The humble yet oh-so-delicious doughnut is having a serious moment in the spotlight right now and lucky for us, local options abound for sprinkled and spiced, glazed and gourmet, plain and piquant pastries—and everything in between. Next time an occasion calls for a box of tasty breakfast bites, look no further than these neighborhood doughnut holes.
Yum! Kitchen + Bakery
Yum! is a well-rounded restaurant, with a full menu of savory entrees served up alongside pastries and bakery items. Celebrating 13 years in St. Louis Park this year, the Minnetonka location is newer but coming into its own as a neighborhood go-to spot.
Fan favorites: Owner Patti Soskin swears by the cinnamon or caramel pull-aparts. “It’s like a monkey bread, but in muffin shape,” she says. The donut muffin, in similar form, is made of a cinnamon-sugar dough baked in a muffin tin. Or check out the lemon kuchen,
a sweeter treat with a lemon filling.
What sets Yum! apart? The Yum! kitchen never quits, with bakery staff working literally around the clock turning out breads, breakfast pastries and desserts to fill orders and keep walk-ins coming back for more. Bread bakers start things off overnight, leaving around 3 or 4 a.m. when the loaves are just starting to cool. The pastry chefs take over from there, alongside a full kitchen staff who takes care of the lunch and dinner entrees. It’s all abuzz until the day ends at 9 or 10 p.m. “The size of the mixers alone is kind of overwhelming—they hold 60 quarts,” says Soskin, who admitted to eating a cookie between batches as we chatted on the phone.
What you need to know: Yum! serves Peace Coffee with a specialty label. It’s fresh-roasted specifically for the company.
We imagine this is what bakeries must have been like generations ago. Wuollet has been around since 1944, with five Twin Cities locations and an Edina-based production kitchen. “It’s an old-world-meets-new-world full-line bakery,” says co-owner Mike Jurmu. “Everything is made from scratch. There aren’t many places around like that anymore.”
Fan favorites: The almond angel puff—a puff pastry dough filled with almond custard, and sprinkled with almonds and powdered sugar. “It’s fantastic. More than amazing,” says Jurmu. Or try the apple turnover or sour cream cake doughnut. Most pastries at Wuollet are made with trans fat-free shortening and real lard, which produces a throwback flavor.
Never trust a skinny baker: “I find myself sneaking pieces of puff all the time, and I have the figure to prove it,” says Jurmu, chuckling. “And seriously, all the gussied up doughnuts in the world don’t compare to a plain, perfect glazed one.”
Keep in mind: “We make the nicest birthday cakes you can get—they’re really top of the heap,” says Jurmu.
This French-inspired cafe has bustling locations in both Edina and Excelsior, and it’s a great all-around spot for breakfast (savory or sweet), lunch, take-home baked goods or specialty beverages that are the perfect accompaniment to any social engagement.
Fan favorites: Croissants (ahem—founder Margo Bredeson is a French baker, through and through). Muffins are a go-to. And cinnamon rolls fly out of the case on weekends, when regulars linger over their coffee a bit longer than on workdays.
What sets Patisserie Margo apart? Margo’s is a tight-knit, family-run company born out of a lot of hard work, late nights and crazy years. A few generations of Bredesons are at the helm these days. Manager Sam Bredeson (Margo’s son) swears by their version of the morning bun, which is made of cinnamon-sugar-coated layers of croissant dough, rolled up in a muffin tin and baked.
What you need to know: Check out the February 2017 issue of Lake Minnetonka Magazine online for a full write-up, including a recipe for their super-decadent flourless chocolate dome cake. It’s less involved than you might think, and it’ll keep the deliciousness going all day long.
The swanky French bistro and bakery opened—to Twin Cities–wide acclaim—March 2017. And it’s been dazzling palates with fresh, flaky goodness ever since. Chef and owner Gavin Kaysen swears the craziness has subsided just enough for walk-ins to get a table most nights. But brunch … brunch is where it’s at. It’s a great way to give Bellecour a taste without battling the crowds. And of course, the bakery and coffee counter is open with traditional choices like croissants, macarons and more.
Fan favorites: The French do simple dishes incredibly well, incorporating the best ingredients into meticulously executed creations. And it shows. “We sell
a lot of everything, but some of our favorites are the coffee cake and the eclairs,” says Kaysen.
What sets Bellecour apart? “Great butter, great technique and passion for making something that takes us days to make,” says Kaysen. “On average, our desserts take the team about three days to prepare, so we put a lot of love into each of them, every day and every night.”
What you need to know: Call ahead anytime to preorder pastries, and the folks at Bellecour will box them up for pick-up (you can always stop by and peruse what's fresh on the fly, too). The bakery is open at 7 a.m. Tuesday–Sunday.
Most locals know Kowalski’s as a great place to get a cart full of groceries or pick up a wonderful last-minute appetizer, but it’s got some chops in the bakery department, too. Muffins are made from scratch daily, and the morning buns have a bit of a cult following.
Fan favorites: There’s no question. For the morning buns, a special croissant dough is made in Wisconsin and frozen for transport, thawed, proofed in-house, tossed in cinnamon and sugar, and baked. Filled varieties include chocolate, raspberry almond, caramel and cinnamon. “We’re the only grocery store in the area that carries Jim’s morning buns,” says bakery manager Jason Wildasin, who leads a staff of eight in the bakery department. The team goes through about 200 morning buns a week, plus 1,000 muffins. Doughnuts are also a go-to, with 50,000 traditional and more daring ones flying out of the case in a year. Try the fancy ones with Captain Crunch, Oreo, chips and chocolate or chips and pretzel toppings. “There’s this great salty-sweet-crunchy combo going on,” says Wildasin. Bombolones, another favorite, are like a flaky egg roll—baked, not fried—and filled with Bavarian cream, lemon or raspberry.
Pro tip: The bakery staff clocks in at 3 a.m. “It takes quite a bit to get everything made, cooled and out before the doors open,” says Wildasin. “There are people waiting at the door every day.” In other words, get there early or order ahead.
Owner Chris Moquist’s grandpa Cliff began selling fresh doughnuts in the 1950s at the creamery he owned in Watertown, S.D. Almost 40 years later, when Moquist wanted out of his corporate job, he revived his grandpa’s signature spiced, blended flour donut recipe. And in 2010, YoYo was born, bringing doughnuts back to the Moquist family with panache.
Fan favorites: Try the maple bacon, dirt and worms, or the flavor of the month, which is always a little more on the imaginative and seasonal side of things.
What sets YoYo apart? YoYo is an entirely peanut– and tree nut–free facility, so even allergic and nut-sensitive patrons can come in and order with wild abandon.
On twirls and tiny customers: “When you start out, you do everything: customer service, making lunches, mopping. It’s exhausting. Someone once came up to me early on—a really large tree trunk of a guy. He picked me up and spun me around like a little ballerina,” says Moquist with a laugh. “I found out his son had allergies and had just had his first-ever doughnut. It never gets old seeing a kid run up to the case, eyes wide as saucers. Kids are some of our most important customers.”