Los Angeles, arguably the donut capital of the United States, is home to many of the most celebrated 24 hour donut shops in the country. Inherently tied to its car culture, the often iconic signs of these shops and drive-ins are frequently located directly off busy freeways and commuter routes, standing as a testament to this ever-moving and donut-loving city. With this in mind, For Your Art is proud to present a special event, Around the Clock: 24 Hour Donut City. For this event, food writer Krista Simmons picked some of her favorite donut spots and created a 24 hour donut tour of LA!
12:00pm-2:00pm, March 24th: Strawberry Donut at The Donut Man: The city goes wild for what The Donut Man is slinging, and so do we. Jim Nakano, 71, and his wife Miyoko has been running his shop along Route 66 for nearly 4 decades. Jim avoids using any artificial colors and flavors, highlighting the luscious berries with dough that’s made with potato flower. There are peach donuts and pumpkin donuts, sure, but the real prize here is during strawberry season. Unfortunately, that coincides with the start of bikini season. But these are so worth it.
2:00pm-4:00pm, March 24th: Tres Leches Donut at UMAMIcatessen: Adam Fleishman, famous for his Umami Burger restaurants, just opened UMAMIcatessen, in the Historic Broadway area of Downtown L.A. The modern dining hall features five establishments in one, and although pig is the main focus of the menus, the donuts are actually one of the top dishes. The Tres Leches Donut is fried to order and would make a delightful dessert or breakfast.
4:00pm-6:00pm, March 24th: Glazed Coconut Donut at The Donut Hole: This drive-thru donut shop is another L.A. County landmark. The mission out to La Puente is worth the wait not only because you’ll get cute shots of the kitschy architecture to show off to your friends on Facebook, but they’re selling some decent fried dough too. Just do take the photos before ordering, because you’re bound to be covered in glaze after noshing on these things. Lap mats, anyone?
6:00pm-8:00pm, March 24th: Plain Donut at Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts: This Farmer’s Market stall isn’t flashy by any means, but it’s a staple on the Angeleno donut circuit. Go for the apple fritter or the classic cake donut and you won’t be disappointed. Also impressive: the high quality people watching. God bless L.A.
8:00pm-10:00pm, March 24th: Classic Glazed at Daily Donut: If it’s one of those days where you simply must mainline some indulgent fried dough and sugar, the Daily Donut is your fix. There’s nothing fussy about their glazed version, just some lovely, light dough and a lacquer of glaze that crackles with each bite—and at a decent price, no less. It’s nothing fancy, sure, but that’s not why you’re here.
10:00pm-12:00am, March 24th: Blueberry Cake Donut at SK’s Donuts & Croissant: This Koreatown walk-up shop is cash only, but the fact that it’s open 24 hours totally makes up for it. They’ve got some really fun flavors, like maple bacon, but the best is the blueberry cake donut. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
12:00am-2:00am, March 25th: Apple Fritter at Randy’s Donuts: Perhaps more of a homing beacon than the LAX air traffic control that it’s next to, Randy’s giant donut in the sky is an iconic LA institution. The building was designed by Henry J. Goodwin in 1953, and has been used in countless films since then. But it’s not just Hollywood fluff—the donuts are actually quite good. Try the French Kruller or the Apple Fritter.
2:00am-4:00am, March 25th: Glazed Donut at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: Yes, it’s a chain. But if you told me you don’t like Krispy Kreme’s melt-in-your-mouth glazed donuts, you’d be a bold-faced liar. Try to just eat one, I dare you.
4:00am-6:00am, March 25th: Sprinkles Donut at Blinkie’s Donut Emporium: This Woodland Hills shop has a soft spot in my heart. After long Saturday morning swim practices, the moms would bring us pink boxes full of an assortment of glazes, bear claws and a rainbow of sprinkles and frosting, making the fact that we had to get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday almost tolerable.
6:00am-8:00am, March 25th: Strawberry Buttermilk Donut at Fonuts: Waylynn Lucas knows pastry. She did, after all, work at the Bazaar when it received its four stars from the LA Times. She set out on her own venture last year, opening up an alternative donut shop that offers some interesting vegan and gluten-free options. Our favorite, of course, isn’t one of the healthy ones. But it does remind us of our favorite scratch and sniff Strawberry Shortcake book from childhood!
8:00am-10:00am, March 25th: Bacon Maple Donut from Nickel Diner: Bacon + donut. Need we say more? Quite frankly, we’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t think of it first. This is likely one of our favorite confections, donut or not, in the city. There are some other great items on Monica May’s pastry list as well, like her hand made Pop Tarts or the Red Velvet Donut, but this one takes the (fried) cake.
10:00am-12:00pm, March 25th: Chocolate Custard Puff at Stan’s Doughnuts: Stan Berman opened his first shop in Westwood Village in 1965, and college students have been flocking there for his filled confections ever since. It’s a good thing the shop is open until midnight, because these eclair-esque custard puffs are seriously crave-worthy. Yes, there are peanut butter donuts and pretzel donuts, but keep it traditional and go with the custard or jelly-filled. But when you’ve got a good thing, stick with it.