In the last two years Knoxville, Tennessee has become home to multiple gourmet donut shops serving up hot fried dough covered with unique icing and toppings. Each shop offers a unique batter, donut type, and toppings list. Here is a rundown of what you need to know about each shop before choosing where to buy your next dozen donuts:
- Makers Donuts
Started by Sean and Sara Alsobrooks, Makers Donuts occupies a cozy brick building adjacent to Remedy Coffee on Tyson Street in the Old City District. At almost any point during opening hours, a line snakes around the counter and outside the door. The donuts are all hand fried, iced, and topped in-house. The flavor line up varies week to week with a few staples regularly making an appearance like chocolate ganache with sea salt, churro, vanilla, and blueberry bourbon. Seasonal and locally sourced ingredient themed flavors also appear on the menu such as Cruze Dairy Farm’s berries and cream, key lime pie, and pumpkin spice. The weekly flavor line up can be found on the Makers Donuts’ social media accounts or weekly email subscription. Makers is open from 7 am to midnight Friday and Saturday and Thursday and Sunday from 7 am to 1 pm.
The verdict: My personal favorite, Makers’ warm donuts offer the perfect crunch on the outside while staying fluffy and light on the inside. The donuts alone are delicious, but the toppings and flavor combinations make this shop a big hit. The flavors are well developed, intense, and not too sweet. The staff always treats you like family and works hard to keep the donut line up new and exciting, while maintaining top quality. Plenty of parking and a great coffee shop next door serve as an added bonus. My favorite part – I get to support local economy while eating a unique donut flavor you often cannot find anywhere else. Run, don’t walk, when the blueberry bourbon and key lime pie donuts are on the menu.
2. Duck Donuts
Duck Donut shops can be found all over the Eastern side of the United States and established itself in Knoxville just a few months ago on Kingston Pike. The chain focuses on customizable donuts that allow customers to mix and match icing flavors wth toppings and drizzles. Warm donuts are iced on site in front of the customers to ensure total satisfaction and quality. The thick cake donuts can be topped with almost anything you can think of from shredded coconut to bacon. The shop has been overwhelmed with customers since its opening and varies in hours each day. Monday the shop is open from 6 am – 3pm, Tuesday through Thursday 6 am – 7pm, Friday and Saturday 6 am – 8 pm, and Sunday 8 am – 8 pm.
The verdict: Warm Duck Donuts customized to your liking are the ultimate sweet treat, but they are very rich and can only be eaten in small portions. The customizable aspect makes the process fun and more personal. However, it also requires patience as the customizable donuts take longer to prepare. The first experience can be a little chaotic as the small shop packs in plenty of customers, and the options can take a little while to sort through. Overall, this is a great place to take younger kids and a perfect dessert treat for after dinner.
3. Status Dough
Status Dough is the newest player to the game, recently opening its doors less than a month ago on Kingston Pike. The donut shop offers a variety of treats like cake and old fashioned donuts, apple fritters, and cinnamon buns. The massive donuts offer unique batter mix-ins and rich toppings. Espresso beverages are also available and hand made on site. The store currently holds hours from 8 am – 4 pm each day, but often sell out of donuts before the posted closing time.
The verdict: The donuts are the biggest bang for your buck since one is almost too much to eat. The strawberry batter donut is always a commendable menu move in my book, however this one was particularly sweet for my taste. I found the donuts too dry and my least favorite of the three unique shops. Although, I liked how different types of donuts were offered providing something for everyone, even gluten free!