Food & Drink

Classic Southern Doughnut Shops

Pick up a treat—at breakfast or any time—at one of these historic Southern sweet spots

photo: Baxter Miller

Round Rock Donuts
Round Rock, Texas
Est. 1926

What started as the Lone Star Bakery more than 85 years ago has grown into a Texas institution. Still made from the first owner’s recipe, the doughnuts are noted for their yellow color (from dough made with fresh eggs) and humble price tag of .69 cents a pop. Haven’t gotten your fill? Dare you to order the “Texas-sized” treat, which weighs two pounds and is approximately the size of twelve regular doughnuts.

Spalding’s Bakery
Lexington, Kentucky
Est. 1929

Although its location has trotted around Lexington a bit over its 80-plus year history, Spalding’s has stayed true to its process of making yeast doughnuts the traditional way—each cake is cut by hand, allowed to rise on birch-wood boards, deep fried, and glazed to perfection.

Britt’s Donut Shop
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Est. 1939

You will know it’s Britt’s when you see a line of folks crowding the boardwalk in front of this cash-only Carolina Beach institution. Ask anyone queuing up what all the fuss is about, and they’ll tell you the first melt-in-your mouth bite—and a dozen more like it—is worth the wait.

Baxter Miller

TatoNut Shop
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Est. 1960

With one of the best names in the biz, TatoNut has been frying up dough made from potato flour for nearly sixty years. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region and made supplies hard to come by, the cooks got resourceful—after cutting out their doughnut shapes, they used the scraps to fry “Katrina Pieces.” The treat proved so popular that the shop still sells them to remind visitors of the town’s resilience.

photo: Courtesy of TatoNut

“Katrina pieces.”

Gibson’s Donuts
Memphis, Tennessee
Est. 1967

Long before food celebrity Alton Brown started professing his undying love for Gibson’s every chance he gets (he spoke about their doughnuts with G&G and also went a little nuts when a fan delivered him a box), locals flocked here, guided by the vibrant neon signs glowing out front. Although you can order a round dusted in everything from sprinkles to coconut flakes, take a note from Brown and go for a box of the classic glazed.

Courtesy of Gibson Donuts

JR’s Donut Castle
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Est. 1969

On the outside, the building is shaped like a castle. On the inside, it’s got that homey, stool-lined counter and diner feel, with glass cases displaying daily delights—iced, powdered-sugared, and jelly-filled doughnuts. Each night, three delivery trucks make the rounds, delivering this local favorite to shops, schools, hospitals, and churches in the area.

Courtesy of Krispy Kreme

And if none of these spots are near you, your local Krispy Kreme (which first opened in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) offers one free doughnut to every visitor on National Doughnut Day, June 1.