Our favorite doughnuts: A baker's dozen
Tuesday is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday - or, if you're a carb freak, the day before the start of Lent, when tradition holds that you rid the pantry of sweets.
We're not that traditional that our doughnuts have to be true fasnachts.
They just have to be good.
So we offer you a baker's dozen of our favorite doughnut purveyors in the region. All are family-owned bakeries - sorry, "DD" and "KK." As a bonus, we've included a 14th name: Federal Donuts, which gets much more than its share of hype.
Asking us which is "best" is like asking a mom to choose her favorite kid.
We'll go in alphabetical order:
Cosmi’s Pastries, 1221 W. Oregon Ave., Philadelphia (215-218-2000). In "deep South Philly" since 1947, this cake specialist doles 'em out for 95 cents each, $11.40 a dozen. Get the sugar jelly and powdered cream.
DiBartolo Bakery, 667 Haddon Ave., Collingswood (856-869-3566). You have to wade through an intoxicating aroma and trays of cookies to get to these doughnuts, which sell for a buck a piece (though a dozen will be $10 on Fat Tuesday). The vanilla cream rocks, but early birds know to snarf the yeast-raised, frosted, apple-filled variety.
Donuts Plus, 4325 Chestnut St, Philadelphia (215-222-0811), Poor, hungry Penn students flock to this shop in a West Philly strip center for tasty treats - and at 70 cents each, $6.50 a dozen, they're one of the better values in the area. Boston cream and glazed are the tops.
Federal Donuts, 1219 S. Second St., Philadelphia (267-687-8258) and 1632 Sansom St., Philadelphia. The city's most-buzzed-about doughnut shop (which also sells fried chicken and coffee) rotates its flavor list. The most popular "fancy" flavors seem to be maple bacon and French toast ($2 each, $20 a dozen), and the top seller among the "hot fresh" (which sell for $1.25 each, $11 a dozen) is Indian cinnamon.
Frangelli’s, 847 W. Ritner St, Philadelphia (215-271-7878). One of South Philly's old-timers - and we say this with love - is this treasure at Ninth and Ritner, and for 85 cents ($10 a dozen), you can and should feast on doughnuts filled with black raspberry or Italian cream (not "Boston cream," pal).
Fresh Donuts, 3914 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia (215-222-8119). This West Philly stand-alone shop has great prices (70 cents each, $6.50 a dozen) plus apple fritters and glazed worth the trip from Center City.
L&M Bakery, 11 Saint Mihiel Dr., Delran (888-887-1335). This shop may have been around for years, but it's only recently that word is spreading beyond Burlington County. (It's not on Route 130, for one thing.) We're impressed with its pricing (91 cents per doughnut, $10.90 a dozen - a 2-cent saving!) and with its products, especially the powdered cream and chocolate cream.
Marian’s, 2615 E. Allegheny Ave., Philadelphia (215-634-4579). Port Richmond's Polish community (and sweet-toothed expats) fill this shop off of I-95 for paczki (jelly doughnuts) that sell for 70 cents each. Not a jelly fan? Cream works, too.
McMillan’s, 15 Haddon Ave., Westmont (856-854-3094). Quantity seldom equals quality in our world, but this fourth-generation Haddon Township landmark defies that truism. The mammoth, overfilled cream delight are $1.30 each, $15.60 for a baker's dozen.
Potito’s Bakery, 1614 W. Ritner St., Philadelphia (215-334-2996) and 1315 Walnut St. (215-545-2253). This South Philly shop and its new Center City offshoot kick it old-school - the powdered buttercream and frosted chocolate are the better-sellers; curiously, Center City's prices are lower (85 cents, $10 a dozen opposed to South Philly's 90 cents, $10.80 a dozen).
Suzy Jo’s, 49 E. Fourth St. Bridgeport (610-279-1350). Between Franzone's Pizza and this doughnut landmark, the borough just off the back of Norristown is a fat kid's paradise. You're advised to pony up $1 for the chocolate Bavarian or the glazed, or to drop $8.50 on a discounted dozen.
Sweet Freedom Bakery, 1424 South St., Philadelphia (215-545-1899). Philly's first completely gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly bakery gets $3 each, $33 a dozen for such varieties as chocolate-dipped and salted caramel.
Viking Pastries, 39 Cricket Ave., Ardmore (610-642-9227). Pry yourself away from the signature sticky buns at this storefront on the Cricket Avenue strip; at 70 cents each, you're wise to seek out the buttercream-filled and the humble glazed.
Yum Yum Bake Shop, 500 W. Street Rd., Warminster (215-441-4477), 100 Bethlehem Pike, Colmar (215-822-9468), and 1461 W. Broad St., Quakertown (215-538-3050). This long-running Bucks County operation has been going strong for half a century. Quakertown is 24 hours, and the Colmar location offers free decorating classes from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. For 99 cents each, $8.99, you can't go wrong with the glazed and iced varieties; fasnachts are available now, too.
Add your favorites to the comments.