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Actually, we have two. By Jessica Voelker
Photographs courtesy of Mac’s Donuts.

Good morning, loyal derby fans. We are ready to announce the news you’ve all been waiting for. First, however, let’s offer congratulations to bracket winner Kim Payne! She showed a lot of pastry prescience, even correctly guessing the purveyor that would go on to take the championship. Very well done on that, Kim. You will receive a $50 gift certificate to—are you ready for this?—Mac’s Donuts! That’s right, drawing a record number of votes, Mac’s took the lead in the final bout of the derby, pulling ahead of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to win the illustrious title of Best Doughnuts in Washington. Let’s take a moment to recognize Astro’s amazing efforts.

As for Mac’s, well—wow. The little market stand selling fried pastries on a stick went up against some serious contenders throughout our contest. In round one, it beat out the much-pontificated-upon zeppole at Fiola, forging ahead to take on Zeke’s DC Donutz. After a big victory in round two, Mac’s was up against another derby favorite: Cashion’s Eat Place. The fans showed up, and Mac’s left Cashion’s in the proverbial day-old basket. It then beat out the buttermilk beignets at Bayou Bakery—deep-fried treats that enjoy a fierce following in their own right. Finally, it was time for the championship round. Really, it was anyone’s game—Astro fans had been bringing it all derby long in a big way. In the end, however, the farmers market favorite proved unstoppable. We offer hearty congratulations to John McIntyre and team for this hard-won win.

Thanks to everyone who played along with this year’s bracket. If you have suggestions for what food we should take on next, we’d love to hear them. Leave a note in the comments or e-mail bestbitesblog@washingtonian.com.

Now, who wants a doughnut?

Posted at 10:20 AM/ET, 04/23/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Two fierce fritter makers battle it out for the title of Best Doughnuts in Washington. Help pick a winner now. By Jessica Voelker
Astro and Mac’s compete for the championship in the final day of the derby. Photographs courtesy of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken via Facebook (left) and Mac’s Donuts (right).

The moment has arrived, dear deep-fried-pastry people. What began as a competition among 32 of the city’s top doughnut purveyors has come down to just two spots. Over the course of this lard-laden contest, we’ve seen giants—Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’—topple. We’ve seen fierce underdogs like Pizzeria Orso make it nearly to the end, and early favorites such as GBD fall short all too soon. It’s been quite a ride, but our time at the derby draws to a close.

On Friday, Mac’s Donuts went up against Bayou Bakery, and while Bayou drew a lot of votes it was no match for the impaled pastries at market favorite Mac’s. That means that on Tuesday, we will declare either Mac’s or Metro Center spot Astro the victor of the Great Doughnut Derby.

Don’t forget, too, that at the beginning of this situation we asked you to submit brackets predicting the winners. When we announce the winner of the derby, we will also name the victor among the brackets. That person receives a $50 gift certificate to either Mac’s or Astro.

Be sure to vote before 5 PM, when the entire competition comes to a close.

Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 04/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: how to score free doughnuts this weekend. By Jessica Voelker
Doughnuts on a stick, or NOLA-style fritters? One will take on Astro for the championship title. Photographs courtesy of Mac’s Donuts (left) and by Scott Suchman (right).

Thursday brought the most intense bout yet to the Great Doughnut Derby, with Pizzeria Orso and Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken each drawing tons of votes. In the end, Astro emerged the victor of the tight race. Before we move on, let’s recognize the awesome efforts of Orso chef Will Artley in rallying his fans throughout the derby. Well played, Orso.

Now it’s time to pick the fritter maker who will take on Astro in the championship on Monday. Mac’s Donuts has proved a tough competitor throughout the derby. If you haven’t tried those ’nuts, you can catch them for the first time ever at the Courthouse farmers market this Saturday from 8 to noon. Mac’s will give a free “stick o’ donuts” to the first 50 customers. Now, Mac’s takes on the fluffy buttermilk beignets at Bayou Bakery for a chance at the title. The stakes are high, pastry people, so vote wisely. And vote before 5 PM, because that’s when the poll closes.

Posted at 10:06 AM/ET, 04/19/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Falls Church pizza place or Metro Center newbie? You decide. By Jessica Voelker
Popular Pizzeria Orso takes on hot newcomer Astro. Who will move on to the championship round? Photograph courtesy of Pizzeria Orso.

Folks, we have our final four. Wednesday, the beignets at Bayou Bakery triumphed over the deep-fried rings at Heller’s Bakery in Mount Pleasant. On Friday, Bayou goes up against Mac’s Donuts to determine who will move into Monday’s championship round. That’s right: This whole thing will be over after just three more face-offs.

Now, however, it’s time to focus on Pizzeria Orso and Astro Doughnuts. Do the lemony treats at chef Will Artley’s Falls Church pizza place deserve to compete for the title of Best Doughnuts in Washington, or should that honor go to the new ’nuts—in flavors like crème brûlée and pistachio—at Metro Center? We are super excited to see who will take this one, as both fritter makers have proven extremely popular in previous bouts. Choose wisely, and choose before 5 PM—that’s when the poll closes.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 04/18/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Arlington beignets or old-school rounds in Mount Pleasant? Today’s bout may be a matter of neighborhood pride. By Jessica Voelker
It's bakery versus bakery in today's round. Photograph via Flickr user Mr. T in DC.

