Rundown on the best donut shops in our county
Donuts are the staple piece for Sunday mornings, classroom parties, and anytime you need to curb a sweet tooth. We have close to 20 donut shops in SLO County, but we decided to put the best of the best to the test. The Taste Buds visited Twisted and Glazed, Slo Do Co, Dolly’s Donuts, and Sunshine Donuts to see what they all had to offer. We compared the taste of the donuts, the affordability, atmosphere, and service on a one to five scale to see which shop came out on top.
Dolly’s Donuts is a frequent stop for high schoolers in order to start their morning off right. It is in close proximity to school (.7 miles away to be exact), has reliable donut quality, and quick service, which all make it an ideal location to fulfill your donut cravings. The inside is small, but has plenty of seating to accommodate customers during busier hours. The staff is always very kind, but being a small business, it can become flooded during busy mornings.
Dolly’s Donuts might not have the widest range of donuts, but they cover the classics quite well. We tasted a cinnamon twist, classic glazed, and a chocolate glazed. These may seem like the bare essentials, but the quality overcompensates for the predictability. All of these were fluffy and were a sizeable portion, but they went without an overpowering sweetness. If you are someone who cannot get through the morning without a tad of sweetness, Dolly’s is a good way to get your fix without starting your day on a sugar high. Dolly’s proved itself to be the most reliable, with a range that will please a diverse group of donut enthusiasts and first time customers alike.
Slo Do Co is filled with Cal Poly students seeking solace from their work and projects through the comfort of donuts. When we visited, their popularity was evident as the line snaked out the door. Fresh donuts were being placed on display continuously, as the friendly workers helped customer after customer. Customer service was obviously something that Slo Do Co puts a focus on, even going as far as having a wall designating to storing the mugs of their dedicated customers. When visiting for the first time the amount of options may be a little overwhelming: gluten free donuts, unique types, and the classic styles are all available.
The wacky toppings are reminiscent of the stylings of the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, making it almost a necessity to snap a pic before taking your first bite. We went for three picture perfect donuts: fruit loop, circus animal, and the galaxy donut. The donuts all had a distinct fluffiness that was a shining quality among all the donuts we tasted. The toppings, such as the animal cookies and the fruit loops, made unique textures that contradicted the softness of the donut. All of the donuts tasted very sweet, so those who prefer a subtle taste might be a little turned off by the intensity of the sugar. If you are under that category, you will want to steer towards the more original options rather that the types that have toppings that pack double the amount of sugar.
Sunshine Donuts was completely empty when we entered; we stood at the counter for a few moments before a small, peppy woman popped out from the back room. The inside of the shop looked like a classic donut place with a few round tables, a counter with cushioned stools, and a couple of prize machines tucked away in the corner. The woman told us that we should come back at night sometime, because the 24 hour shop was always more fun when people came by for their midnight snack.
We were presented with the least amount of donuts to pick from compared to the rest of the shops; however, the range of donuts was a happy medium. A majority of donuts were comprised of classic styles such as chocolate, glazed, maple bars, but were accompanied by a few more unconventional types. We tested a classic cake donut, a double chocolate, and a maple bacon donut. The taste was not as mind blowing as some of the options we had at other shops, but would be good for either a quick grab and go stop or a good place to go with a group of friends.
Twisted and Glazed has set up shop on Spring Street only recently, but has already captured the hearts (and sweet tooths) of many satisfied customers. The small inside of the shop is decked out with cute, artsy decorations. A wide counter displays all the equally decked out donuts, as well as broadcasting the availability of sandwiches, salads, and assorted breakfast foods. The decorations looked straight out of a magazine, with unique donuts to match.
A high demand for the decorated donuts can leave you with less options depending on the time of day you come. If you beat the donut rush there will be a wider range of specialty donuts, but it is a first come first serve basis. We tested a lemon meringue, mint oreo, and fruity pebble topped donut. Similarly to Slo Do Co, the toppings added a new and unusual texture to the donuts. However unlike Slo Do Co the donuts lacked the same sweetness. Depending on your preference this could either make it the top contender or push its rank below its predecessor. These donuts stood out as being a very well-crafted, delicious option.