National Doughnut Day may have started out as a fundraiser for Chicago's Salvation Army during the Great Depression, however today the day — June 1 — has few such lofty aspirations, except to give doughnut lovers (count us in) one more reason to enjoy the ring-shaped, fried-dough confection.
Here are seven great shops to help you observe the day the best way possible: with delicious doughnuts to eat on the spot or take home to share with friends and family.
Some might argue that beignets, the New Orleans treats that are square, not round; flaky, not cakey; and don’t have holes, is a misnomer for a store that sells mostly doughnuts (though beignets are sold here too). Still, no one would argue that the confections at this downtown Denville shop are anything but delectable. If you arrive to find the display case empty, don’t panic: Beignets' doughnuts are custom-made. Wait a few minutes, and you'll be rewarded with piping hot doughnuts. All you have to do is choose which of six different glazes and a dozen or more toppings you'd like yours to sport. Or choose one of owner Helene Garneau’s favorites, named after her children and grandchildren, including Logan’s Oreo Explosion or Camryn’s Strawberry Fields. Each doughnut, no matter the number of toppings, costs $1.85.
Best-selling doughnut: Cinnabun
Crazy-topping doughnut: Captain Crunchberry
Doughnut-Day special: Free doughnut with any special coffee.
Hours of operation on National Doughnt Day: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Go: 45 Broadway, Denville; 862-209-1700, beignetsnj.com
We know many of our food-loving friends sneak into this national doughnut chain for coffee and a glazed doughnut most every morning. We won’t judge you if on Doughnut Day you sneak in too and take advantage of their special offer.
Coming soon: Dunkin’ Donuts is welcoming summer by cooking up two new specialty doughnut varieties that truly take the cake. The new Chocolate Cake Batter doughnut and Vanilla Cake Batter doughnut are available for a limited time beginning Monday, May 28. Select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants will also brighten donut fans’ days with the Sweet Summertime doughnut, a specialty donut featuring a sunshine design with blue icing, yellow icing drizzle and a Glazed Old Fashioned Munchkins donut hole treat placed in the center.
Dunkin’ is giving the doughnut case the ultimate summer celebration with new names and designs for classic varieties, including: Party On, Strawberry Spectacular, Boston Kreme Bash, Chocolate Madness and Confetti Craze.
Doughnut-Day special: One free classic donut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage.
Erie Coffeeshop & Bakery
Opened in Spring 2015 by pastry chef Renee Faris, this little bakery produces small-batch baked goods and freshly roasted coffee and espresso. As for doughnuts: on weekends only, Erie offers a classic cinnamon sugar doughnut plus a special doughnut. Some past customer favorites include orange pistachio sugar, strawberry sugar, Mexican hot chocolate (a spicy cinnamon chocolate), blueberry basil glaze, strawberry rhubarb rose, coquito doughnuts and salted butterscotch. They are $3 to $3.50 a piece. Erie also uses doughnuts as decoration for some of its custom cakes. A word of advice: get there early cause only a limited number of doughnuts are made and they sell out fast.
Best selling doughnuts: Classic cinnamon sugar
Crazy topping doughnut: The coquito donut
Doughnut-Day special: Specials on Friday, June 1 & Saturday, June 2.
Hours of operation on National Doughnut Day: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (doughnuts will be available after 10:30 a.m.
Go: 10 Franklin Place, Rutherford; 201-460-0073; eatdrinkerie.com
Fresh and Fancy Farms
Fresh & Fancy Farms is a small family-owned and -operated farm. The Low family's doughnuts are unabashedly traditional. The doughnuts are offered during the fall season only -- and, lucky you, on Doughnut Day.
Best selling doughnuts: apple cider doughnut covered in sugar and cinnamon
Doughnut-Day special: Free doughnut with a farm purchase
Hours of operation on National Doughnut Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Go: 575 River Road, New Milford; 201-483-9494; FreshandFancyFarms.com
Owner Jule Hazou opened Glaze Donuts in 2014 when he saw a need for quality homemade doughnuts in the area. Doughnut are made in small batches throughout the day using quality ingredients and no preservatives. Inventory changes often, so be sure to stop in for special items that aren't on the menu.
Best selling doughnuts: the original cannoli doughnut, maple bacon doughnut and the Oreo doughnut
Crazy topping doughnuts: rainbow cookie, fruity pebbles, and cannoli are among the fan favorites
Doughnut-Day special: one free plain glazed doughnut; no purchase necessary. Or make any purchase and receive three classic doughnuts free (customer choice, subject to availability).
