Open Wide the World


Are there Craft Donuts in Milwaukee? Plus: Our Fav Donut Ever!

The Donut Tour Begins

We pulled into Milwaukee on fumes and anticipation. We hadn’t eaten much before we left Chicago that morning; we knew we would need the stomach space for the days ahead.

We were coming to town to eat doughnuts*, and we were excited.

Perhaps our enthusiasm should have been metered by Milwaukee’s dismal ranking in terms of doughnut availability. (MKE ranks 38th out of 50 major U.S. cities). But that statistic hadn’t really phased us. After all, Minneapolis ranks even worse (48th), and we had found MPLS to be a hotbed of craft doughnuts

So we arrived in MKE fully expecting to uncover another trove of underground deep-fried artisanal dough delights.

After the minor frustration of coin-operated parking meters (Really, Milwaukee? Have you had out-of-towners since Y2K?), we strolled into our first stop, ready for the usual barrage of colors and scents, and a case full of doughnut labels so outlandish they would scare us as much as excite us.


Yes, you correctly noticed two different spellings of the same word in this post. Because we appreciate both hard-copy writers who tend to prefer “doughnut” and internet users who lean toward “donut,” we are using one spelling in this article’s body and the other in its title and headers. Just goes to show that we love writers and readers as much as we love doughnuts and donuts!

DKY? Milwaukee ranks 38th out of 50 major U.S. cities for donut availability. Check out what we found when we searched for the near-impossible in MKE! #donuts #milwaukee #openwidetheworld

The Donut Tour Surprises Us

Instead, what did we see? A few rows or various colored doughnuts; all the same yeast base, all dipped in icing, and all topped with crushed pseudo-foods.

Hmmm. Not off to the start we had envisioned.

But we politely ordered two, one covered in a crushed cookie, the other in some sort of luminous children’s cereal. We left, undaunted, knowing our next stop would be better.

Except that it wasn’t. Nor was the next. Nor the next.

Four stops into our doughnut tour, we were forced to reckon with the fact that not all cities are going to be craft doughnut cities. And we realized that was okay. Each city really should have its own strengths and character, not necessarily its own artisanal doughnut scene.

But we decided to finish our doughnut tour anyway. Why not? We were already here.

So on Day Two, we drove to our fifth stop, just as we’d planned, more looking forward to lunch afterwards than to the doughnuts themselves.

The Donut Tour Surprises Us Again

And that’s where the magic happened.

We met our favorite doughnut ever!

Now let me just say: we eat a lot of craft doughnuts. I mean a lot. We’ve estimated something around 100 flavors, types and varieties across various cities and neighborhoods. (Let’s not even add chain doughnuts to that count; I feel a diabetic coma coming on!)

So we feel like we’ve seen it all, as if no bizarre flavor combos (looking at you, peanut butter cream w/coconut curry) or wacky names (that's you, Notorious P.I.G.) will surprise us anymore.

But then we tried the Mexican Hot Chocolate doughnut at Holey Moley Doughnuts.

the Mexican hot chocolate doughnut from Holey Moley Doughnuts in Milwaukee

It starts off just as you’d expect. Chocolatey. Cinnamon-y. Comforting.

And then —bam!— it hits you. A sucker punch of unsuspected heat! 

We’ve experienced that type of foretaste/delayed-taste phenomenon in BBQ, in Asian food, even in coffee. But never before have we met a doughnut that could lure us in with one taste combo and then wallop us with another. Just amazing!

Hats off to the brilliant doughnut team at Holey Moley for the best doughnut we've ever eaten!  

Do you have a favorite city for craft donuts?

Tell us about it in the comments!


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DKY? Milwaukee ranks 38th out of 50 major U.S. cities for donut availability. Check out what we found when we searched for the near-impossible in MKE! #donuts #milwaukee #openwidetheworld

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