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Donut or Doughnut? I mean, what really is in a name? That which we call a donut by any other name would still taste as sweet, right? Shakespeare aside, it’s not the spelling that makes this fried confection a nostalgic favorite, but what does exactly? We undoubtedly have our pick of delicious donuts scattered about our food-centric town, so we took it upon ourselves to find the absolute best. I mean, someone had to do it, right? We compiled a list of a baker’s dozen of our favorite places; ranging from the most buzzed about, to childhood classics, to places a little more under the radar. It took a panel of eleven very willing, and very hungry experts to whittle those thirteen spots down to the top five- and we have them here for you!

Our Contenders:

Each contender competed in two categories: classic glazed and specialty (specialty being whatever the donut maker regarded as their most popular non-traditional pick, or the most buzzed about amongst the public). The donuts were blindly and randomly tasted, then rated on three different criteria. The taste testers rated on a 1-10 scale for Flavor, 1-10 scale for Texture, and 1-5 scale on Appearance. It goes without saying, that all of the results were completely subjective. Some like their donuts airy, some like them dense; and where some prefer a heavier glaze, others may not. However, here are the combined results of our #donutdebatehtx!

Glazed

  • Christy’s Donuts: Christy’s is a family operated shop in Montrose. Many can’t remember a time that this donut gem wasn’t there, and have grown up eating their delectable donuts! Christy’s scored the highest of the shops in the glazed category, with an average total of 18.45 points. They had just the right amount of fluff to chewy ratio for me, with a nice, flaky glaze that we all know and love!
  • The Grove Donutz: Many will argue that the Grove is not technically in Houston. However, the Richmond-based shop just launched their food truck which operates throughout the city, lucky us! For a place that specializes in fun, unique flavors (take their creme brulee or even pizza donut for example), they sure hit it out of the park with their glazed number! Perfectly crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with just the right amount of chew. They scored an average total of 17.82.
  • Shipley’s Donuts: Oh, Shipley’s. How we love you so. This classic beacon of happiness and nostalgia shines brightly in many native Houstonian childhoods- mine included! Though a blind tasting, I had a feeling Shipley’s would work it’s way up to the top of our roster. Maybe it was their classic yeasty dough, the iconic flaky glaze, or the undeniable golden sheen. Whatever it was, it earned them an average total of 16.64.
  • Queen Donut Shop: This Heights neighborhood gem tied for third place and touted a unique candidate in the glazed category. Their classic glazed was paler than the rest, distinguishing it from their more golden competition. They sported a heavier glaze, which isn’t my personal favorite, but would go great with a cup of black coffee for sure. Their average total was also 16.64.
  • Lee’s Fried Chicken and Donuts: This newcomer of the bunch packed a punch with their golden ring of fried deliciousness. I’m definitely a sucker for that deep, warm color on my donuts. They had a thin layer of glaze which I appreciated, and the panel obviously did too! They raked in an average total of 15.73!

Shoutout to my personal honorable mention, Glazed and Bakery Donuts, as well!

Specialty

  • The Grove Donutz: The Grove specialty pick was undoubtedly the star of the debate. Flaky layers of buttery croissant with a cheesecake filling, and strawberry glaze. I’m not above admitting that my mouth is watering just thinking about that epic strawberry cheesecake cronut. It’s no wonder that it’s recommended that you call in advance to reserve one of these works of art. They scored an almost perfect 25 points with an average total of 23.27!
  • Le Donut: I’m a huge fan of a good cake donut, so when I saw this blueberry cake number, I was smitten. It had that perfect denseness and moistness that a good cake donut should have. Now, add to that a nice glaze and seasonal blueberries. Good riddance! They scored an average total of 17.82.
  • Hugs and Donuts: This shop always sports a crowd, and after trying their blueberry/lemon number, I know why! It was a fun spin on a classic cake donut. Theirs was on the denser side, but no complaints here! That’s the tell-tale sign of a good cake donut in my opinion, and it seems the panel agreed. H&D received an average total of 16.36.
  • Glazed the Doughnut Cafe: This Medical Center staple brought it all to the table with their zebra number. Their specialty was striped with chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter atop a classic white icing. Personally, it was a little too much for me, but still, a crowd favorite. They also scored an average of 16.36.
  • Queen Donut Shop: The Queen strikes again, and this time, it’s with my all time favorite of the donut kingdom: a solid chocolate iced. It’s safe to say; I think I found my favorite of the sort that day. This chocolate number was a no fuss, honest to good classic, and I can’t wait to go back for more! They scored an average total of 16.18.

Honorable mention for the specialty pick has to go to The Grove Donutz. Yes, they placed first with their Strawberry Cheesecake Cronut, but they knock it out of the park with every one of their creative treats. Their donuts are always as beautiful as they are delicious, take their Banana Pudding number for starters!

Someone very wise once said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” And we most certainly did. For science, of course. As I mentioned before, Houston has no shortage of delectable donut destinations; these were merely the tip of the iceberg. If you didn’t see your favorite here, let us know, and we’ll just have to do a little more research…for science.

Isabel Protomartir

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