I miss visiting donut shops. Something I took for granted even as things began to change here in New York City. Going to grab a sweet treat on a long walk didn’t seem like something that was about to vanish from my already changing routine and it’s something I miss greatly. As more and more of my local favorites shutter their doors for the foreseeable future, things are feeling a bit bleak. Yes, there are still places open for delivery and I’ve been doing my best to support places around the city, but I miss stopping by and saying hello. I miss the friendly faces and fresh aromas. So, on a gorgeous Saturday morning, I braved the outdoors and walked a few blocks to my long-time staple, Dun-Well Doughnuts.
Inside, their tables have been removed and the counter is now covered in plexiglass with a small opening for monetary transactions (I used Apple Pay to avoid all contact) and a larger one for the staff to handout the orders. With three markers designated for patrons to stand, the vibe inside was not cheery and welcoming like it had been in the past, but rather strict and anxious. The staff was obviously thrilled for customers and greeted me warmly, but it was clear everyone was trying to minimize all interactions (verbal included). I was excited to see my go-to spot, get some face time with their lovely selection, and order my usuals while the option still existed. Exotic flavors escaped the menu this weekend, but standards like Blueberry, Lemon Poppy, Maple, and French Toast still hit the spot! Options are slim and supplies are certainly limited, but if you’re in the neighborhood and adventurous enough to escape your apartment, Dun-Well’s doors are still open and their delectable vegan treats might somehow taste even better now than ever before.
It’s a tough time for New York and our food industry is taking a particularly hard hit through this crisis. My options are slim, but my passion prevails. Thank you for being open, Dun-Well. I’ll keep stopping by as long as you’re around and open for business.
It’s hard to argue that there are better classic donut shops in all of New York City than Peter Pan’s Donut & Pastry Shop in Greenpoint. The neighborhood landmark has been an institution long before the hipsters made their way north of Williamsburg and the iconic fixture has since become a touchstone for many and that which others will be measured against forever.
Last weekend, two friends dropped off a box of Peter Pan donuts on the front steps of my apartment building (truly the next level of friendship during a pandemic) and my roommate and I devoured them throughout the day. While all of these donuts were lovely, the red velvet holds a special place in my heart (as I’ve previously mentioned) and during a pandemic, it seemed to taste even better than I remembered. The white cardboard box was neatly tied-up with a red string, but otherwise it was plain as could be, not a single piece of branding to be seen. Their old school aesthetics carry-on beyond their shabby interior (brilliant mint greens and other pastels giving it a retro-diner charm) and their simple donuts let their taste do all the talking. No need to dazzle with looks here, these simple, glazed treats are rich in taste and perfectly sweet (best cut with a strong black coffee). The cake donuts are soft and chewy and the yeast was light, fluffy, and just a tab bit sticky. While many other shops have popped up over the years, Peter Pan’s has never felt the need to try and fit in with these chic new stores. Look to their website for further proof that they’re in no way interested in the latest trends, but rather stick to the classics they’ve been creating for decades. In a neighborhood (and city) where changes are a part of every day life, there is a solace in the everlasting glory of this crown jewel.
As Jason and I have said over the past few weeks, local businesses need our support more than ever and donut shops are no exclusion. While many of our favorites have had to stop operations for the time being, a few spots in the city are still open for business.
Moe’s Doughs, located in Greenpoint, is known by many for their rivalry with neighborhood legend Peter Pan, but their tasty creations are well worth a visit and since many others have struggled to stay open, it felt exciting to support a business that is not part of my usual rotation. I went big for my order and got six specialty donuts delivered to my apartment. Samoa, Salted Caramel, Rainbow Cake, Snickers, Caramel Cheesecake, and Maple Bacon rounded out the order and each was more delectable than the last. Moe’s is a classic-style donut shop with light, fluffy yeast donuts that are perfectly fried and seriously sweet cake donuts that are dense to the core. There are traditional charms here much like Peter Pan and Donut Pub, but Moe’s takes the extravagance up a notch (and the sugar levels as well) making these truly dessert donuts and not so much a breakfast pastry. The Samoa tasted like a perfect replica of the Girl Scout cookie with flakes of coconut hitting the spot, the Salted Caramel exceptionally gooey, and the crispy crunch of the Maple Bacon brought splendid texture to the mix. Every one was wonderfully fresh, sticky, and a much needed sweet relief during such chaotic times.