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Food & Drink

The Best Donut Shops in Austin

Updated On 07/25/2017 at 05:59PM EST
Courtesy of Bougie's Donuts

Bougie's Donuts

Sunset Valley

With a menu of quirkily delicious flavors like Orange Cinnadough and chocolate-bacon, and the hair-raisingly strong Cuvée espresso shots made to order, Sunset Valley newbie Bougie’s certainly lives up to the name. But there's nothing fussy about their mission: elevating the classic coffee-and-a-donut combo to an art form. Our go-to is the Homer -- strawberry-frosted with rainbow sprinkles -- with an iced Americano on the side.

Angel Donuts & Treats

Northwest Austin

Angel makes a mean traditional donut, but it's also got the best selection of gluten-free donuts in town. With flavors like blueberry-cake and chocolate-peanut (which tastes like a fluffier version of a deep-fried Reese's Peanut Butter Cup), as well as cake balls and excellent bubble tea, the menu is packed with treats delicious enough to make you reconsider your feelings about flour. The salted caramel-cake donut alone is worth the trip: buttery rich and dense with caramelized sugar bits, brightened by a light sprinkling of sea salt.

Voodoo Doughnut Austin

Voodoo Doughnut

Sixth Street

Voodoo is Austin’s newest addition to the donut scene. Greatly anticipated, the Portland, Oregon export has lived up to the hype with its wild donut creations. Your favorite childhood breakfast cereals are back, atop crispy donuts with Captain Crunch, Froot Loops, and Cocoa Puffs setting the stage for some of their must-haves. Voodoo also has less family-friendly themed donuts including the Maple Blazer Blunt donut, Cock-N-Balls donut, and, of course, the Voodoo Doll donut, all of which will leave you in a form of bewitchment.

Don’t let the Dirty Sixth Street location deter you: these donuts are worth pushing past all the bros to get to.

Little Lucy's Mini-Donuts

Little Lucy’s Mini-Donuts

Rainey Street

Little Lucy’s is the cute pink truck located across the street from all the Rainey Street bars. And, unlike many of the food trucks in that plaza, you don’t need to have been drinking to enjoy them. Pick up a large pink bag of the cinnamon-sugar miniatures and choose from free dipping sauces including chocolate and caramel (the best one). Or, since each bag has plenty of mini donuts, you can try them all. (But we’re serious about that caramel.)

Donut Taco Palace

Multiple Locations

Taco Donut Palace is such an Austin institution that someone wrote a song about it. And with a rainbow of brightly glazed donuts in the display case, as well as some pretty solid steam-table breakfast tacos, and some of the best jalapeño cheese kolaches in town -- crispy edged with cheese oozing from both ends -- there's a lot here to sing about. Try the infamous El Torro donut, which is fried in the shape of a hand doing the hook 'em sign and has plenty of crispy edges perfect for dipping in the surprisingly excellent coffee.

Round Rock Donuts
 

Round Rock Donuts

Round Rock

Made famous by the TV show Man v. Food, Round Rock Donuts boasts a “Texas Sized” glazed donut that clocks in at almost two-pounds. But the shop, popular with both locals and tourists, also serves a classic “orange glaze” donut that’s the best $0.69 you’ll ever spend. Come expecting a wait and arrive early if you want to make sure nothing is sold out.

S-H Donuts

Manor Road

This no-frills joint off Manor Road is famous for the shockingly fluffy dough in its donuts and kolaches, as well as the warmth and friendliness of everyone who works the counter. S-H is a family-run fixture of the community, and you're likely to find plenty of folks being greeted by name as they pick up boxes of perfectly sweet, plain glazed donuts. Yes, the shop is only open mornings, but it's well worth getting out of bed for -- unless you prefer to get your donut fix on the way home at 5am.

Gourdough's

Gourdough's

South First

Gourdough’s stands out with the most elaborate donuts on the list (even more so than Voodoo); these are donuts that take a fork and knife to get through, like the Elvis, which boasts caramelized banana, bacon, and peanut butter on a single ring. A first glance at the menu may give you paralysis-by-analysis, but even if you make an impulse order because you’ve been awkwardly looking at the menu for five minutes, you’ll still end up with one of the best and most memorable donuts you’ve ever had.

