9 spots to pick up fried dough delights in Madison

Doughnuts are the breakfast loophole that allow us to eat dessert first.
Person holds a stack of fried sugar donuts
Courtesy of Bloom Bake Shop
Bloom Bake Shop's sweet potato doughnuts

It may not be the healthiest option for the most important meal of the day, but there’s something about a doughnut glazed with frosting and washed down with a hot cup of coffee that helps you start the day with a smile. Maybe it’s because doughnuts usually show up when there’s something to celebrate. Here are a few spots that put their own spin on this iconic pastry. Keep them in mind the next time you want to treat yourself or bring in a dozen to share with coworkers.

Bassett Street Brunch Club

Several different types of donuts laid out on a tissue paper with Bassett Street Brunch Club logo

Bassett Street Brunch Club (Photo courtesy of Food Fight Restaurant Group / Chris Hynes Photography)

On most weekends, you’ll have to wait to get a table at Bassett Street Brunch Club, but the brunch spot always has a case full of tempting doughnut options near the bar. Over the years, the restaurant has put in a lot of effort to perfect a consistently good doughnut. Two of the most popular flavors are lemon poppyseed and vanilla Oreo. Other customer favorites include maple bacon, chocolate hazelnut and the classic sprinkle. Offerings frequently change, but from time to time you’ll occasionally see specialties like Sriracha and piña colada flavors. Brunch Club’s doughnuts go fast, so get there early. Brunch Club offers chicken and a doughnut — fried chicken atop a glazed doughnut drizzled with honey and Sriracha-sour cream sauce — as an appetizer for those seeking a savory twist on the sweet treat. 444 W. Johnson St., 608-467-5051, brunchclubmadison.com

Bloom Bake Shop
If you develop a hankering for doughnuts while walking Monroe Street, a stop at Bloom Bake Shop is a must. The traditional cake-style doughnuts, along with the bakery’s other homemade pastries, are made fresh daily from scratch. All Bloom doughnuts are baked rather than fried. The shop is best known for its sweet potato doughnut, which is pillowy and sugar-coated. In addition to the traditional offerings, Bloom has vegan and gluten-free selections daily. There’s also a wide variety of coffee and tea options, including cold brew and drip coffee, to accompany your circular sweet treat. Editor’s note: We highly encourage doughnut-in-coffee double dipping. 1851 Monroe St., 608-628-2249, bloombakeshop.com

Fosdal Home Bakery
Fosdal Home Bakery first opened in 1939 in Stoughton and has created a full lineup of classic sweets. Almost any traditional doughnut can be ordered on any given day: glazed, sprinkled, iced, jelly- or cream-filled, long, circular, fruity, chocolatey — the list goes on. All the sweets are made fresh every day at the bakery. Fosdal’s most popular doughnut is a three-way tie between the chocolate Bismarck with buttercream filling, the chocolate doughnut with chocolate icing, and the nutty cinnamon roll. Fosdal is also known for its kringle, which is Wisconsin’s official pastry (and kind of looks like a giant doughnut, if you think about it). The bakery delivers doughnuts and other fresh-baked goods in Madison and the surrounding communities. In 2014, Fosdal’s was named Bakery Operation of the Year by the Wisconsin Bakers Association. The owners say they’re trying to make life sweeter. 243 E. Main St., Stoughton, 608-873-3073, fosdalhomebakery.net

Greenbush Bakery

Stack of frosted and sprinkled donuts against blue background

Greenbush Bakery (Photo by Nikki Hansen)

On any given day, Greenbush Bakery makes between 40 and 70 different types of doughnuts, so you’ll never lack choices. At both the Regent Street and east-side locations, bakers use a high-oleic, trans-fat-free shortening to avoid creating super greasy doughnuts, and with 26 years in the business, it’s probably safe to say they’ve perfected the craft. The business has stayed in the family for three generations, starting with Marv (“The Donut Man”) and Barb Miller. Greenbush is also the only kosher-certified bakery in the area, which means all of its doughnuts are kosher. The regular and blueberry sour cream Old-Fashioned doughnuts are the two most popular varieties, with Oreo-filled doughnuts — a buttercream-filled doughnut with either chocolate or white frosting topped with crushed cookies — following closely behind. While doughnuts are the star at Greenbush, the apple fritters, which are nearly the size of your head, are also a quintessential Madison treat. 1402 Regent St. 608-257-1151; 5225 High Crossing Blvd., 608-416-5544, greenbushbakery.com

Level 5 Donuts

Donut cut in half and laid slightly apart on a woodblock background

Photo courtesy of Level 5 Donuts

What started as a food truck in Washington state is now a well-known name in Madison. Level 5 Donuts specializes in vegan varieties. Owners and passionate bakers Caitlin Rockey and Aaron Mooney want to show people that they can enjoy their favorite treats while showing compassion toward animals and protecting the environment. Each week features a different seasonal selection (plus a classic lineup of plain, vanilla, glazed and dark chocolate), including flavors like Key lime pie, strawberry rhubarb crisp, lemon lavender and mango con chili. While the flavors pack a punch, the dough isn’t super sweet. (Which might tempt you to eat a second … or third.) Level 5 doesn’t have a physical location in Madison, but Rockey and Mooney are looking for a future brick-and-mortar storefront. Right now, people can order doughnuts online or find the treats around town, including at Ledger Coffee Roasters at Garver Feed Mill. level5donuts.com

Lane’s Bakery & Coffee
You’ll see a big, red-lettered sign for Lane’s Bakery on Park Street, and once you walk through the doors, you’ll find a wide selection of doughnuts in addition to other pastries. Lane’s has been a Madison bakery staple since 1954. The owners describe it as a “typical mom-and-pop bakery” with baked goods made fresh daily. You can choose from nearly two dozen varieties, including traditional cake doughnuts that can be ordered plain or glazed. The glazed doughnuts can come with toppings like peanuts or coconut. Other options include double chocolate and white with sprinkles. Lane’s is also one of the few spots in Madison with cronuts — a cross between a doughnut and croissant. Another popular selection is the Persian, a cinnamon roll with peanuts. If you want a pączki, you should know that Lane’s is one of only a handful of local places that create the filled Polish doughnut for Fat Tuesday every year. 2304 S. Park St., 608-251-0532, lanesbakerymadison.com

3 More Fried Dough Desserts

Person dips churro into sweetened condensed milk over a red basket of churros.

Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace (Photo courtesy of Food Fight Restaurant Group / CC Jacob)

D’Vino’s menu features a ricotta zeppole, an Italian spin on a doughnut. Owner Dino Maniaci put a modern twist on his uncle Eddie’s version, which was served at the Towne Hotel in Milwaukee in the 1970s. The light and airy dough incorporates ricotta cheese into the batter, then adds apricots and mini chocolate chips — similar to the ingredients used in cannoli. Zeppole are served with a raspberry coulis, which pairs well with an after-dinner espresso or cocktail. 116 King St., 608-285-9021, dvinomadison.com

Little Palace
Chinese doughnuts became popular at American Chinese buffets in the 1990s, and Little Palace took that concept and made it its own. The dough is fried and coated in sugar, then served alongside condensed milk, which is used as a dipping sauce. While you can share the fried dough dessert with the table, you might not want to. 225 King St., 608-229-6790, littlepalacemadison.com

Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace
Churros, fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar, are popular in Latin American countries and originated in Spain and Portugal. Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace offers a dessert that includes six churros that come with a dulce de leche sauce for dipping. This could be one of the only good reasons not to load up on chips and salsa before your meal. 2009 Atwood Ave., 608-242-1800, textubbstacos.com

Lydia Slattery is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

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