7 stores to try for gourmet, fried, baked, vegan


The abrupt closure and sale of the Koffee Kup bakery left a hole in many Vermonters’ mornings. The bakery had been producing fresh donuts in Burlington for more than half a century, with each box bearing the image of the likeable baseball-cap company mascot, Mr. Cruller.

Donut desperation. Mr. Cruller has cousins. Northwest Vermont is home to a wide array of local donut makers, including new bakeries that sprang up last year.

With the help of our families, Free Press reporters set out to sample a full range of fried doughs – from sticky sweet and savory, from donuts to sourdough cakes to yeast dough, and simple donuts suitable for soaking in coffee to craft stuffed creations could practically be a meal for themselves.

(What do we call these treats, anyway? The Associated Press, which sets our standards for spelling and language, insists that donut is the correct spelling. The simpler “donut” prevails in most. of these restaurants.)

A variety of Sweet Wheels Bus Cake Donuts in Essex Junction.  Flavors shown include maple, triple chocolate, lemon frosting, raspberry frosting, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar.

Sweet Wheels Donuts, Essex Junction

A school bus full of donuts is surely one of the most delicious things to ever find in an empty parking lot behind a suburban mall. The Sweet Wheels Bus opened in June at Essex Junction with classic flavored donuts that are crispy on the outside and perfectly chewy in the middle.

Sweet Wheels is a family bakery owned by Wendy Piotrowski and Andrew Machanic, who closed their Burlington restaurant The Swingin ‘Pinwheel earlier this year.

When I visited on opening day, the couple’s latest wheel business attracted a steady stream of customers as the word began to spread. Donuts have since found an early following of foodie fans.

A special function: Maple glazed donuts with crispy maple nuggets.

Location: 58 Pearl Street, Essex Junction. Look for the bus in the parking lot next to the Everest Asian Market and behind Big Lots.

More information: sweetwheelsdonutsvt.square.site

April McCullum, Editor-in-Chief

Blue plate special: A strawberry frosting (right) and a maple glazed donut from Burlington's Miss Weinerz bakery tempt a photographer on June 20, 2021.

Miss Weinerz, Burlington and vicinity

They should not be confused with donuts on the assembly line. They’re gorgeous: odd-shaped and covered in frosting by someone who loves what they do.

It would be Ren Weiner, who cooks them in an undisclosed location in Burlington’s New North End.

First impressions: A savvy donut eater (and that’s the correct spelling of confectionery, according to Weiner) opens the dough before taking a bite.

His donuts have substance, but they’re not heavy. Their interior texture, like their surface topography, indicates the chef’s preference for manual kneading over mechanized one.

Sourdough, as far as I know, is one of the secret ingredients.

I know you’re never supposed to think of a donut as healthy, but these $ 3 donuts fall under the real food category.

Weiner also makes excellent bread. Coincidence?

A special function:

Yes, the maple frosting was super fooling; yes, the strawberry frosting had a terrific bouquet. But the real surprise of these donuts lies in the prolonged pleasure of chewing. You can’t inhale them, and you wouldn’t want to.

Location: Stores in and around Burlington

More information: MissWeinerz.com

Joel Banner Baird, Editor-in-Chief

Donuts from Local Donut, a husband and wife home bakery in Woodbury.

The local donut, Woodbury and the surrounding area

Another family affair, The Local Donut is a home bakery in central Vermont whose donuts can be found statewide. Husband and wife team Nate Doyon and Nina Livellara started the business in 2020. Their donuts are airy, made from yeast dough and fried in a cast iron skillet.

Friends of mine ordered two boxes of donuts and shared the bounty in an act of generosity that I’m not sure I can ever repay. We sat on rocks overlooking Lake Champlain and nibbled on Local Donut’s signature flavors including salted sugar, maple frosting, raspberry jam and lemon curd. The latter was my favorite, reminding me of tea, with a price tag of $ 4. We also tasted a tasty curiosity stuffed with cream cheese and garnished with seeds, like a bagel in an identity crisis.

A special function:

Unusual flavors using local ingredients including savory creations that might appeal to people who don’t think they like donuts. Savory flavors of the past included an Old-Bay infused donut that was used as a bun for a Morse Block Deli lobster roll at Barre and seasonal concoctions such as tomato, herbs and cheese.

Location: Woodbury; weekend home deliveries in central Vermont; regular sales in cafes and stores listed on their website. Check out social media accounts for pop-ups at other restaurants, including Black Flannel Brewing in Essex and Von Trapp Farm Stand in Waitsfield.