KC Donuts

KC Donuts

South Austin

Like the sugary, morning equivalent of your neighborhood bar, KC Donuts is your friendly, locally owned donut shop down the street. The donut holes are about twice your average size, and if you’re a first-timer, you may find a few extras end up in your bag -- it's that type of place. Light and fluffy, the donuts themselves can speak for themselves without the elaborate toppings. Bonus: the cinnamon rolls add the perfect cap to any KC order.

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery

North Austin (North Loop)

“Quality Donuts Since 1948.” That’s what's on the sign, and that’s what you get at Mrs. Johnson’s. There is a limited, no-frills menu, and Mrs. Johnson’s opens at 7:30pm (yes, PM) and stays open ‘til noon the following day, making it the go-to extra-late hours spot to get your donut fix. Order yourself a “raised glazed,” and you’ll see why they’ve had no problem staying in business the past 67 years.

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T here were plenty of restaurant openings in Austin this year, but the best ones all had a few things in common: comforting, un-gimmicky foods, served in chic surroundings, by (unsurprisingly) the top culinary talent in the city. They may not be the places with 4-dollar-sign price points, or the ones with two-hour weekend waits, but each of the restaurants below quickly earned top spots on Austin’s “You’ve gotta eat here” board. Whether you start with pimento and peacocks on the patio of a historic Victorian home, or by submitting your naughtiest behavior into a confessional box after an order of fries and soft serve, you’ll enjoy eating your way through Austin’s best new restaurants of 2017.
Thomas Allison / Thrillist

Bonhomie

Burnet Avenue

Casual-yet-refined French/American diner with classic cocktails
Chosen as one of Thrillist's Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017, this French bistro/American diner mashup features the tinge of Asian flavors you’d expect from chef Philip Speer, former director of culinary operations at Uchi. Don’t expect to find any pretension here -- Bonhomie is approachable, casual, comforting, and yes, affordable! The double-meat burger is oozing with Dijonnaise and cheese, the pommes rosti are crispy potato birds’ nests with toppings like roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and spinach (our favorite), and the croque monsieur and French onion soup are so over-the-top-rich that you practically have to share them. There are no literally no wrong choices, except not dining here -- or drinking here, thanks to the full bar and fantastic cocktail list.

Robert Lerma

Holy Roller

Downtown

Comfort food, cocktails, and kitsch from pastry chef Callie Speer
Callie Speer, former pastry chef of Swift’s Attic and Geraldine’s, opened punk rock diner Holy Roller as a labor of love, alongside an all-star team of women including beverage director Jen Keyser. The menu is full of comfort food, and each Texas classic is stamped with Callie Speer’s signature whimsy, like the addictive Trash Fries (gravy, sunny-side egg, sour cream, corn, lime, and cotija cheese) and the migas kolache (stuffed with queso, crispy potatoes, and jalapeño). Better still, Holy Roller caters to Austin’s brunch-obsessed masses by serving it all day on Sundays, including the Sunday School menu of pastries and tasty cocktails based off the Seven Deadly Sins. Drop a confession note in the box by the bathroom, and it might just get chosen as inspiration for Holy Roller’s next special cocktail.

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

East Austin

Mash-up of a Texas smokehouse and a Japanese gastropub
Describing Kemuri Tatsu-ya to the uninitiated gets convoluted: a Japanese izakaya in a former Eastside BBQ joint, with Texas influences and a killer Japanese whisky selection? Sure. The menu starts with bites like the uber-popular, Gouda-and-brisket-stuffed Hot Pocketz, and ends with ramen served with a thick dipping broth and fiery jalapeños, but not without a few twists and turns along the way. The “odd bits” menu offers tiny dishes of the (very) funky squid marinated in its own guts, as well as sweet and sour marinated jellyfish, while the yakitori offerings range from familiar chicken meatballs to challenging chicken hearts. And don’t even get us started on the cocktail program; arguably one of the best in Austin, the menu features fun, shareable portions served in kitschy vessels (like the Matcha Pain Killer, served in a cat-shaped cup). Think of Kemuri Tatsu-ya as a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience; stay in your comfort zone or get weird, it’s all up to you. Whatever you do, though, order a crisp Orion lager: it gives your go-to light beer a run for its money.

