New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles fans have more than their team’s Super Bowl appearance to look forward to in Minneapolis. The City of Flour is home to several calorie-worthy donut shops for them to discover.
Even though Dunkin’ Donuts are as prevalent in the Northeast as record snowfalls, Boston and Philadelphia are home to many independent donut destinations like Union Square Donuts and Federal Donuts.
Before moving here last year, Minneapolis was on my list of places to visit for its acclaimed donut shops. I owned a donut shop and am always on the lookout for an honest donut, meaning made-from-scratch. It seems bakers from the Twin Cities are regulars on “best of” lists and food television competitions. I’ve had many donuts from many states, from Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Oregon to the Holy Donut in Portland, Maine.
Now I hope to help you decide which ones to target during your trip to Super Bowl LII.
Your first search for donuts will turn up Glam Doll Donuts. This shop has two locations, one in the area of the city known as Eat Street. This stretch of diverse restaurants runs a couple miles south of US Bank Stadium on Nicollet Avenue.
Glam Doll Donuts goes all out to be the pin-up donut shop of your dreams. It’s very pink, quite pretty, and seriously flirty. Fan favorites include the Pinup Girl, a bourbon-infused apple fritter, the Showgirl, a caramelized bacon maple bar, and the Femme Fatale, a fresh raspberry curd-filled donut.
Glam Doll has a few vegan options in addition to beer pairings to go with their sweet creations. And if beer is your drink of choice, please take note that Minnesota is one of the few low-point states in the country. Only low-alcohol beer is sold in grocery stores.
When I walk into a donut shop, I want to be hit with the alluring aroma of fried dough and powdered sugar. I want brightly-lit cases of love. I want evidence the bakers making the goods take their time creating delicious little bundles of sweet dough for their customers.
That’s exactly what you’ll find when you walk into the cloud-like Angel Food Bakery. The ethereal atmosphere pairs well with its delicate donuts. You’ll find gossamer chandeliers, glass cake plates, and an ornate antique white ceiling sheltering a wide range of donuts from a glazed yeast to complex flavor combinations.
Angel Food’s specialties include a variety of crullers like vanilla-glazed, Rosemary’s baby, Mexican chocolate, and strawberry rose flavors. Patrons can also order custom message donuts, like a baker’s dozen in the shape of capital letters that spell out HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Or how about, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS?
Bogart’s Doughnut Co. is a short drive south of the stadium in a shiny white shoebox of a building, but they also sell donuts from a kiosk in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court downtown. Bogart’s uses a brioche-based dough that produces rich raised donuts. You won’t find crazy flavor combinations or over-the-top toppings in this small bakery case. You will find eight basic donuts done right.
The raised glazed and brown butter-glazed doughnuts are remarkable, but the one that keeps me going back is the chocolate cake donut made with dark Valhrona cocoa powder, finished with vanilla bean glaze. Wow.
Cardigan Donuts is downtown next to Nicollet Mall which will feature Super Bowl LIVE. Free concerts run all week along with other football fan attractions. Cardigan Donuts can be a challenge to find your first time, but your effort will be rewarded. Instead of making shoppers walk from business to business outside, on the sidewalk, in the cold, they can walk inside.
The Minneapolis Skyway System is a maze of nearly 10 miles of interior hallway sidewalks connecting 80 city blocks. Unlike an open interior, akin to a mall, these are wide hallways running through the center of blocks of buildings. It’s quite bizarre, to me, a Minneapolis foreigner.
Cardigan leans toward the exotic, while doing basic very well. They have one of the best raised glazed ring donuts I’ve had and a fantastic vanilla caramel coconut bar. They also make their own Greek yogurt for a variety of unique oatmeal bowls to help bring balance to your breakfast.
These downtown donut shops are easy to get to even if you don’t rent a car during your stay. Though not as extensive as the public rail systems in Boston and Philly, the Mini Apple has a light rail that takes travelers from the airport straight downtown to US Bank Stadium, as well as the Mall of America.
YoYo Donuts is a secret-family-recipe kinda place that concentrates on the fun side of donut flavors. To visit them in Minnetonka, about 15 miles west of US Bank Stadium, you may need a car. Whether you want an Uber or just directions, you won’t deplete your cellphone data plan thanks to the 117 public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city. Register once and you’ll be hooked up your entire stay.
YoYo Donuts is the only nut-free bakery on this list. If the entire family is in tow, this is the donut shop for you. They cover the basics, while catering to the kid in every donut lover with cinnamon twists and chocolate zebras.
You can plan a stop at YoYo on your way to Paisley Park, Prince’s former residence, about 20 miles southwest of downtown, in Chanhassen. Prince fans who don’t have the time to make the trek can opt instead to visit live music venue First Avenue, the downtown club featured in the movie Purple Rain. First Avenue has a special late-night party on the calendar after the big game, maybe an opportunity for some celebrity sightings.
Mojo Monkey Donuts offers a bit of everything in its Saint Paul shop. Their donuts are denser than the others with exotic fruits, all types of nuts, and loads of candy toppings. On weekends, they’ll even fry up a batch of authentic beignets to order.
Neighborhood bakeries, A Baker’s Wife in Standish, and Sarah Jane’s in Audubon Park, have been recognized for their scratch donuts as well as their outstanding bakery staples. These bakeries are located just south and north of the downtown area, respectively.
A Baker’s Wife is a no-frills, cash-only establishment run by a former big city pastry chef. Their state fair cake donut is a regular favorite, but their most raved-about pastry is the American tea cake. I would describe it as a dense open-face cronut with layers of buttery sweet dough, alternatingly soft and crunchy. Check out their reviews online to read how it’s affected customers.
Sarah Jane’s Bakery’s donuts make me think of the donuts my grandmother would have made, if she had made donuts. Old school. Vintage. Classic. The powdered cake and crunch donut hole are simply perfect. I plan to return to try their wide range of breads and pastries.
Whether you’re in Minneapolis to support the Eagles or the Patriots, or to catch a glimpse of JT at halftime, don’t miss the opportunity to try these Minnesota originals.