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As sweets go — and I love my sweets — donuts are way down on the list. They’re one of the few sugary things that I will actually walk by. I can’t remember the last time I went on a donut run.

Which is not to say that I dislike them. They are, after all, sweet!

A donut FFF proved to be trickier than I anticipated. Comparing one or even two donuts per shop seemed kind of skimpy. And, other than the basic types, it can be difficult to match them up. So here’s how we’ll do it: I chose four each from Fray’s Donut House and St. Pete Bagel Co., and paired them up as well as I could. (Before some of you start squawking about it not being a fair fight, SPBC has a good rep for donuts and an extensive selection.)

I picked the donuts up in the noon hour on Tuesday, within about five minutes of each other, and brought them back to the FFF Lab & Photo Studio™ .

I’ll give a short description of each donut, and at the end pick a winner between the two competitors. Then I’ll choose the winning shop. And, finally, I’ll crown the donut that I liked best overall.


At 12:30 p.m., I stopped at the flagship store on 16th Street North in St. Pete — which opened in 1993 — and ordered through the takeout window because the dining room was closed.

Basic Cake Donut (no photo necessary)

I figured I’d start out with a baseline between the two combatants — the boring, beige, round donut with a hole in the middle. This one was indeed boring, hardly sweet at all (Bonnie reminded me that they aren’t supposed to be). But it was pretty moist and had an agreeably cakey texture.

Cream-Filled With Chocolate Frosting

Too light on the cream. But when I arrived at it, after a couple of big bites, the filling was lush and pudding-esque. The donut body had the right flakey-vs.-cakey ratio. The chocolate topping didn’t make much of an impression, but then, in my donut experience, it rarely does.


While it didn’t taste as chocolaty as it looked, this one had an earthy flavor that downplayed the sweetness — in a good way.

Big Brown Lumpy Thing

I dug this apple-and-cinnamon beast. The crunchy exterior gave way to soft innards. A light glaze on top added some extra sweetness. The Big Brown Lumpy Thing has a donut name, I’m sure, but I’m sticking with what I have decided to call it.


Fifteen minutes before close, SPBC, on 4th Street, had a decent selection of donuts remaining. While Fray’s put mine in a plain white bag, this store packaged them in a plain white box, closed it and taped it shut.

Basic Cake Donut (no photo necessary)

Boring, as expected. An appropriate lack of sweetness. Somewhat on the dry side. It had just a hint of spice — a spice that I couldn’t identify but could have done without.

Cream-Filled with Chocolate Frosting

While I give kudos to the white squiggle on top, this one was filled with whipped cream, uber-sweet whipped cream. That’s a non-starter. Pudding-esque is always better.

Chocolate Glaze (vs. Chocolate-on-Chocolate at Fray’s)

A gratifying blend of flavors. The glaze provided a pop of sweetness and some contrast to the chocolate base.

Apple-Cinnamon Fritter (vs. the Big Brown Lumpy Thing at Fray’s)

At least I think it’s called a fritter. The apple and cinnamon were well balanced, and I detected little bits of fruit. Could’ve been a bit more moist.

Now to the Judging …

Basic, Boring Cake Donut — Fray’s
Cream-Filled With Chocolate Frosting — Fray’s
Chocolate-on-Chocolate vs. Chocolate Glaze — SPBC
Big Brown Lumpy Thing vs. Apple-Cinnamon Fritter — Fray’s (a close call; I liked both)
Overall Winner — Fray’s
My Overall Favorite
Big Brown Lumpy Thing at Fray’s — Ain’t pretty, but sure is tasty.








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