Nicolai McCrary

Soursop

South Congress

Pan-Asian fusion served on the patio of a craft brewery
Soursop, the pan-Asian trailer serving bar food on the patio of St. Elmo Brewing Co. is a standout in the neighborhood, the food truck landscape, and Austin in general for a few reasons: inventive flavor profiles, the fact that St. Elmo’s beers magically pair with everything on the menu, and the culinary team’s (possibly tongue-in-cheek?) shrine to Guy Fieri. Menu offerings occasionally change, but our favorites don’t appear to be going anywhere -- namely the Water-Burger (a refreshing burger made with ground chuck and brisket, caramelized onion ranch, lettuce, marinated cucumber, garlic pepper, and toasted rice powder), and the huge, sticky sambal wings (jumbo whole wings, Thai chili, palm sugar, fish sauce, coconut vinegar, peanut, mint).

Charles Reagan

Native Hostel

East Austin

Upscale hostel and bar serving modern diner classics
Hip digs and a kitchen with generous hours add up to Austin’s newest hotspot for sleeping, eating, drinking, and checking out live music and DJs. The kitchen has everything an Austin guest (or resident) could want, comforting diner food, brunch and lots of vegetarian options. With picks like the fried chicken sandwich (pickle brined chicken, dill pickles, pickled peppers, mayo) and the meatless chilaquiles (veggie chorizo, corn tortilla chips, pickled peppers, tomato, avocado, queso and sunny-side-up egg), this is the sort of food that late dinners and (ahem, challenging) breakfasts require. Pro tip: Native serves brunch until 3pm on weekends.

El Chipirón

South Lamar

Spanish tapas and cocktails found on first floor of residential building
A new kid on the block, El Chipirón earns its stripes with Spanish tapas and pintxos in a modern Euro setting alongside a lovely cocktail menu with an emphasis on gin and tonics (like The Tejano, which involves lots of smoke and herbs). The menu is decked out with meat and cheese boards, small plates, and a couple of large options like the juicy lomo de vaca (44 Farms strip steak, Padrón pepper, LaFou demi-glace, tomato, potato); standouts include the squid ink (colored and flavored) black rice with squid, mussels and scallops and tabla de ibéricos loaded with Spanish chorizo, Iberian ham, salchichón, and accoutrements.

Laura Hajar

Pitchfork Pretty

East Cesar Chavez

Stylish eatery taking a chef-forward approach to modern Southern fare
Helmed by executive chef Max Snyder, Pitchfork Pretty appeared seemingly out of nowhere -- before anyone realized what happened, East Cesar Chavez was home to a design-forward, A-frame building with a mix of chef-y small plates and hearty fried chicken, and cocktails that satisfy both the cucumber margarita and whiskey crowds. The concept is hard to pin down but easy to fall in love with. Critics are rightly swooning over the pickled quail egg on crispy leeks -- a perfect bite consumed like you would an oyster -- and the gluten-free, chickpea flour-breaded fried chicken brined in a habanero vinegar.

bao'd up

Bao'd Up

Mueller

Fast casual joint for steamed buns and bubble tea
Bao’d Up, Mueller’s new steamed-bun-dedicated restaurant from chef Ting Li, is making waves with its bite-size offerings made with the sticky, steamed bread in multiple forms: baozi, mantou, gua bao, and bao fries. We like the simple BBQ pork bao and Szechuan fries topped with spicy mayo, sesame, and green onion, and no trip to Bao’d Up is complete without a build-your-own bubble drink; the matcha and taro are favorites.

Nick Simonite

Mattie's

Bouldin Creek

Elevated Southern cuisine served among live oaks and peacocks
The former Green Pastures (which now refers solely to the event space), Mattie’s is the revamped new concept from Austin developer Greg Porter and La Corsha Hospitality -- which operates Second Bar + Kitchen and Boiler Nine. With its marble countertops, exquisite light fixtures, copper hardware, and textured wallpaper that begs to be touched, the new skin applied to the home’s old bones is incredibly gorgeous to behold. The menu is also just as impressive, whether you’re having dinner in one of the many dining rooms or on the lawn alongside the resident peacocks. Southern dishes sprinkled with French and Asian influence as well as untouched classics like pimento cheese and fried chicken eggs Benedict sparkle at Mattie’s... just as much as the dreamy surroundings.