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Doughnuts Come Full Circle

Dough in A Box2

Dough in A Box, credit: Jenny Turknett

According to a recent article in Time Magazine (Sep. 29, 2010), doughnuts are again back in style. Time reports that doughnut sales were up 6% last spring as compared to the same quarter the previous year. The doughnut chains (Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme) are still expanding despite the recession, possibly because doughnuts are cheap and comforting.

In Atlanta they are starting to pop up on restaurant menus, as well. Relish Restaurant in Roswell serves a diet-busting Krispy Kreme bread pudding with espresso kreme. And of course, there’s the liquid nitrogen Krispy Kreme milkshake at FLIP Burger Boutique.

At a recent cooking class at Rathbun’s restaurant, guess what was for dessert? Potato donuts, dubbed “Spud-nuts.” And who has been bold enough to try the Vandross Burger at The Gravity Pub? That’s the cheddar-bacon burger served on the grilled-glazed doughnut, a dish with enough calories to last you through the winter.

For the sake of this blog – and that’s the only reason – I dashed to try a new-to-me doughnut shop. I drove 45 minutes (one way) to Dough in a Box in Marietta (3184 Austell Rd SW)… I didn’t regret it. I found an unassuming little storefront, with some of the freshest, lightest doughnuts around. Despite having 28 varieties, there are no gimmicks here. If you want pork belly doughnuts with agave glaze, go elsewhere.

This little shop run by a husband-and-wife team, turns out their daily doughnuts “the old-fashioned way.” Starting at 10 p.m. each night, “It’s time to make the doughnuts” for Jesus Balestena, who makes them all from scratch. His wife Dannia relieves him every morning to run the shop during the day. In the evenings, they pause to have dinner together before beginning again.

Their labor of love has paid off. At Dough in a Box, the yeast dough contains no sugar and is fried in soybean oil, resulting in a doughnut with a big yeasty flavor that isn’t cloyingly sweet. The sweetness comes only from the frosting. Their best sellers are the fritters (blueberry and apple) and the old-fashioned sour cream doughnut, which was my favorite.

Have they noticed an increase in sales with the dip in the economy? No increase, but business has been steady. What Jesus and Dannia Balestena have noticed is that more families are choosing it as a breakfast destination. Families are eating in the shop on weekends instead of going to more expensive sit-down breakfast eateries. And since $1.70 gets you a doughnut and a cup of coffee, it’s not hard to see why!

Jenny-Turknett-Tagline

I ate a doughnut or three at Dough in a Box. Just doing my part for the economy…

Where do you go for your doughnuts?

–Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team.  She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

68 comments Add your comment

yummy

October 20th, 2010
7:17 am

I have made the drive from Marietta to Dough in the Box and it is worth it everytime.

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John Kessler

October 20th, 2010
8:06 am

Great find, Jenny. Hey, have you ever been to Dutch Monkey Doughnuts in Cumming? Wonder how they compare….

jack trent

October 20th, 2010
8:46 am

no mention of sublime donuts? im shocked….they are the best atl has to offer.

Jon Watson

October 20th, 2010
8:51 am

Dutch Monkey is right up there with Sublime…their butter maple bacon doughnut is literally a doughnut wrapped in a slice of bacon, like it was a bow on a birthday present. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Reds

October 20th, 2010
8:51 am

Truthfully, I’m generally not a fan of doughnuts. I never actively seek them out. But, if they are around I might be tempted. Blueberry cake from D&D I <3. Might have to check this place out if we have houseguests sometime though.

Lisa

October 20th, 2010
8:55 am

shoot. I drive my this place every week. Must stop in…. Thanks!

KB

October 20th, 2010
8:57 am

How can you have an article without talking about Sublime Doughnuts? I agree….best in ATL hands down. We even served them at our wedding.

Steph

October 20th, 2010
9:00 am

Just a thought, but you could mention the other homegrown donut shops that were mentioned in the comments above instead of Dunkin and Krispy. Atlantans should be thankful that we have some great and slightly spreadout local donut shops. Hopefully one day all Atlantans will have a local donut shop nearby.

Jenny Turknett

October 20th, 2010
9:05 am

What a great discussion this is turning out to be! I have actually tried Dutch Monkey Doughnuts – went there first, in fact. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it worth the drive. I found the doughnuts a bit dry and unremarkable – BUT I have only been once, so maybe I caught it on a bad day. I will say that I love the decor – it is very charming. And my kids love the viewing windows that allow them to watch the bakers at work. They are definitely more experimental in their flavors, as well.

