by Nancy Stiles
Doughnuts are having a moment in St. Louis. From the crazy collaborations at Strange Donuts to the old-fashioned breakfast pastries at World's Fair, they've come along way from cops in coffee shops. Everyone has a favorite, but we decided to put some of the city's best doughnuts to the test -- a taste test, that is.
It had to be blind, of course, so we rounded up plain, glazed doughnuts from Strange Donuts (2709 Sutton Boulevard; 314-932-5851), World's Fair Donuts (1940 South Vandeventer Avenue; 314-776-9975), Pharaoh's Donuts (200 North Seventh Street), a control doughnut from Schnucks and Donut Drive-In (6525 Chippewa Street; 314-645-7714).
A few caveats. It should be noted that these were not 5 a.m., straight-from-the-fryer doughnuts, which does make a difference. We usually say "no thanks" to Krispy Kremes, but how can you resist one hot off the conveyor belt? We should also note that World's Fair was out of its normal, ring glazed doughnuts so we opted for the glazed twist, which was the next closest thing.
RFT staff members tried samples of the five different doughnuts, identified only by number and ranked them. Votes were then tabulated. Tastes were, of course, varied, but there was a clear winner:
1. Pharaoh's Donuts 2. Donut Drive-In 3. Schnucks 4. Strange Donuts 5. World's Fair Donuts
Newly reopened Pharaoh's Donuts ($1.70 for two glazed) came in first place, with 30 out of 35 points. Second place went to Donut Drive-In ($1.57 for two), followed by (surprise!) Schnucks ($1.50 for two). Strange Donuts ($2 for two) and World's Fair ($1.18 for two) rounded out the bottom two.
One taste tester couldn't believe her own picks. "I knew I liked Pharaoh, but I didn't know I liked them that much!" she said. "Also, bummer, I always thought World's Fair were my favorite. Life changing!"
Do you think your favorite could stand up to a blind taste test? Were you surprised by the results? And whose doughnuts should we pit against one another in round 2?