Doughnuts on a stick win again! We congratulate Mac’s Donuts even as we wave a tearful goodbye to Cashion’s and its Italian-style sugar-dusted treats.

There remains just one more face-off to determine the final four. As hard as it is to believe we’ve come this far, on Thursday we will pick the first of the two purveyors to enter the final round, where we will finally determine the reigning champion of local fritters.

Right now, however, it’s time to send either Bayou Bakery’s buttermilk beignets or classic ’nuts from Heller’s Bakery into the fourth slot of this round. As always, vote before 5 PM. The winner will be announced Thursday morning.


Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 04/17/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sweets on a stick or Italian-style fritters? A big decision awaits. By Jessica Voelker
Italian-style doughnuts at Cashion's. Photograph courtesy of Cashion's.

Metro Center newcomer Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken emerged victorious from Monday’s competition, beating out the Palm for the second spot in the final four. That means Astro will go up against Pizzeria Orso to see who makes it to the championship round. That should be a tight competition, so be sure to check back on Thursday when it all goes down.

Meanwhile, the time has arrived to select one pastrymaker for the third slot in the final four. Mac’s Donuts, crafter of fried rings on a stick, finds itself up against the Italian-style pastries devoured by brunch-goers at Cashion’s Eat Place in Adams Morgan. This is a big decision—we only have five bouts left to determine a winner—so be sure to choose wisely.

Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 04/16/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Minis in a sack or a new venture in Metro Centro? Only one will head to the final four. By Jessica Voelker
Astro and the Palm battle for the second slot in the final four. Photograph courtesy of Astro via Facebook.

Oh, we are close now, friends. At long last, we’re just a few bouts away from determining a winner in the Great Doughnut Derby. On Friday, Falls Church Neapolitan pie spot Pizzeria Orso scored the first spot in the final four, squeezing out Migue’s Magnificent.

Now it’s time to pick between Dupont restaurant the Palm—serving suit-clad power brokers those beloved bags of mini doughnuts—and newcomer Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which recently debuted its crispy goods in Metro Center. As usual, you have to vote before 5 PM.

Posted at 09:45 AM/ET, 04/15/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
And then there were eight. By Jessica Voelker
Market favorite Migue’s goes up against Pizzeria Orso in the first bout to determine the final four. Photograph courtesy of Migue’s via Facebook.

It’s getting close now, oh doughnut lovers. Despite considerable buzz surrounding the opening of GBD in Dupont, Mount Pleasant neighborhood favorite Heller’s Bakery managed to shut out the new Neighborhood Restaurant Group spot for the last remaining slot in the elite eight.

To determine who will claim the first place in the final four, we need you to pick between two popular options. There’s Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts—in the process of changing its name to DC Donuts—known for mini ‘nuts but beginning to expand into larger pastries, too. Then there are the lemony treats at Pizzeria Orso—the creations of chef Will Artley that have attracted many a fan in our first two rounds. Who will it be? Vote before 5 and check back Monday for the winner.

Posted at 10:45 AM/ET, 04/12/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Cleveland Park rounds go head to head with NOLA-style beignets in Arlington. By Jessica Voelker
Pillowy beignets at Bayou Bakery. Photograph courtesy of Bayou Bakery.

Greetings, derbyers. Cashion’s won Tuesday’s contest, beating out Seasonal Pantry for a spot in the elite eight. There are just two slots lefts before we move on to the next round, so be sure to weigh in as we move toward selecting the best doughnuts in all of Washington.

Up now: Palena Market, sister store to Frank Ruta’s acclaimed restaurant, where the fritters are a weekend favorite for much of Northwest Washington. Palena takes on Bayou Bakery, home to chef David Guas’s buttermilk beignets. Who wins? The decision is in your hands. Be sure to vote before 5.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 04/10/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Two pastry chefs put out impressive deep-fried pastries. Which fritters move on to the elite eight? By Jessica Voelker
The pastry chef at Cashion’s bases her doughnuts on an old Italian recipe. Photograph courtesy of Cashion’s.

Well, Washington, it’s pretty clear you are fans of doughnuts on a stick. Farmers market favorite Mac’s Donuts enjoyed a major victory over newcomer Zeke’s DC Donutz in Monday’s competition.

Now it’s time to pick between the puffs at Shaw market and restaurant Seasonal Pantry or those at Cashion’s in Adams Morgan, where you’ll find them at the bar during brunch. Seasonal Pantry pastry chef Naomi Gallego plays around with cool flavor combinations like pistachio-lemon Old Fashioned and banana with chocolate-caramel cream. Cashion’s dessert maven Lauren Bonfiglio takes a more classic approach, using an old Italian recipe to create her ethereal puffs. Who moves on? Cast your vote before 5.

Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 04/09/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()