (Friday, June 1), where we’ll be visiting one of these six doughnut shops to get our sweet fix.
This place is aptly named—our eyes tend to glaze over because we’re confused, er, “confuzed,” by all of the large-enough-to-share choices in the case. The selections rotate often at this Stanley Market spot, so don’t set your doughnut-loving heart on anything specific. Our favorites include Obi Wan Cannoli (filled with scratch-made cannoli pastry cream) or the Breaking Banana Bread (a cake doughnut topped with salted caramel glaze and chocolate chips). Be prepared to try something new, such as the current summery specialty featuring lavender and blood orange.
Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 303-524-9637
“I can’t believe this is vegan!” is a commonly overheard refrain at Ballpark’s Beet Box. Although it is hard to believe, all of Beet Box’s baked cake-style doughnuts (as well as its other delectable goodies) are completely vegan, and many are even gluten-free. The plain-sounding vanilla doughnut is anything but thanks to a topping of flaky coconut.
1030 E. 22nd Ave., Denver, 303-861-0017
Doughnut purists and gourmands alike will appreciate four-year-old OMG! Donuts!, which is tucked away in a nondescript shopping center in Arvada (look for the bright yellow donut on the sign). There’s something for everyone at this pared-down shop, from plain- and chocolate-glazed to fancier varieties topped with bacon, Nutella, or fruity cereal. (The only ones who might be disappointed are cake-doughnut loyalists; OMG only traffics in yeasted varieties.) Don’t miss the shop’s most popular choice, the pull-apart Pinecone, which is shaped just like its namesake. 7355 Ralston Road, Arvada; 303-431-3686
Fancy some whiskey with your doughnut? How about some whiskey in your doughnut? Habit, a cheeky three-year-old bakery on Platte Street, offers up doughnut plus alcohol mash-ups that might give you a bit of a boozy buzz. Choose the yeast-raised doughnut of your choice, then inject it with whiskey, Fireball, Baileys, Kahlua, or whatever else you like. If it’s a sugar-and-caffeine buzz you’re after instead, choose a non-injected doughnut and grab some coffee at Carbon Café & Bar next door. Bonus: To commemorate National Doughnut Day, Habit is celebrating with a special doughnut dubbed the John Daly, an iced tea and lemonade flavored treat injected with Żubrówka, a vodka flavored with Bison Grass. 1553 Platte St., 720-428-8565
With 50 to 60 varieties baked fresh every morning, City Donuts’ three area locations truly have it all—raised, cake, old-fashioned, French, and fancy. The Apple Fritter is the best seller, but if you’re in the mood for something else, you’ll have plenty of options. You can’t go wrong with vanilla-frosted, especially with a sprinkle of cinnamon crumb on top. Multiple locations
With Oskar Blues behind this RiNo endeavor, it’s not surprising that the scratch-made doughnuts often feature beer (grapefruit-IPA cream, anyone?). But all of the varieties of scratch-made dougnuts here—even sans-suds—are delicious. If you see the Earl Grey lavender flavor, which is made with local Teakoe tea, order two. 3460 Larimer St., 720-668-9167