Harvard students collectively mourned the move of the Dunkin’ Donuts at Bow Street and Mass Ave. But never fear: This is an opportunity to step out of our corporate comfort zone and into the world of real, bakery-fresh, down-home lovin’ donuts. I spent a week searching all ends of the globe—or rather, from Belmont to South Boston—to create a comprehensive list of the best spots to pig out on fried dough (in no particular order). It’s okay if you only eat one per day, right?
Chauhaus at the GSD | Cambridge
“Wait, I can buy donuts using Board-Plus? And they taste good?” Yep, you read that right. Chauhaus serves up surprisingly delicious donuts, placed inconspicuously at the end of their salad bar. I try the standard vanilla cake with glaze, but there’s nothing standard about it. The donut is thick and cakey, falling apart with crumbly satisfaction and tasting like something the professionals have made.
Union Square Donuts | Somerville
I don’t even have to travel to Somerville, where Union Square has its two iconic loca-tions, because, like most Harvard students, I am well-acquainted with their booth at the Fall Farmers’ Market. Ten minutes before the market even opens, students start hovering around the creative donut station, and it doesn’t take long for the line to stretch completely outside of the tent. Last fall, I had their most famous pick: chocolate frosting with bacon on top. There was definitely a clash of flavors, something I’m not a huge fan of, but many seem to enjoy the sweet/salty combination. After all, what’s more basic than combining two of America’s favorite foods? I can hear the hashtags now.
Doughboy | South End
Looking more like a fast food restaurant than a bakery, Doughboy is filled with workmen from the enormous T station across the street, wearing neon jackets and talking loudly in thick Boston accents. It’s clearly an old South End stronghold. Most of their donuts adhere to the light and fluffy variety, but the frosted chocolate I have is much thicker. It is excellent, but quite similar to the Chauhaus donut. If you’re in the mood for some good donuts and a real Boston experience, go to Doughboy. If not, the trek to the GSD is much more manageable.
Ohlin’s Bakery | Belmont
These next two spots also require some extra distance, but the 13-minute bus ride is well worth it. Ohlin’s, recently given the Boston Globe’s award for best donuts, is your classic tiny bakery, brightly lit and packed with an overwhelming array of things in addition to their creative donut list (pumpkin, butter crunch, and strawberry frosted honey to name a few). I order the only donut left at my 4 p.m. arrival time, a fluffy one stuffed with blueberry jam, and am not disappointed. Although I usually prefer cake donuts (which they also sell), the blueberry jam is perfect—not too sweet and containing lumps of real blue-berries.
Linda’s Donuts | Belmont
Dedicated to donuts and greasy sandwiches, Linda’s is a local favorite. Just like with Ohlin’s, make sure you arrive early in the morning if you want their full range of pastries. Even though I only get to try the plain and the chocolate cruller, it is enough. The plain donut tastes better than the most fanciful creation Dunkin’ Donuts could dream up. I never knew regular dough could taste so good. The chocolate cruller, my personal favorite, has the same dough but is topped with a thick layer chocolate frosting and stuffed with strawberry jam. This is no breakfast (or midday snack) meant for the faint of heart.
— Emma V.R. Noyes