Strawberries, mochi and Peeps: A look at quirky donuts of the SGV

Donut shops are on every corner – here are some worth checking out


Bryan Jimenez

Four donuts from four establishments gazing upon a sun-kissed California landmark.

The humble yet sundry donut is the perfect treat for any occasion. Its fried, doughy base provides a delicious canvas for a spectrum of culinary artistry, ranging from tried-and-tested classics like the plain donut to bleeding-edge innovations like the tiger tail, a long, braided pastry swirling with chocolate, glaze and cinnamon.

The donut is more than a dessert – it’s a medium. And for every blade of grass in the San Gabriel Valley, there is a donut shop with its own unique twists on the genre.

In no particular order, here are a few spots within the SGV worth checking out.

Donut Queen

Froot Loops and Peeps donut, overshadowed by the shotgun masquerading as a pastry. (Bryan Jimenez)

Tucked away in a strip mall in San Dimas, Donut Queen’s physical interior skims on aesthetics but makes up for it in product selection. Humdrum building aside, the shop offers a variety of donuts, burritos, croissants and bagels.

The selection of donuts includes the standards – sprinkles, nuts and other toppings encrusted upon a drippy layer of glaze – but also standouts featuring cereals, candy and absolutely leviathan tiger tails.

A photo doesn’t do the tiger tail justice – it’s a behemoth and can be wielded like a baseball bat. The aforementioned combination of chocolate, glaze, cinnamon and crumbs spread atop a freeway of bread can intoxicate even the most health-conscious person into wanting to gulf down the entirety of the pillowy pastry.

The other items are no slouches either. Overshadowed in size by the tiger tails but not in taste or execution, the Froot Loops and Peeps donuts teetered the same line of sweetness overload, as intended.

Donut Queen is located in the San Dimas Arrow Plaza and is open every day from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. The full menu can be read here.

The Donut Hole

Two candy donuts and a double chocolate bar. (Bryan Jimenez)

A La Puente landmark and architectural beauty, The Donut Hole is a drive-through establishment operating since the ‘60s. Although it had other locations at certain points, the La Puente bakery is the only one that remains, in all its giant fiberglass donut glory.

As The Donut Hole’s icon status stems from the building itself, it may appear to be an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, but fear not – the bakery offers a wide selection of pastries that are a tier above other widely-known donut shops.

Some of its more popular items include the candy belt rainbow donut, peanut butter-filled donut and double-chocolate bar. Blanketed underneath the various fillings and toppings, the base donuts were exceptionally soft and remarkable in terms of reliability.

The giant donuts may seem like a gimmick, but the products match up to the building’s reputation.

The Donut Hole is located at 15300 Amar Road in La Puente and is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. all week except Tuesday when it is closed for the day.

Dot & Dough

Caramel macchiato malasada, banana-chocolate donut and fruit-flavored donut. (Bryan Jimenez)

Opened in 2019 and boasting over eight locations in California, Dot & Dough’s donuts are made of mochi, a Japanese rice flour. Diverging from the traditional donut shape, the donuts resemble a rope of dough balls fixed together in a circular pattern. The taste and texture also differ – the mochi donuts are chewier, lighter and in the case of Dot & Dough’s repertoire, zanier.

Dot & Dough’s Covina location, located in the city’s downtown area, is a picturesque building tightly nestled between other establishments. The narrow structure is painted with pastel colors to match the madcap selection of donuts, which includes pairings like white chocolate and matcha, strawberry and Pocky and salt and egg yolk.

The bakery also offers malasadas, hole-less donuts teeming with fillings like chocolate, vanilla, caramel macchiato and more. To continue the weapon analogy of the tiger tail, the malasadas resemble grenades and, with the filling, surely pack similar explosive power.

Dot & Dough’s Covina location resides on 487 N. Citrus Ave. and is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. A full list of their locations can be found here and menu here.

The Donut Man

Strawberry donut and lemon-filled glazed, whose vibrance is undone by bad lighting. (Bryan Jimenez)

Residing in Glendora off Route 66 is one of Southern California’s greatest donut offerings: The Donut Man.

A quaint and unassuming shack sporting a humble yellow logo on its brick roofing, The Donut Man is renowned for a variety of offerings, but most popularly the seasonal strawberry donuts: a glazed donut sliced in half and stuffed with fresh strawberries and jam.

The Donut Man was established in the early ‘70s as part of a franchise called Foster’s Donuts. The name was changed in the ‘80s and, since then, has been the only significant change to the business’s model. The building’s appearance and recipes have stayed the same over time.

And for good reason – the menu’s most popular offerings are perfected forms of the craft. The strawberry donuts are the bakery’s trademark but are rivaled by their other fresh fruit concoctions, like the apple and peach variants as well as the tiger tails – which are also baseball bat-esque – and the Bavarian creme-filled donuts layered with fudge.

In spite of the lines that wrap around the building, The Donut Man’s consistent above-par quality makes it one of the SGV’s must-visit donut shops, effectively putting it on the same tier as In-N-Out Burger. It is located at 915 E. Route 66 in Glendora and is open 24/7.

These are just a select few locations in an area sprawling with shops all hosting their own unique inventions or, at the least, the ol’ reliables like plain, glazed, chocolate glaze, etc. Because face it – even the “worst” donuts are still a treat nobody will complain about. So go out and explore what the SGV has to offer.