Now that office life is back and we’re all piling into cubicles to do work we now know we could just as easily do from home, it’s time to grab donuts for our colleagues. Why do we tempt our co-workers with distracting, sugary, high-carb treats they probably had no intention of indulging in that day? Because it’s a time-honored tradition. We decided to eat glazed donuts all week from different places around town and rate them as if we were doing a sixth-grade science fair project. We weighed each donut and measured their diameters and compared them by price, texture and flavor. It was a delicious, educational experience that every office should try to sweeten the work week. We didn’t just learn about donuts, we learned about ourselves.
1. Mark’s Do-Nut Shop
$13.07 per dozen. 4.25-inch diameter.
The unanimous favorite, Mark’s continues to impress from its location at Camp Robinson in Levy. The first time I bit into a Mark’s glazed, I went into a meditative state. The texture and flavor is 10/10. One of our employees claimed that if he were left alone, he’d eat the entire box. The donuts were still warm when we got them around 8:45 a.m. The largest and weightiest we sampled, it’s also among the softest and most flavorful. If you really want to blow your co-workers’ minds first thing in the morning, stop by Mark’s.
2. Shipley Do-Nuts
$7.62 per dozen. 3.5-inch diameter.
As far as donut chains go, Shipley’s has the best glazed donut, hands down. The soft, airy texture is unmatched. Had we not weighed it, I’d have assumed that it would be the lightest donut we sampled. I was wrong. It’s not a diet donut by any means, but if you go back for seconds (or thirds) you could say, “It’s only about 1.702 ounces per donut.”
3. Hurts Donut Co.
$11.10 per dozen. 4-inch diameter.
We learned that the glazed donut at Hurts is rather elusive. We tried to get a dozen around 9 a.m. on a Wednesday and Hurts was completely out. We asked when the glazed are usually churned out, and the employee basically told us, “Whenever someone decides to make them.” Good enough for us. We wandered over around 3 p.m. and scored a half dozen. Hurts, known for its outlandish flavor concoctions (the Cookie Monster, the Cereal Killer, the Dirt Worm), makes a fine glazed that was worth the wait. And the afternoon sugar rush. And the subsequent crash.
4. Paul’s Donuts
$7.85 per dozen. 3.75-inch diameter.
Paul’s occupies the former Shipley’s shop across the street from North Little Rock High School. The glazed donuts look average, but have a nice, subtle lemon flavor. A long line at the drive-thru moved fast. Although it seemed like only one employee was working, he had a system and met me on one side of the drive-thru, took my order and payment and then met me at the opposite side of the building with a dozen. That kind of efficiency can really inspire one for the coming work day.
5. Dunkin’ Donuts
$8.99 plus tax per dozen. 3.5-inch diameter.
If America really runs on Dunkin’, surely they’re talking about the coffee. The Dunkin’ glazed is a pretty run-of-the-mill donut. After eating Shipley’s, the bread almost seemed tough, though the Dunkin’ barely weighs more at 2 ounces and shares about the same diameter. It’s not bad, but when I heard a Dunkin’ fan from the Northeast was planning on camping out outside of the former store on Cantrell before its grand opening years ago, I thought, “Those donuts must be amazing!” Nah. Don’t tell Ben Affleck, though.
6. Community Bakery
$11.04 per dozen. 3.38-inch diameter.
The truth is, I wanted this glazed donut to be better. It just didn’t taste fresh, and the texture reminded us of an old foam mattress topper. The color reminded us of someone who logged far too many hours in a tanning bed. But it was a donut with personality, and it was the lightest donut on the scale among our samples. Kudos to the friendly staff at Community Bakery for throwing in a maple glazed. If you go, we recommend sticking with the bakery’s signature iced sugar cookies.