I tried the 'best doughnut chain in America' and found its simplicity is what makes it stand out

Top Pot Doughnuts Donuts in box

  • Top Pot Doughnuts is a Seattle-based doughnut chain that was named the best in America by the Daily Meal.
  • I tried a latté and a half-dozen doughnuts including the Raspberry Glazed Old Fashioned, the Chocolate Feather Boa, the Maple Glazed Old Fashioned, the Maple Bar, the Bavarian Crème Bismark Filled, and the Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake.
  • The expertly crafted and simpler items blew me away, but some of the more creative doughnuts fell flat.
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Doughnuts are a delicious trap.

But the nature of traps is that you are lured into them, and Top Pot Doughnuts is the best chain for delicious traps in Seattle and, according to the Daily Meal, in the US.
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On a recent sojourn to my emerald homeland, I was enticed into a Top Pot Doughnuts location by the smell of fresh coffee and the promise of expertly hand-forged circles of sugary dough.

Read more: I ate apple pies from 5 fast-food chains, and the winning pie blew me away

In an attempt to relive my adolescent doughnut-eating glory days, I ordered a half-dozen doughnuts: Raspberry Glazed Old Fashioned, the Chocolate Feather Boa, the Maple Glazed Old Fashioned, the Maple Bar, the Bavarian Crème Bismark Filled, and the Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake - and a latté with which to wash them all down.
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Here's what I thought:

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Top Pot got its name from a sign that the founders rescued from an old, boarded-up Chinese restaurant. The sign read "Topspot," but the "S" fell off during the restoration process and "Top Pot" was born.

Top Pot got its name from a sign that the founders rescued from an old, boarded-up Chinese restaurant. The sign read "Topspot," but the "S" fell off during the restoration process and "Top Pot" was born.

Source: Top Pot

Would you like a book with your doughnut and coffee? Top Pot's got you covered. How about a Seattle Seahawks jersey?

Would you like a book with your doughnut and coffee? Top Pot's got you covered. How about a Seattle Seahawks jersey?
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The staff were friendly and incredibly laidback. Their level of "chill" reminded me that there's no place like home, especially if home is the Emerald City.

The staff were friendly and incredibly laidback. Their level of "chill" reminded me that there's no place like home, especially if home is the Emerald City.

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Doughnuts are priced by kind or by bulk amount. I chose to purchase a six-pack.

Doughnuts are priced by kind or by bulk amount. I chose to purchase a six-pack.
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But choosing only six doughnuts was a greater challenge than I'd anticipated.

But choosing only six doughnuts was a greater challenge than I'd anticipated.

The Feather Boas, which are frosted doughnuts dusted with coconut shavings and other sprinkles, are some of Top Pot's iconic offerings.

The Feather Boas, which are frosted doughnuts dusted with coconut shavings and other sprinkles, are some of Top Pot's iconic offerings.
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But Top Pot's heart-stopping, dense, old-fashioned doughnuts are also a claim to fame for the chain.

But Top Pot's heart-stopping, dense, old-fashioned doughnuts are also a claim to fame for the chain.

I walked away from the counter with a Raspberry Glazed Old Fashioned, the Chocolate Feather Boa, the Maple Glazed Old Fashioned, the Maple Bar, the Bavarian Crème Bismark Filled, and the Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake.

I walked away from the counter with a Raspberry Glazed Old Fashioned, the Chocolate Feather Boa, the Maple Glazed Old Fashioned, the Maple Bar, the Bavarian Crème Bismark Filled, and the Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake.
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The staff seemed excited to show off their latté art skills. The latté was exceptionally creamy with almost savory undertones.

The staff seemed excited to show off their latté art skills. The latté was exceptionally creamy with almost savory undertones.

Read more: I ate soft serve from 7 major fast-food chains, and the winner surprised me

RASPBERRY GLAZED OLD FASHIONED — First on my plate was this crinkly pink belle.

RASPBERRY GLAZED OLD FASHIONED — First on my plate was this crinkly pink belle.
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The raspberry glaze had a slight crunch to it, as well as a light, fruity flavor.

