This week's National Doughnut Day isn't just another silly, made-up food holiday.
It's actually a 78-year-old day of remembrance established by the Salvation Army in 1938 to commemorate "doughnut lassies," women volunteers who were sent to France during World War I to help distribute the fried-dough treats in an effort to make soldiers feel more at home.
This week, that translates to specials on plenty of doughnuts when the annual holiday rolls around, this year Friday, June 2. Here's a rundown of local favorites and the deals they offer for the holiday:
1. The Salty Donut's Traditional Glazed
To celebrate National Doughnut Day, Miami's Salty Donut will open at 7:30 a.m. and give its first 100 customers a complimentary traditional glazed doughnut. The holiday will be extraspecial for the owners because it'll be the first one that Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro will recognize in their Wynwood brick-and-mortar shop (50 NW 23rd St., #112, Miami).
Expect all-day doughnut-hole giveaways and, of course, plenty of the store's specialty. Rodriguez and Pizarro estimate they'll make as many as 3,000 doughnuts this Friday (about double the number they produced for the holiday last year). That night, they'll throw their second-annual Lyfe Collab National Donut Day Party. Tickets are sold out, but that doesn't mean you can't stop by the shop for a taste of Salty's three most popular doughnuts: traditional glazed, maple bacon, and seasonal white chocolate tres leches.
"There's just something about our glazed that's just right," Pizarro says. "It's so simple, but that combination of buttery, sweet, and fluffy wins people over every time."
2. Mojo Donut's Death by Chocolate
Chef Shawn Neifeld and his wife Shelly opened the original Pembroke Pines Mojo Donuts (7906 Pines Blvd.) in 2013 because they missed the many doughnuts they'd devoured while traveling across the country to cities such as Chicago and New York. The dearth of doughnuts in South Florida was a call to action. Most of Mojo's 50-plus flavors tend to sell out quickly. The hype around this place is thanks to the Neifelds' wild creations. They put their own gourmet spin on the croissant-doughnut pastry in flavors such as cinnamon and sugar or filled with dulche de leche or Bavarian cream. Mojo won't offer any deals on National Doughnut Day, but the reasonable prices — a half-dozen for $8.99 or a full dozen for $16.99 — make these delicacies a must-have.
Today the Miami shop (8870 Bird Rd.) is best known for a rotating list of limited-edition doughnuts. Top sellers include the Deco Delight, filled with banana cream and covered in white or dark chocolate with strawberries and blueberries, and Death by Chocolate. In addition, Mojo Donuts & Fried Chicken in Miami will introduce the Abeulita doughnut, a cinnamon pastry filled with arroz con leche and topped with dulce de leche. The first 250 customers at the Miami store only will each receive a free glazed doughnut on June 2.
This year, however, Edry has some big news to celebrate National Doughnut Day: a standalone shop he's opening early, just in time for the holiday (601 N. Congress Ave., #406, Delray Beach). On Friday, June 2, the self-taught cook and phenom pastry chef will offer these special doughnuts fried up fresh for sale and complimentary samples. The dough, he says, is extra special; it took months to perfect, a precise blend of yeast, several types of flour, water, and sugar made in small batches, then mixed and cut by hand.
The current roster of Nani's favorites includes his own take on the s'mores, a cinnamon and sugar, plain glazed, and a rotating selection of exotic and seasonal flavors. Come Friday, be sure to ask for his latest and greatest doughnut: the sandwich-like strawberry shortcake, which he debuted this past Mother's Day. Also expect the return of Edry's most impressive creation, the massive "doughnnabon": layers of deep-fried pastry dough slathered with butter, cinnamon, and sugar for a deep-fried doughnut/cinnamon bun hybrd.
4. Bake Shack's S'Mores
While people line up for hours at hot spots such as the Salty Donut and Mojo Donuts, Dania Beach's Bake Shack (238 S. Federal Hwy.) has its own south Broward following. The 22-seat eatery serves breakfast and lunch, but the real treats are the doughnuts made from scratch by co-owner and baker Keith Freiman. He trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and later worked for renowned restaurants in New York City and Miami, including the three-Michelin-starred Picholine and Philippe by Philippe Chow.
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Today he offers simple and pleasurable fare, including one of his most popular doughnuts: the s'mores, a decadent take on the campfire confection. Just be sure to get there early: The shop opens at 6:30 a.m. Friday and is usually sold out of Freiman's dough by 1 p.m. before closing at 3.
5. Dandee Donut Factory's Dandee Donut
Founded in 1995, the Dandee Donut Factory is one of the oldest doughnut purveyors in South Florida. This diner/doughnut haven — with locations in Hollywood (102 N. 28th Ave.), Pompano Beach (1900 E. Atlantic Blvd.), and Deerfield Beach (1422 S Federal Hwy.) — bakes 50-plus varieties.
Try the three specialities: the Mounds Bar, a combination of shaved coconut and chocolate frosting; the Snickers, a take on the Snickers bar, with caramel icing, chopped peanuts, and chocolate frosting; and the Strawberry Shortcake, a cake doughnut drenched in a sublime strawberry glaze with a single tuft of white creamy frosting at the center. Another option is the longtime signature Dandee doughnut: a fluffy raised doughnut covered in honey glaze and rolled in cake crumbles. The Pompano Beach location is open 24 hours a day seven days a week.