Donuts are one of those quintessentially American snack foods. While you can definitely find some incredible versions of these sweet, soft rings of deliciousness all over the country, it's New York City where the donut was truly born. Like any food, it's impossible to pinpoint exactly who first made a donut, but we do know that the first donut shop opened on Broadway in 1673. That's not the only connection that the Big Apple has to this iconic sweet treat, either. Donuts were given to new arrivals on Ellis Island in the '20s, around the same time that the first ever automated donut making machine was invented in Harlem. New York might be better known as the home of the bagel, but these sweet baked rings have their own history with the city. So it's not surprising that some of the best donuts in the country can be found on the island of Manhattan.
The Donut Pub
There are plenty of places that specialize in unique flavor combinations. But if you want to find the most authentic donuts in the city, head to The Donut Pub on West 14th (at 7th). Lit by neon and subway tiled, this bakery looks more like a diner than a coffee shop. It does have a few sandwich options on the menu too, but it's the wall of incredible donuts that has kept people coming here since 1964.
Absolute classics like the honey dip (aka traditional glazed), the Boston cream, and the cruller share shelf-space with less traditional options like s'mores, mint chocolate chip, and pumpkin spice. To top it all off, The Donut Pub is open twenty-four hours, so donut fiends can get their fix of iced perfection at any time of day. There's no fear of them running out of a personal favorite if you aren't there at the crack of dawn.
The Doughnut Project
For something a little less classic and a lot more experimental, head over to the West Village (Morton Street at 7th) and see what The Doughnut Project has been cooking up. This bakery has been around for the past six years and does a few classic flavors. However, they pride themselves on coming up with crazy combinations and seasonal flavors for their sweet treats.
A cream-cheese frosted doughnut inspired by the everything bagel? They've got it. Beet glazed and ricotta filled? Yup, that's there. Blueberry mint julep, PB&J, and even a Bone Marrow Chocolate option grace the menu at this funky little shop. Their flavors are constantly changing throughout the year. They stay open till they sell out each day, so get there early – or place an order the day before – if you want to be sure that you won't be disappointed.
The Last Bite
Whether you are looking for somewhere to get the classic New York donut experience, or you would rather find somewhere to get the craziest flavor combination possible (for that perfect Instagram post), New York is packed with bakeries to help you out. For those who want the joy of a great donut without the guilt? Try Dun-Well Doughnuts in the East Village for a great vegan option in flavors that change daily, and range from simple strawberry sprinkle to matcha to blueberry peanut butter.