Bike for Doughnuts: 1-Day Cycling Tour of NYC’s Best Doughnut Spots
What else are Citibikes good for other than bypassing the NYC subway system? Getting you to six doughnut shops in one day. Follow this itinerary if you bike for doughnuts!
We know doughnuts aren’t exactly a new culinary revelation, but hear us out: There are some seriously good doughnuts in Gotham. Some of which you may not have discovered. While we’ve all relished in the Cronut, and while the donut-croissant hybrid is still pretty great, who has the time to wait in line for three hours for one pastry? Just think, in that same amount of time you could sample a half a dozen of the best doughnuts scattered throughout the city. And to help burn off all those calories and build an appetite, why not ride a Citibike to each doughnut destination? Well we’ve devised a plan—and tested it out—to do just that. So start your engines, er pedals, as you embark on the culinary ride of your life.
Before unlocking your bike, it’s time to get the first donut under your belt. Tucked away inside a carwash on the West Side Highway in Hell’s Kitchen, Underwest Donuts could easily be missed if you didn’t know where to look. Just under the giant red “C-A-R W-A-S-H” letters sprawling along an industrial building you’ll notice red awnings and a small sign for Underwest’s walk up window. Stroll to the door to enter the postage stamp bakery where you’ll find amazing cake donuts and beautiful selection of glazed donuts, like their maple waffle. But the real trick here is ordering one of the sugared varieties. You’ll have to wait as they are fried to order, coated in your choice of flavored sugar and served piping hot.
Must Try: Cinnamon Sugar Donut
Though based out of Brooklyn, Dough has expanded its footprint to a few outposts in Manhattan—for those that don’t like to cross over (or under) the East River. Most excitingly, they are part of the Times Square City Kitchen, a carefully curated food hall with some of the city’s best food options. So just in case you’re hankering for a homemade pescado taco from Gabriela’s Taqueria or a gooey Juicy Lucy burger (that’s stuffed with melted cheese in the inside) from Whitman’s, you’re in luck. After the savory side is satisfied, you’ll be enchanted by Dough’s stunning display case which lets any hungry visitor know its pastry prowess with its dazzling colors layered on top of the wondrous aromas. Be warned though, Dough doughnuts are some of the biggest we’ve had the pleasure to eat, so this one may be best shared.
Must Try: Horchata Doughnut or Nutella- Stuffed Doughnut
We could spend all day lounging in this K-Town café, as Grace Street is one of the most spacious and artfully decorated interiors with both wide tables and comfortable couches in an almost cavernous space. Their specialty is the Ho dduk, a Korean-style fried pocket filled with a warm cinnamon-brown-sugar and walnut mixture. Each are fried to order and served in a zarf-like sleeve (in case you didn’t know, a zarf is that little cardboard coffee cup insulator), which makes one-handed eating easy. For those ready to sit down and take their time, get it plated, quartered, and topped with a cool scoop of farm-fresh Ronnybrook ice cream.
Must Try: Ho dduk with Ronnybrook Ice Cream
Jim Lahey is one of the most important bread bakers in New York City, or perhaps even America. It was his “no-knead” recipe in the New York Times that taught the nation the secret of making no-fuss bread at home. His Sullivan Street Bakery (with locations in Soho, Hell’s Kitchen, and this in Chelsea) is a testament to his skill in not just breads, but pizzas and pastries too. There, his bomboloni, an Italian stuffed hole-less doughnut, come in two delicious flavors: a luscious lemon-vanilla custard or a seasonally rotating sweet fruit jam. We’re so indecisive, we usually end up ordering one of each.
Must Try: Bomboloni
Walk: Take a bike break and stroll on foot just a few blocks to…
Doughnut Plant has a special place in our hearts as it was the first “artisanal” doughnut to arrive in New York City. Founder Mark Israel, who started his mini-empire on the Lower East Side in 1994 and has since expanded to Japan and Korea, possesses a creativity and artistry that always surprises and impresses. Upon each visit, you’ll find something new, like seasonally appropriate specials such as gingerbread or Menorah ripple doughnut. But what we really love about the Doughnut Plant is the special care they take to draw from the clash of cultures in New York. One to note: their true Mexican-style churro. And to wash it down, an iced Mexican horchata latte.
Must Try: Crème Brûlée Doughnut and Churros
Open since 1964, The Donut Pub feels exactly like how a donut shop should: formica counters, vinyl stools, hot pots of coffee, and racks of classic donuts. It has that old school New York vibe that you kinda have to adore. A good option for late night as The Donut Pub is open 24/7 which makes it great for people-watching. Though we praise Doughnut Plant for their creativity and boundary pushing, we love Donut Pub for the exact opposite: a perfect honey dip donut and a cup of black coffee. It’s a slice of Americana.
Must Try: Honey Dipped or Boston Cream