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Tasty treats across cultures.

“We have locals, tourists—people from every part of the world,” he observes. “Every culture has their version of a doughnut. We like to offer something for everyone to remind them of home.”

For the undecided or uncommitted, Feldman also offers a range of dipping sauces—raspberry balsamic or beer caramel, to name a few—as an alternative to doughnuts with glazes or fillings. “The sauces complement our concept of mini-doughnuts,” he says. “You can try more flavors and dipping combinations that way.”

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Sweet and Tart 

At Sublime Doughnuts, Grant introduced the salt and vinegar doughnut, a clever play on potato chip vernacular. He describes it as a salted caramel doughnut with balsamic reduction icing, explaining that that the icing’s “sweet tart” acidity is the perfect foil to the salty caramel.

Grant’s top seller, however, is one he created that helped launch his business upon opening a few years ago: the strawberries and cream doughnut. “People just love jelly doughnuts,” he says. “So I thought, why not take fresh strawberries and put those inside along with fresh cream for a new take on the classic?”

Inspiration struck again when Grant developed his Southern riff on a doughnut ice cream sandwich. He went full throttle, he says, whipping up house-made maple bacon ice cream and pairing it with caramelized bananas, then placing the cool, sweet and salty concoction between two doughnuts. “The coup is peanut butter icing,” he reveals.

The Early Bird

While serving as pastry chef at San Francisco’s venerable Liberty Cafe, Sara Spearin noticed that the city lacked an essential culinary element: a go-to spot for homemade doughnuts and specialty coffee. She filled that void in 2008 with the opening of Dynamo Donuts. From the outset, Spearin offered a take-no-prisoners approach to doughnuts, sustainable local ingredients—organic whenever possible—and a flavor profile that was as adventurous as it was auspicious.

The unofficial queen of the West Coast’s doughnut reawakening says it wasn’t by accident.

“I wanted a bakery that felt familiar, homey, with wholesome yet elevated doughnuts,” she recalls. To fit these criteria, she built a business on doughnuts that mirrored classic dessert combinations, including lemon thyme, cornmeal raspberry cherry with buttermilk glaze, and the strudel-topped quince cinnamon crumb.

San Francisco responded—so much so that Spearin recently opened her second location in Marina Green, not far from Fisherman’s Wharf. She continues to be a trailblazer, with her latest creations including innovative combinations like the banana de leche, the Monte Cristo (filled with ham, Gruyere cheese and homemade jam) and the molasses doughnut with Guinness beer-soaked pears, golden raisins and Guinness glaze.

Spearin feels there’s a fine explanation for why the doughnut revival is trending on the culinary scene today—why she and her colleagues across the nation are successful: “For Americans, a doughnut and coffee is a time-honored morning ritual—it just tastes good.”

A Sweet Treat

Weekends in Miami are even sweeter with Sweetness Bake Shop and Café’s rotation of decadent doughnuts available Friday through Sunday. Yeast-raised doughnuts are bursting with seasonal flavors that are offered in limited edition batches. Innovative combinations that include flan, cake batter and maple bacon (available every Sunday) sweeten up the ever-changing menu at one of Miami’s highest-rated doughnut and cupcake shops. From the campfire doughnut—which is reminiscent of a s’more, dipped in chocolate glaze, graham cracker crumbs and a torched mini marshmallow—to the “guayaberra” doughnut filled with guava marmalade and topped with cream cheese glaze, the family-owned shop uses the finest ingredients along with a passion for bakingto craft the delectable treats from scratch. (305-271-7791; sweetnessbakeshop.net)