Some people are picky about vegetables, others about meats or spicy foods, around here we are picky about donuts. Yep. Donuts. Thing is, there are lots to choose from but, like anything else, not all donuts are created equal. Some try to dazzle with big fancy toppers but don't necessarily measure up in the actual donut department while others may be a little too greasy or a little too dry. Across Connecticut there are some places turning out batches of pitch perfect donuts and I wanted to make sure you know about them. So here, from our donut loving home to yours, are some of our top picks when it comes to these sweet, cakey, (questionable) breakfast foods...
Believe it or not, Stew Leonard's ranks pretty high up on the list when it comes to donuts. In fact I'm hard pressed to find a baked good at Stew's that I don't like. The bakers there start at 3 o'clock in the morning to bake up the freshest treats possible and they're one of the only places I know of where you can find a cider donut year round. The unassuming little Donut Stop in downtown Shelton is another spot that's high on our list when it comes to fresh baked donuts. They open at 4:30 in the morning and close a 3 o'clock in the afternoon. As with many places where the goods are baked in house, arriving sooner rather than later helps ensure you get first dibs on the best stuff.
Dottie's Diner in Woodbury offers up homespun charm and some incredible donuts. It's definitely Litchfield County's answer to "where do I get a good donut around here?" And if you're down Stamford way, the answer to that question is, without a doubt, Lakeside Diner. Tiny, charming, set next to a lake (duh) and holy moly the donuts at this place!
But of course, in every category there will always be a favorite even if it's a close call. In this particular case our hands down favorite is Brooklyn Baking Company in Waterbury. Staking claim to the title of oldest bakery in New England, they've had a lot of years (over 100) to get things right. It would be easy to drive right by this place and not even know it's there. Set in the corner of a strip mall on Reidville Drive alongside Route 84, it really doesn't look like much from the outside. The name goes back to the old location on the Brooklyn side of Waterbury (nothing to do with Brooklyn, New York) and when you walk in the door you are instantly greeted with a giant piece of the bakery's history. The antique dough tables (not for sale so don't ask--lots of people do) were once used to knead and rise bread dough and now form an enormous common area to sit and enjoy a treat.
The dough tables at Brooklyn Baking Company were once used in the making of fresh bread
The thing about the donuts at Brooklyn Baking that sets them apart (and stay with me on this one) is their simplicity. In a world where everybody is trying to outdo each other with Seussian toppings, Brooklyn Baking Company is offering up classic donuts made exceptionally well. And the formula is working. If you ask my kids whether they'd rather have a candy crusted creation from some other donut place or one of Brooklyn's simple, incredible Boston Creme they will choose the latter every time.
So if you're looking for a good donut, no a great donut, you don't need to find one that is stacked to the heavens with frosting and sprinkles, you just need to know where to go to find the best ones. And now you know.