Hours of operation on National Doughnut Day: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Go: 358 River Road, New Milford, 201-483-8634; 554 Passaic Ave., West Caldwell 973-227-0415 glazeartisan.com
Montclair Bread Co.
Owner Rachel Crampsey's doughnuts are the stuff of Montclair legend. Created from leftover brioche dough as a diversion on a slow Sunday in 2012, they have rapidly become the shop's, ahem, bread-and-butter. As many as 6,000 doughnuts roll out of the bakery's new retail store and production facility on Label Street every week, headed for bakeries throughout the state and even to donut-savvy New Yorkers shopping at farmer's markets in Manhattan. Montclair commuters on their way to and from the Walnut Street train station are greeted with a dizzying display of donuts daily. But resist getting too attached to a flavor: Crampsey likes to change things up and surprise customers with her whimsical confections, often tied to holiday and cultural themes -- like her April Fool's mystery doughnuts and Obi Wan Cannoli and Chewbacca doughnuts for Star Wars day on May 4th.
Want to know the secret to Crampsey's success? Sign up for a baking class at the store. But hurry; like her doughnuts, spaces in her classes disappear fast.
Best selling doughnuts: Nutella, Maple Bacon
Crazy-topping doughnut: 4/20 donuts (also called "Touchdown" and "PMS" donuts) are fully loaded with potato chips, pretzels, mini M & Ms, crumbled brownies, iced in chocolate glaze and drizzled with caramel and peanut butter.
Doughnut-Day special: Doughnut holes on sticks with every purchase. Plus, one $35 box of pre-assorted doughnuts will contain a "golden doughnut," entitling the winner to a free doughnut at the store every week for a year.
Hours of operation on National Doughnut Day: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Music on the patio in the evening, and every Friday evening during the summer.
Go: 6 Label St., Montclair; 973-509-2525 montclairbread.com.
Boxer Donut and Espresso Bar
All of the products at Boxer Donut and Espresso Bar are made in house, by hand, daily with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. The staff frequently experiments, trying new ideas and consequently the menu changes often.
Best selling doughnuts: Old-fashioned sour cream doughnut, maple bacon and salted caramel
Crazy topping doughnut: Boxer changes its special flavors weekly. For example, one special was Creme Brulee doughnut filled with vanilla custard and torched on top for a crunchy texture.
Hours of operation on National Donut Day: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Go: 18 N. Franklin St., Nyack; 845-353-5300; boxerdonut.com
All doughnuts are made to order and served warm. Customers can create their own combination from dozens of icing, topping and drizzle choices or choose one of the many special combinations. Want something a bit more, ahem, indulgent? The shop also offers sundaes on hot doughnuts and doughnut sandwiches - any combination of egg, cheese and meat (pork roll, sausage or bacon) with drizzled icing and crumbled bacon on top (the sandwiches can also be served on bagels or English muffins).
Best selling doughnuts: Maple Bacon Doughnut
Crazy topping donut: Pork roll, egg and cheese on a maple bacon donut.
Doughnut-Day special: One free doughnut (cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or plain doughnut). No purchase is necessary. Buy one, get one free coupon for next visit with any purchase.
Hours of operation on National Doughnut Day: 7 a.m to 5 p.m.
Go: Ventura Plaza, 1275 Route 35, Middletown; 732-671-3825 duckdonuts.com.
Other spots celebrating National Donut Day
This Morris County farm, founded in 1982, boasts more than 600 acres of permanently preserved farmland and offers Pick-Your-Own fruits and vegetables, plus locally made honey, homemade jam and more.
From June 1 to 3, you can try the Colossal Doughnut Sundae ($8): Three freshly baked apple cider doughnuts, stacked with homemade strawberry ice cream in between and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries.
Go: Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester; 908-528-8823, alstedefarms.com.
The Office Tavern Grill
The Office Tavern Grill, with locations in Ridgewood, Morristown and Summit, is offering a twist on a pub classic for its National Doughnut Day option.
For one day only on June 1, patrons can order the Buffalo Chicken Doughnut ($15 for two), a crispy chicken doughnut glazed with spicy buffalo sauce, blue cheese "icing" and celery "sprinkles."
Go: The Office Tavern Grill, 32-34 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood, 201-652-1070; 3 South Street, Morristown, 973-285-0220; 61 Union Place, Summit, 908-522-0550; officetaverngrill.com.