Thousands of votes have been cast and counted — did your favorite fried-dough destination win our Local Doughnut Bracket?
Photo: Eric England
It might feel a little shallow to think about something as inconsequential as a doughnut bracket while *gestures wildly at everything* is happening. But the truth is, it says a lot about this city that we’re able to support eight great locally owned doughnut shops. Not everywhere can say the same! Nashvillians either really love their small businesses, or they really love their sugar. (Or maybe it’s both?)
Now that the dust from the recent doughnut boom has started to settle — three shops opened in the Five Points area in the past 18 months alone — it was time to ask the question: Who makes the best doughnuts in Nashville? So in the Feb. 27 issue of the Scene, we introduced the first-ever local doughnut bracket.
Over the course of nine days, Scene readers voted for their favorite doughnut shops and bakers, March Madness-bracket style. Thousands and thousands of votes were tallied, and here’s what went down:
In Round 1, Fox’s Donut Den, The Donut + Dog, East Park Donuts & Coffee and Five Daughters Bakery advanced over McGaugh’s, Donut Distillery, Status Dough, and Conny and Jonny, respectively. (Worth noting: There were some very close calls.)
Round 2 ended with a surprise. Fox’s Donut Den defeated The Donut + Dog (but go try their Sweet Baby Jesus doughnut immediately!), and East Park Donuts & Coffee won out over the beloved Five Daughters Bakery.
Five Daughters has won Best Doughnut in every Best of Nashville readers’ poll since 2016!
Finally, the championship round was Fox’s vs. East Park.
Old school vs. new school.
The best classic apple fritter in town vs. the most modern doughnut menu in town.
And the winner is … doughnut-hole roll, please … East Park Donuts & Coffee! *throws sprinkles and cinnamon and sugar in the air*
Here’s what I wrote about East Park in last week’s issue:
East Park Donuts & Coffee
Of all the new boutique doughnut shops, East Park has perhaps the most expansive menu. The countertop display is always changing, with daily flavors that’ll appeal to every kind of doughnut connoisseur. Want something light and tender? Grab one of the perfectly golden brioche doughnuts topped with brown butter or lavender blueberry glaze. Looking for something cakey? Try the sour-cream old-fashioneds. And for an especially substantial treat, look no further than East Park’s potato cake doughnuts, which boast an alarmingly dense base that you can (and should) dip into your coffee. East Park also has gluten-free, paleo and keto options, and there’s even a chocolate malted doughnut with 15 milligrams of CBD. Traditional cake doughnuts are $2 a pop, but the daily and seasonal specials range anywhere from $3.50 to $5.
Be sure to try: The Everything doughnut. The brioche base is topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese glaze and everything bagel seasoning. It’s savory and salty and kind of weird, but surprisingly addictive.
It looks like East Park sustained some damage in the wake of last week’s tornado, but a post on the shop’s Facebook page yesterday notes that the building’s power is back, and the owners are looking forward to reopening soon.
Truly, the real winner here is Nashville. The fact that our city can welcome and support eight different doughnut shops says a lot about our sense of community and our pride in creative small and local businesses. For the purposes of this bracket, there could be only one winning doughnut shop, but there isn’t a bad bake in the bunch. So get yourself a doughnut. And maybe buy a few to share with your neighbors, too. It’s been a hell of a week.