JesusFreak

October 20th, 2010
9:07 am

For those of you south of the airport, Carrollton’s claim to fame is Vogelsberg’s Bakery 105 N Park St Carrollton, GA 30117-3028 (770) 834-9988 Their donuts put Krispy Kreme to shame. Not only are they delicious with their maple glaze, but they are cheap. Best fritters too! Just call ahead before making the trip, their hours are limited as is their stock but once you get a hold of them, you will make the effort to get some more. We tried them for the first time at Powers Crossroads Festival and made the trip to their store since they were that memorable.

chai

October 20th, 2010
9:07 am

Fat Fat Fat again USA.

cristina

October 20th, 2010
9:11 am

Uh… where’s Sublime?! Best. Ever.
Except for that whole not-opening-on-mondays thing… that throws my week off =)

Jenny Turknett

October 20th, 2010
9:18 am

Ha! Yes, I expected the questions about Sublime – thank you! But, many of us know about Sublime. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of those other “homegrown” doughnut shops Steph is talking about!

Becky

October 20th, 2010
9:21 am

Love Dough in the Box.. Like Lisa though, I had driven by there for many years before I tried them..Now, we stop by there about once per week and the kids love it..When they want a doughnut, this is where they request it from..

Jenny, what did you think of the doughnut holes? OMG..That’s all I can say about them babies..These make great gifts to take to teachers at school..I took them 2-3 times to the kids school last year and everyone loved them..

Claire

October 20th, 2010
9:33 am

Yum! Can’t wait to try Dough in a Box the next time I’m in Marietta. I’ve had Sublime and they are delish but I am excited to try a new local doughnut shop. I love to read about new places! Thanks!

TBone

October 20th, 2010
9:35 am

Wow I didn’t realize folks still read Time. It’s really not surprising that a country that idolizes shows like Biggest Loser,runs weight loss ads incessantly and has claimed obesity as the first lady’s pet project eats more donuts??!

Sandee Ashworth

October 20th, 2010
10:02 am

Nobody mentioned Sarah’s in Gwinnett…some of the best this Yankee has had in Atlanta.

Steven

October 20th, 2010
10:05 am

Ditto on sublime donuts- even though people in the “know” are familiar it is worth bringing up in this forum- I don’t think it should be swept aside as Jenny has done.

Veronica

October 20th, 2010
10:07 am

Sara’s in John’s Creek on Ptree Pkwy is really good, traditional, good flavors esp the cinnamon sticks but Dutch Monkey is the ultimate. According to a Food Network show a few yrs ago, Stan’s donuts in Hollywood rated the country’s best so I had a dozen Fed Ex’d to my son on his 19th bday. He is a donut aficionado and they were good but Dutch Monkey is amazing esp the maple bacon donut, hazelnut date with chocolate frosting, blueberry, any fritter – just any and all that we have tried have been amazing.

Celiac mom

October 20th, 2010
10:18 am

Does anyone carry a good gluten-free doughnut?

James

October 20th, 2010
10:28 am

Ummm….doughnuts. We live in East Cobb, and will definitely be checking this place out. I’ve heard of Sublime, but don’t have many chances to venture inside the perimeter with the family. Thanks Jenny for hunting out a place for us! We’ll be heading out there soon!

Celiac mom – don’t know of any gluten free doughnuts, but that’s a great idea for a topic!

Kim

October 20th, 2010
10:46 am

Love doughnuts! Excited to hear about a new place – thanks Jenny!

KikiRodmcgua

October 20th, 2010
10:51 am

Been to Dutch Monkey a few times before school. A) Over priced B) very eggy C) dry. For 1.60 a doughnut it should be amazing. Not impressed in the least

Scott

October 20th, 2010
10:53 am

Sara Donuts in Johns Creek at the corner of Medlock and State Bridge makes great donuts, and also very tasty sausage rolls. The yeast donuts melt in your mouth and it is a really fun place to take our two young children. Sara is always there with a smile and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Phil in NEGA

October 20th, 2010
11:00 am

Man, what a coincidence! I was just wondering about where I could go to find a good doughnut and all of a sudden I see this article and these comments. I am definitely taking notes though when I can actually get to these shops is different story. Anyways, if anybody knows of some good doughnut shops in the northeast Georgia area, I’d be really appreciative if you can throw some suggestions out.

Yolanda

October 20th, 2010
11:31 am

Absolutely love doughnuts. I travel to Best Dang Bakery in Woodstock from Cumming about once a month to get a dozen (or two). Best doughnuts I’ve had OTP! I will definitely give Dough in a Box a try though.

Steve

October 20th, 2010
11:39 am

I go to Sublime for my fix. Probably the only donuts I still eat these days.

