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Top 9: These are Cincinnati's BEST doughnuts

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Posted at 7:25 AM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 07:25:42-04

It's National Coffee Day! And what goes better with coffee than a doughnut?

So, why not pick up a dozen on the way to work (or after work; we won't judge) to dunk in your cup.

Here are our Top 9 favorites doughnut shops to try from.

Holtman's (Loveland, Over-the-Rhine, Williamsburg): Holtman's has quickly become the gold standard of Cincinnati doughnuts. Their cake isn't too heavy, their yeast isn't too airy, and their specialty doughnuts — maple bacon, red velvet, and "specials" like caramel macchiato — are swoonworthy. The Over-the-Rhine location is open late on weekends for your evening doughnut fixes (or if you just don't want to get up early to battle the lines).

Sotto (Downtown): An Italian restaurant on a doughnut list? Yes, you read this correctly. Sotto has ricotta doughnut holes that are the perfect end to a pasta dinner. They're also delicious on their own; no one will mind if you just stop in for coffee and doughnuts. Served with three homemade sauces — caramel, chocolate, and my favorite, pistachio— they're an unexpected delight.

Tom + Chee (Downtown, Newport, West Chester): Do you love sweet and savory? Tom + Chee takes grilled cheese and makes it even more indulgent with a glazed doughnut as the bread. The default is cheddar cheese, but you can pick other kinds, too, for this dish that doesn't know if it's breakfast, lunch, or dessert! The grilled cheese doughnut is so popular that the restaurant now offers fancy versions of it — everything from S'more (Chocolate, Marshmallow, Marscapone, graham cracker) to the Barbara Blue (blueberry compote, ham and brie).

St. Lawrence Bakery (Price Hill): There was a time on the West Side when there were bakeries on nearly every corner, near every Catholic church that defined each neighborhood. While many of those are gone, St. Lawrence Bakery (near St. Lawrence Church) is still around. For more than 150 years, it has been making doughnuts. You might remember your parents or grandparents picking them up after Mass. But if you're new, I suggest trying a hand-cut glazed doughnut, or a cream-filled one.

Pink in a Blanket (Burlington): While Pink in a Blanket has a variety of typical doughnuts (cream-filled long johns, blueberry cake, glazed yeast, among others) they're known for one that looks like it's straight out of the Simpsons: the Fruity Pebble doughnut. This one-of-a-kind pastry has pink frosting and instead of sprinkles or coconut or another typical donut topping, they substitute colorful Fruity Pebbles. It's childhood in a bite.

Bonomini Bakery (Northside): This tiny bakery is a Northside staple that attracts doughnut lovers from across the city. During Lent, the shop is known for its Paczki, Polish-style jam-filled donuts that are actually offered year-round. Those are good, but don't skip the fried danish twists and crullers either.

Ms. Cheri's (Milford): Ms. Cheri bakes the doughnuts here while her husband runs the counter. It's an adorable addition to already-nostalgic downtown Milford. Strolling down Main Street with a doughnut is a walk down memory lane. They're known for their "doughssant", a version of the trendy cronut, but this one is a bit simpler: croissant dough, deep-fried and glazed.

Graeter's (multiple locations): Graeter's is known for its ice cream, but its baked goods — especially doughnuts — also are spectacular. Try a cheese crown, a cross between a doughnut and cheesecake, or a jelly doughnut.

Bonnie Lynn Bakery (Blue Ash, Landen, Montgomery): Bonnie Lynn is an East Side tradition since the '60s.  While it tends to be known for cakes, the bakery does a steady doughnut business, too, with all of the traditional favorites (cake, yeast, filled — you name it). The danish is exceptional, if you prefer something a little fruitier (and less fried) than a traditional donut. 

Where do you get your favorite donut? Let us know!