The South’s Best Doughnuts

Hotel Tabard Inn
Washington, DC
Sometimes the best doughnuts aren’t found in a doughnut shop. Those in the know in DC head for the Hotel Tabard Inn for weekend brunch and don’t leave without an order of freshly made doughnuts topped with whipped cream that are almost always named DC’s best. The Tabard Inn serves more than doughnuts, but start there. And have some in the middle. And have some for dessert (or with dessert if you’re living dangerously). However you do it, just have some. But plan ahead because people really want these doughnuts. Brunch reservations usually fill up two to three weeks in advance. But if you’re willing to risk it, the bar at the Tabard Inn does serve these infamously addictive doughnuts to walk-in customers during brunch hours.

Gibson’s Donuts
Memphis, Tennessee
Gibson’s is an institution in Memphis because of the philosophy that went into its creation: to provide a sense of community, be a happy place, always welcome everyone, always smell good, and always have something that anyone can afford. It’s not an easy philosophy to live up to, but the folks at Gibson’s have been doing it 24 hours a day for more than 40 years. And are the doughnuts good? The glazed doughnuts are ethereally light, while the devil’s food is a rich chocolate crumb under a crackling glaze. The signature doughnut, though, is the New Orleans, a round ball of dough with the sour tang of buttermilk and a touch of nutmeg. And if you don’t mind a crowd, show up at 11 p.m. for the 25-cent daily doughnut clearance sale. Needless to say, it’s popular with the local college kids. And it’s a great way to make room for the
fresh batches coming out of the oven.



  1. Can’t believe HOLE doughnuts in Asheville didn’t make the list. They are amazing….always handmade and served hot.

  2. Another great donut shop not mention is The Donut Shoppe in Jacksonville, FL. Donuts made fresh everyday and if you snooze you lose because they sell out and only open until 2:00.

  3. I thought donuts were fried! Your article says fresh from the oven. Learn something new every day. In Orlando, I used to watch Krispy Cream donuts come down the conveyor belt from the fryer and under the sprayer that sprayed glaze on the hot donuts.

  4. Nice list, but not AT ALL complete without mention of Houston, TX’s Shipley Doughnuts or Shreveport, LA’s Southern Maid. These are two of the South’s–point blank, period!

  5. Elvis Presley endorsed exactly ONE product in his entire life: Shreveport’s Southern Maid Donuts. Nothing comes even close to a melt-in-your-mouth hot Southern Maid donut.


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