If there’s one thing I know, it’s food. When it comes to food, there are 3 things I know really well: pizza, BBQ and donuts. If ever a place should open, that has all 3…look out.
A familiar part of my Sunday morning routine is taking the kids out for donuts and hot chocolate. For the past 4 years, we’ve always done donuts at Sunrise Donuts in Bloomington, MN.
Never one to be satisfied, we’ve been on the hunt for new donut places to try. Between, Yelp!, the web at large and recommendations from friends, we tried:
Mel-o-Glaze: let’s start by saying the owner let’s is cat roam the kitchen. Not cool. The donuts weren’t fresh. All were tasteless and hard, except the traditional glaze. I’ve never had a glaze donut like this. It was thick and cake-like, but with all the flavor of a traditional glaze. It was tasty, but a one trick pony and in a hard to reach location.
Glam Doll: this came recommended by several folks I’m friends with on foursquare. The location is great and the character-driven retail model works. There are ’50s style pinup paintings and photos hanging on the walls, and all the waitresses are dressed up in the vain of Bettie Paige. It must cost a lot to create that ambiance, because a dozen donuts will set you back more than $20. Yes, I’m serious. You do get some creative donut flavor creations that are given fun and whimsical names, like Bombshell and Femme Fatale. Overall a great tasting donut, but overpriced to the point, it makes NYC look inexpensive. Add in the time to travel to uptown (15 minutes) and these just aren’t worth the trip on for our Sunday journey.
Yo-Yo: located in a strip mall in Minnetonka (yes, I too was blown away that Minnetonka had strip malls) this donut shop is somewhere between Glam Doll and Sunrise. Let me explain…you get creatively decorated donuts, like the cake one with Fruity Pebbles adorned on top. There’s also a s’mores donut, that plugs the donut hole with a marshmallow. You also have simple bear claws and twists. A dozen will run you $17, nearly 3x the cost of a dozen at Sunrise. Add in the 15 minute drive and Yo-Yo is a no-no for me.
Look, there are two types of donut shops, just like there’s two types of bars. There are those that trade on flash (you pay a lot for this) and there are those that trade on substance. The substance places usually lack the polish and sizzle of the flash places. This usually leads to people preferring the flash places. No thanks. I will not be visiting the ROOF at the Wit in Chicago to pay $20+ for a mojito. Especially, not when I can get a great authentic pitcher at Havana. I digress. What makes Sunrise great is 3 things:
1. Consistency: always a great experience. Always friendly people. Always open when it’s supposed to be. Always the same people there. I’m practically a regular!
2. Taste: in my humble opinion, they make the best tasting glaze, cake and cruller style donuts I’ve ever had. They’re always fresh, with the right balance of topping to base.
3. Fair Value: a dozen is $6. Yep, $6. They could charge double that and I would pay it.
I’ll keep checking out other donut places, but I can’t imagine another place in the Minneapolis area besting Sunrise on consistency, taste and value.