Michelle

October 20th, 2010
11:40 am

Donut King in Snellville gets my vote for great donuts, traditional flavors. Jenny, Sublime should have at least been mentioned……

imjustduckie

October 20th, 2010
11:40 am

Only Sublime on 10th Street!

just Me

October 20th, 2010
11:46 am

I drove an hour to Dutch Monkey donuts. What a waste of gas and time. Those donuts were nothing special. I do want to try Sublime donuts though! Heard they were great! I was recently in NYC and had Doughnut Plant donuts. Pumpkin and blackout were phenomenal! Why can’t I make a good donut at home? Anyone have any great recipes?

James

October 20th, 2010
11:59 am

Michelle – this was a profile piece on particular doughnut shop – Dough in a Box. Not mentioning every other doughnut shop in town shouldn’t be perceived as a snub :)

Bill

October 20th, 2010
12:16 pm

Dough in the box!, what a great doughnut my salute to the efforts placed on the kitchen of these local shops so we can have a real and tasty circle….

PJ

October 20th, 2010
12:24 pm

How awesome to learn about a new place, even if it is a bit far from my house. My kids LOVE doughnuts and would be up for a drive to get them. Thanks Jenny!

Lisa

October 20th, 2010
12:52 pm

Great article Jenny!!! I love to hear about new places to try!!

Ron

October 20th, 2010
1:17 pm

I’ve always been a fan of Krispy Kreme until Quik Trip started making their own donuts. They are full-bodied, pretty fresh (considering they are made in their kitchen and trucked to their stores), and the coverings don’t come off all over your hands like some others. Good prices as well. Couple that with a cup of their good coffee and you have a winner every time.

Elsa

October 20th, 2010
2:51 pm

It’s been way too long since I’ve had a doughnut! I’m definitely craving them now. Thanks for the tip about Dough in a Box. I agree that it’s more fun to learn about new places! Please keep driving all over Atlanta, finding good eats for us, Jenny!

mike

October 20th, 2010
3:32 pm

Love this donut blog. I live ITP and go to Henri’s in Buckhead, but I’ll have to check out Dough in the Box and Best Dang Bakery in Woodstock. Going on these foodie tours on weekends is easily the best thing about living in the ATL

Michael

October 20th, 2010
4:01 pm

Is there anyplace with faschnauts in Atlanta? Come Lent, my cravings kick in.

Mary

October 20th, 2010
4:09 pm

Spudnuts were a staple of many church gatherings in northen Utah and southern Idaho for eons. Much like raised donuts, The Spundnut Shop on South Main in Logan, Utah, was sublime. The last time I was in town (Oct. 2006), it was an insurance company. So delicious.

Mary

October 20th, 2010
4:11 pm

Spudnuts were the staple of many church gatherings in northern Utah and southern Idaho for eons. Much like raised donuts. The Spudnut shop on South Main in Logan, Utah, was sublime. The last time I was in town (Oct. 2006), it was an insurance agency. Sigh.

Art

October 20th, 2010
6:06 pm

Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon. I bring back a box every time I’m out there. The bacon maple bar is great!

DCamp

October 20th, 2010
8:29 pm

Best doughnuts ever: Doughnut Plant in NYC and Dynamo Donuts in San Fran. Beat anything here, even DMD.

RBaffi

October 21st, 2010
6:46 am

I´ve never had a donut like this.Dough in the box is the best.Don´t miss the apple fritter.And something special, doughnuts come in multiple presentations and “dosage” and you believe it ,are really HAND MADE. ¡CONGRATULATIONS AND KEEP UP¡

MFC

October 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta is amazing – shocked they arne’t mentioned in this article!

wln2113

October 21st, 2010
9:08 pm

If you are ever on the southside, try Speedway Donuts across from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. These donuts are awesome. Much better than Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts.

cmmichels

October 21st, 2010
10:08 pm

I understand about profiling a particular business – but I don’t think it’s right to use a picture (Sublime’s Peanut Butter doughnut) without mentioning where it came from. Should have been mentioned.

arlyn ale marcello y santiago!

October 21st, 2010
10:17 pm

Dough in a box is the best! We go for breakfast and sometimes go for not reason just to have a fresh hand made doughnut! Where the dough is made the same day and nothing is pre-made is just pure FRESHNESS! Good luck guys and we see you after work! Ups I did ir again!

Mother Teresa

October 21st, 2010
10:32 pm

What about Sublime on 10th Street? I love their Smore donut and their strawberry filled (with fresh strawberries!). Best doughnut I’ve ever had!!

donut daddy

October 21st, 2010
10:48 pm

donut king in snellville……..mmmmmm……….i think they have another location in lville off hwy 20 and 316……and im sorry but a hot donut from KK is still awesome….you can eat 6 at once….