A taste of Seattle's best doughnut shops

Kate Chynoweth

Crispy and sweet, golden and tender, a doughnut is theperfect match for a strong cup of coffee. No wonder, then, thatSeattle ― a city known for good java ― has more thanits fair share of great doughnut shops. Drawing enthusiastic crowdsdespite the competition from national chains, each neighborhood hotspot has its own delightful and unique appeal. The independentlyowned stores listed here are distinguished by their devoted owners,memorable ambience, and, of course, delicious doughnuts.

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. Owner Barbara Elza started makingdoughnuts at this lively stand in Pike Place Market 15 years ago,and she fell in love with the job. "It's a big family here," shesays. "We know how to have fun." Locals and visitors have a greattime watching the "Donut Robot" ― a machine invented in the1930s―turn out fresh, hot miniature doughnuts in plain,sugar, and cinnamon-sugar. The frosted "fancies" tend to disappearquickly. "Kids are stronger than you think," Elza says. "They canreally muscle their way to the front." 93 Pike Place Market, #7; (206) 467-7769.

Family Doughnut Shop. Regulars flock to thishole-in-the-wall shop for tasty doughnuts and friendly banter withowner Tony Oeung and wife Vanna. "It's a pleasure to get to knowthe customers," says Tony. Of course, the real joy comes frombiting into the deep-fried treats he makes fresh every morning.Choose from glazed buttermilk, old-fashioned, and frosted cakedoughnuts of every variety, along with fluffy jellies, maple bars,and twists. 2100 N. Northgate Way; (206) 368-9107.

Sophie's Donuts. Susan Kaplan seeks out the finestingredients for her doughnuts. The former owner of Seattle'spopular Boat Street Cafe, Kaplan recently got into this businesswith a vision to re-create the doughnuts she loved as a kid. "Weuse old-fashioned recipes to make the dough from scratch," shesays. Visit this tiny shop in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood forluscious renditions of all the classics, as well as the memorableBismarck, which is filled with real raspberry jam. True enthusiastscan even sign up for a doughnut-making class. 2238 Eastlake Ave. E.; (206) 323-7132.

Top Pot. This postmodern designer shop on a quiet, leafystreet in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood has lines out thedoor on weekends. Brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck opened theplace last year with Joel Radin, and all share a nostalgia for thelate 1940s; doughnuts are served on vintage plates from that era,and the glass case displays gemlike treats frosted with retro pinkor chocolate icing. Old-fashioned cake stands display their newestjelly creation, the Valley Girl Lemon. Watch for their new store,opening next month in downtown Seattle. 609 Summit Ave. E.; (206) 323-7841.

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