It should be pretty obvious that I love good coffee. I also love donuts. I’m certainly not the only one to feel this way, and definitely not the only one to love them together. Sweets balancing out a great cup of coffee is always a treat, and for whatever reason the soft and chewy mix of yeasty dough and a million tons of sugar makes for the best complement.
I thought about this when I found myself standing in a block-long line the other morning for 45 minutes in 350 F weather. I was there to buy donuts.
My morning’s destination was Donut Run, a vegan donutery (not a word, but we’ll allow it) in DC’s Takoma neighborhood which opened at the start of the year. I’d heard it was coming, and as high quality donut shops have replaced cupcakeries as the hotness I’d been meaning to try it. Then this week I saw a local article about the shop which started with “Washingtonians have found their new favorite spot to stand in line on Saturday mornings,” so I took that as a challenge.
The shop opens at 7 AM and I arrived about 7:20 to find that yes, the line did stretch the length of the block. I bided my time, overheard conversations among other first timers and repeat customers indicating that the donuts were indeed worth the wait, and eventually was able to walk out with a box of baked goodness.
Damn. Soooooo good. Totally worth it. Highly recommended to my DMV people.
Returning to the initial picture, and the purported theme of this post, with all that time in line I noticed that catty corner from the shop was a beautiful older building, the Takoma Theater. I could see the the word Coffee painted on the building on the far side of the marquee, with a sign that looked to indicate a coffee shop. Hmmm.
Box of baked treats in hand, I wandered over to find a coffee shop in its sixth day of business. It’s the first café opened by quality DC coffee producer Lost Sock Roasters, and it is very much the real deal. My macchiato was fantastic, the inside of the café is even more beautiful than outside, they use a Slayer espresso machine in an arresting shade of periwinkle blue, and they are very carefully yet politely enforcing social distancing inside the shop.
The people is this neighborhood are very fortunate to have these so close to each other.
I was reminded of Philadelphia’s ReAnimator Coffee, which also operates Hello Donuts (they make vegan donuts, like Donut Run) and sells their products in their cafés. Hello Donuts’ fruit-filled varieties are possibly the finest donuts I’ve ever had, and ReAnimator’s coffee is great.
DC’s District Doughnut chain (not to be confused with the similarly named District Donuts of New Orleans) makes amazing donuts, with a rotating seasonal menu and gluten free options. A friend who is a very dedicated donut fan practically worships their donuts. While District Doughnut sells coffee using beans from local roaster Compass, I don’t believe they offer espresso drinks. However, all their locations are very close to some great independent coffee shops.
If you’re reading this and still awake, I’d love for you to share in the comments your favorite places selling great donuts and great coffee under one roof, or great donut shops neighboring great coffee shops. Sorry, but anyone who even thinks about mentioning Dunkin’ (though their glazed jelly always hits the spot) or Tim Horton’s is very much in the wrong place…… but if it’s late at night and you’re sowing your oats we support you and hope you get home safely.