The raspberry glaze had a slight crunch to it, as well as a light, fruity flavor.

Inside, the cake was dense, soft, and moist.

Inside, the cake was dense, soft, and moist.
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CHOCOLATE FEATHER BOA — Top Pot is famous for its "boas," which are glazed doughnuts topped with coconut shavings.

CHOCOLATE FEATHER BOA — Top Pot is famous for its "boas," which are glazed doughnuts topped with coconut shavings.

The shavings go everywhere if you're not careful. They were generous, and the doughnut was firm, albeit a little dry.

The shavings go everywhere if you're not careful. They were generous, and the doughnut was firm, albeit a little dry.
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The highlight of the Chocolate Feather Boa for me was the chocolate glaze. But if you love coconut, the highlight will be be the coconut.

The highlight of the Chocolate Feather Boa for me was the chocolate glaze. But if you love coconut, the highlight will be be the coconut.

MAPLE FROSTED OLD FASHIONED — This one was a bugger to pick up. It was heavy with maple glaze.

MAPLE FROSTED OLD FASHIONED — This one was a bugger to pick up. It was heavy with maple glaze.
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The layer of maple frosting is incredibly thick, and to my astonishment, the maple flavor came through.

The layer of maple frosting is incredibly thick, and to my astonishment, the maple flavor came through.

But overall this doughnut was just a little too sweet for my liking.

But overall this doughnut was just a little too sweet for my liking.
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MAPLE BAR — The restaurant's staff told me that the Maple Bar is one of Top Pot's most popular items.

MAPLE BAR — The restaurant's staff told me that the Maple Bar is one of Top Pot's most popular items.

It was light and fluffy with a thin layer of maple glaze.

It was light and fluffy with a thin layer of maple glaze.
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This one was well-balanced and pillowy-soft. The soft cushion of fried dough served as the perfect bedding for the crisp and buttery maple frosting.

This one was well-balanced and pillowy-soft. The soft cushion of fried dough served as the perfect bedding for the crisp and buttery maple frosting.

Read more: I ate the same meal at both Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse, and one was the clear winner

BAVARIAN CREME FILLED — The Bavarian creme was also a challenge to pick up gracefully. I could feel the weight of the custard cream inside.

BAVARIAN CREME FILLED — The Bavarian creme was also a challenge to pick up gracefully. I could feel the weight of the custard cream inside.
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The dough was soft, the light custard cream was generous, and the chocolate frosting was on point.

The dough was soft, the light custard cream was generous, and the chocolate frosting was on point.

But I felt like I could only take two bites out of this beast without sending my blood sugar rocketing up into the great unknown.

But I felt like I could only take two bites out of this beast without sending my blood sugar rocketing up into the great unknown.
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LEMON GLAZED BLUEBERRY CAKE — This is less of a traditional doughnut and more of a cake in the skin of a doughnut.

LEMON GLAZED BLUEBERRY CAKE — This is less of a traditional doughnut and more of a cake in the skin of a doughnut.

The light and fruity lemon glaze was a revelation.

The light and fruity lemon glaze was a revelation.
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But the cake inside didn't quite satisfy. It was much more like bread than its doughnut brethren, and it tasted more like a soft, sweet bagel than a cake.

But the cake inside didn't quite satisfy. It was much more like bread than its doughnut brethren, and it tasted more like a soft, sweet bagel than a cake.

In this tower of doughnuts, there were highlights and lowlights. My personal favorite was the Maple Bar, while the creative and risky Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake didn't quite do it for me.

In this tower of doughnuts, there were highlights and lowlights. My personal favorite was the Maple Bar, while the creative and risky Lemon Glazed Blueberry Cake didn't quite do it for me.
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Top Pot's doughnuts are strongest when they're masterfully simple, but start to teeter when they're overcomplicated. But that's why Seattleites come to Top Pot. If you want a simple doughnut done right, there's simply nowhere better.

Top Pot's doughnuts are strongest when they're masterfully simple, but start to teeter when they're overcomplicated. But that's why Seattleites come to Top Pot. If you want a simple doughnut done right, there's simply nowhere better.