More information: localdonutvt.com

April McCullum, Editor-in-Chief

Sweet Alchemy serves vegan donuts like this one sprinkled with strawberries on June 19, 2021.

Sweet Alchemy, Essex

A vegan donut – really ?! Yes really. Sweet Alchemy donuts were really good, by all accounts, in this journalist’s opinion. The strawberry sprinkled donut and the mini coconut chocolate chip bundts (which just might be a donut depending on the size and shape) were tasty and moist. The consistency was a bit denser than a traditional donut – similar to a cake donut.

The opportunity gave my preteen food allergy the chance to try a donut for the first time. He said they ranked among the best vegan sweets he had had.

Perhaps as good as the donut itself was the view while eating it. Next to the covered porch with plenty of tables was a tiered patio with picnic tables dotted among summer flowers, next to a garden. Fittingly, the cafe is set up in a long red barn, making it a very Vermonty outlet while still being in town.

A special function:

Vegan donuts (dairy and egg free), some gluten free and nut free options.

Location: Barns at Lang Farm, 45 Upper Main St., Essex

More information: sweetalchemyvt.com

April Barton, editor-in-chief

Hangry the Donut Bar donut at Burlington's Juneteenth Celebration on June 19, 2021.

Hangry the Donut Bar, St. Albans and surrounding area

Donut lovers between Burlington and St. Albans can ease their hungry and angry moods with Hangry the Donut Bar, a family-owned, home-based business launched in 2020 and recently featured at the inaugural June 17 celebration in Burlington.

“When we create our flavors, we try to move beyond ‘chocolate coated chips’ or ‘powdered sugar’,” write Erica and Ed McClain on their bakery website. The flavors of their airy and chewy donuts include glazed vanilla pods, mango frostings, maple bacon, lemon poppy seeds and strawberry chipotle.

A special function:

Moist donuts that take classic flavors up a notch.

Location: St. Albans area; deliveries are currently available to St. Albans, Swanton, Burlington and South Burlington, according to the website. Donuts are also sold by Nomad Coffee in Burlington and Essex Junction.

More information: hangrythedonutbar.company.site

April McCullum, Editor-in-Chief

Leunig's Little Jewel Donuts in Burlington, shown June 17, 2021.

Little Jewel of Leunig, Burlington

While not donuts, donuts, like many donuts, are fried dough coated with powdered sugar. Pretty close in my book, because my book says these fluffy, rectangular N’awlins cubes of joy are considerably more delicious than regular old donuts.

Go ahead, fight me.

I ordered four donuts for five dollars at Leunig’s Petit Bijou, the kiosk opposite the Church Street Marketplace at Leunig’s Bistro. I sat down at one of the sidewalk cafe tables and lifted the lid of the container, splashing sugar like snow flurries on the bricks below.

The birds hollowed it out. I swear they had an extra spring in their steps as they walked away from their sugary snack.

I enjoyed my snack as I watched the people stroll down Church Street. (Remember the people who watched? It was one thing before we all became hermits for 15 months.) The donuts soaked up in my mouth like a perfectly made croissant, light as a feather and completely worthless. , unless you value nutrition for your soul. What I do.

Yet as I took my last bite, I felt immediate regret. Why, oh why, did I only have four?

A special function:

These are donuts, not donuts. Similar idea, but the French name makes them more exotic. Plus, they taste like the clouds of the sky.

Location: Leunig’s Petit Bijou, Church Street Marketplace in College Street, Burlington

More information: leunigsbistro.com/petit-bijou-kiosque

Brent Hallenbeck, Editor-in-Chief

After:Annoyed by the move of Mirabelles? Maybe these Burlington pastries can fill the void

A vanilla donut from Boulangerie Madeleine in Milton.

Madeleine bakery, Milton

Located next to a hardware store, Boulangerie Madeleine invites DIY enthusiasts to take a little break before a day of household chores. The bakery run by Erika Brice offers fresh donuts (along with bagels and other sweets) five mornings a week at their Milton location, but you can also find them in dozens of markets and shops.

Fans of filled donuts will find options at Boulangerie Madeleine, as well as classic crullers and donuts – yeast or cake, glazed or powdered – that will leave your fingers sticky with sugar. On the day of my visit, an employee suggested the apple donut, which surprised me with just the right amount of fruit filling and would have gone well with a cup of black coffee on a weekend morning.

A special function:

Classic filled donuts, including apple donuts with apple pieces inside.

Location: 5 Southerberry Dr., Milton and in stores statewide

More information: madeleinesbakery.com

April McCullum, Editor-in-Chief

More donut ideas:


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