As if you needed another reason to celebrate the end of the workweek, today is National Donut Day!
What better excuse for tossing caution – and your kale chips — to the wind and giving in to a little fried, sugary decadence? The Twin Cities is awash in bakeries, from old school establishments turning out classics like glazed old fashioneds to upstarts that top their donuts with everything from bacon to breakfast cereal.
Here are six favorites to get your celebration started. The first three are offering free donuts to a limited number of lucky customers; the others aren't doing any deals, but will be fully stocked with mountains of mouthwatering sweets.
1. Mojo Monkey
This St. Paul gem will be handing out free donuts to the first 200 customers on Friday. On a normal day the treats sell out quickly, so the free ones are sure to go even faster. Regular customers get here early to snag their favorites. But take heart; with so many great options, you really can’t go wrong. Cake, raised, cruller, fritter, Danish, Bismarck, you’ll find them all here. Where to start? How about an understated but delicious raised donut with mango glaze and coconut? For the less dainty, there’s the hefty banana pecan fritter with caramel glaze. If you like to stick with the basics, the humble cake donut at Mojo Monkey is the way to go. With more spice and vanilla than most versions, it is simple yet satisfying. The bakery will also be making some special surprises to celebrate on Friday.
1169 7th St. W., St. Paul
Tuesday – Friday 6 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 6:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
2. Longfellow Grill
This neighborhood spot on West River Parkway is also giving away free donuts tomorrow, while supplies last. More restaurant than bakery, Longfellow Grill bills itself as an urban diner. Stop in for a donut, stay for breakfast. Treat yourself to the Crabcake Benny, a refined but hearty twist on the morning favorite: An English muffin is topped with crab cakes, corn-spinach mix, poached eggs and hollandaise. Feeling guilty enough already about that donut? Go for the roasted vegetable hash or the Irish oatmeal.
2990 West River Parkway, Minneapolis
Open daily 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
3. YoYo Donuts
Show up early at this Minnetonka mainstay to claim your free donut. Doors open at 6 a.m. and customers will be standing in line waiting. Anything in the case with a hole qualifies (so no fritters, long johns, etc.). The shop is also donating a percentage of the day's profits to Salvation Army North. The family-owned bakery uses a proprietary flour mix that includes wheat, barley, and potato flours, as well as a secret spice blend, giving the dough a unique flavor and texture. Add to that a variety of icings and toppings, and you've got a great donut and a tough decision to make. The apple fritters are customer favorites, as are the maple glazed donuts topped with a strip of bacon. The coffee comes from Kickapoo Coffee in Wisconsin and teas are from local purveyor Tea Source. So sit and sip, have a donut or two, and enjoy the morning.
5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka
Monday - Saturday 6 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. -1 p.m.
4. Angel Food Bakery
Any time you see someone in the Minneapolis skyway carrying a box emblazoned with the Angel Food logo, you know they’re going to be very, very popular with their co-workers. Your first time can be overwhelming; the case is brimming with all manner of creative concoctions. Since you can’t try one of everything (at least not in one visit), ask the counter person for recommendations – because you know they’ve tried all the donuts. Play it safe and get a lighter-than-air cruller or go outside your comfort zone with the Hell’s Fire donut, an innocent cake donut amped up with cinnamon chocolate icing, sriracha glaze, and red pepper flakes.
86 S. 9th St., Minneapolis
Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
It’s the shape as much as the flavor combinations that set these donuts apart from the rest. Why square donuts? Why not? The irreverent names and toppings featuring childhood favorites like Oreos, Fruity Pebbles cereal, and graham crackers are right at home in Dinkytown. Run by two recent U of M grads, SSSDude-Nutz makes raised doughnuts in flavors like the ODB (old dirty bastard), a chocolate doughnut topped with Oreo cookies crumbles, and the 50 Tyson, a customer favorite that tastes like a peanut butter cup.
317 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis
Tuesday – Friday 7:30 a.m. until they sell out, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. until they sell out, and again from 9 p.m. until they sell out
6. Glam Doll Donuts
For new-wave donuts served up with a vintage vibe, head to Glam Doll to get your donut fix at all hours of the day and night (they’re open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Grab a donut or two after a night out, or grab a dozen for the morning after. Or both, we don’t judge. And there are so many varieties to choose from, you wouldn’t have to double up – although you’ll probably find a favorite. If you’re a fan of the sweet/salty combination, try the Calendar Girl, topped with salted caramel and chocolate. For fans of local favorite Surly, there’s the Daddy Dearest, a Surly cake donut with Surly Bender glaze and bacon crumb topping. At Glam Doll, they take their coffee as seriously as their donuts, making it your one-stop-shop for mornings when you need a little sugar and caffeine to jumpstart your day.
2605 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 7 a.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.