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What’s up with the recent boom in doughnut shops in Bend?

Just about anyone with a sweet tooth loves doughnuts, of course. But even aficionados must be surprised by the proliferation of stores specializing in the tasty treat that have sprung up in recent months, bringing the total in town, by this writer’s count, to seven. (That does not include doughnuts crafted at full-service bakeries and supermarket kitchens.)

I’m not going to rate these shops. I will note some contrasts between them, but I realize that personal preference guides what makes a doughnut “good.” I like dense cake in an old-fashioned doughnut and much lighter dough in a glazed doughnut, but I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way.

I set out to sample the same three doughnuts at each shop that I visited. It wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated. Not every shop makes an old-fashioned doughnut, for instance, so I had to settle for the nearest equivalent. And I didn’t consider maple bars, cinnamon twists, apple fritters or other pastries. I looked at doughnuts, pure and simple.

Most of Bend’s doughnut shops open early (as early as 4:30 a.m.) and close by mid-afternoon (some as early as 2 p.m.). The exception to the rule is Glazed and Amused, a mobile kitchen parked downtown on Greenwood Avenue; its hours are 6 p.m. to midnight, four nights a week. Clearly, its night-owl clientele sets it apart from the competition.

— Reporter: janderson@

1. Delish Donuts

Occupying a storefront in the Bend River Promenade, Delish Donuts has been around since early 2010. I most enjoyed the standard glazed doughnut here. It was moist and doughy, and not too sweet. It could give Krispy Kreme — a popular national doughnut chain — a run for its money.

The glazed old-fashioned was a little denser; I was told I could only get the unglazed by special order. But it maintained the light crunch that I love in the original variety.

I liked the snowball, a chocolate-cake doughnut topped with lots of shredded coconut. But I passed on the Delish special, a fancy maple-and-chocolate-glazed concoction topped with crushed peanuts. It’s called the Nutty Buddy.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, Delish Donuts bakes an afternoon batch of doughnuts served at 3 p.m.

That’s perfect for folks who want to pick up a dozen and bring them home to the family for breakfast the next day.

2. The Dough Nut

The Dough Nut fills a tiny space on Galveston Avenue, between the Brother Jon’s and 10 Barrel pubs. If good beer inspires your sweet tooth, you don’t have far to go.

Everything here is made from scratch in the back of the little shop, and ownership declares all doughnuts vegan-friendly, made with no trans-fat or corn syrup. Orders made a day in advance are delivered at no charge within a two-mile radius of the shop, and that includes downtown Bend.

The Dough Nut doesn’t make old-fashioned doughnuts, and I was told that it’s unlikely it will do so in the near future. It does make decent glazed doughnuts, however, and its snowball was the best I sampled among several shops.

But I thought the chai-spice glazed doughnut, one of several choices of fancy cake doughnuts, was only so-so.

The shop has begun advertising a pizza doughnut, topped with tomato and cheese. I may give that one a pass.

3. Glazed and Amused

Glazed and Amused occupies a mobile kitchen at Greenwood Avenue and Hill Street, just outside the Midtown Ballroom. Everything here is made from scratch as you wait, and that wait can range from 10 minutes when walk-up traffic is light to a half-hour or more when crowds gather late at night.

The menu is not like that of any other local doughnut shop. You might, for instance, consider Death by Monkeys, which features bananas sautéed in cinnamon and brown sugar, then drizzled with peanut butter, honey and crushed animal crackers. A Coco Loco offers Guinness chocolate brownies and Cocoa Krispies on dark chocolate frosting with additional chocolate drizzle. The savory General Lee has sausage gravy and bacon.

I had a Pie Hole, which was basically a large cake doughnut with an apple-pie filling. It was topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a small crumble of graham crackers, with a drizzle of whiskey-infused caramel. It was rich, sweet and made for sharing.

4. Luvs Donuts

Luvs opened in January on the ground floor of The Oxford Hotel, in the space once occupied by an art gallery. So it’s fitting that its bakers regard doughnuts as works of art.

Indeed, the art of doughnut-making may be viewed by pedestrians through large windows on Minnesota Avenue, just to the left of the boutique hotel’s main doors.

Glazed, old-fashioned and maple-covered doughnuts are produced every day, although the old-fashioned variety is prepared with a light glaze of subtle lemon flavor. (I prefer mine unglazed.)

There’s nothing especially complicated about most of the doughnuts at Luvs. I liked the cake in the glazed doughnut, although I found the glaze too heavy. The snowball boasted rich, fudgy cake, but I thought it was a little short on shredded cococnut.

I did indulge, as well, in a house specialty: the maple bacon doughnut. Frosted with maple and topped with crispy bacon, broken into modest pieces, it was delicious.

5. Richard’s Donuts & Pastries

Richard’s has been a south-side institution for many years, and they’ve got service down to a science. The spacious shop has plenty of room for patrons to sip cups of coffee and enjoy their sweet treats, but most of the action is at the counter, where two or three employees take orders — yes, you may point at what you want — and deliver them quickly.

No other shop that I visited had more than a single attendant.

Basic cake doughnuts here are just 99 cents apiece. My three basic choices were all very good. The cake of the old-fashioned was dense but not too heavy, perfect for dipping with coffee. The glazed doughnut was very light, and it had an excellent icing, not too sweet.

There was no snowball doughnut, but I found one with a chocolate-coconut glaze. I thought it was a little dry, but a friend described it as moist. That was a perfect example of how doughnut eaters’ perceptions can vary.

6. Sweetheart Donuts

Located on Third Street just south of the railroad bridge, Sweetheart has something that no other Bend doughnut shop offers: a drive-through window. It’s a little more expensive than other local shops (an old-fashioned, for instance, is $1.49), but the extra convenience may be worth it to many patrons.

I liked the old-fashioned here. The cake was dense but moist, and it had a nice crunchy coat. The glazed doughnut was a little heavier than I prefer, however, and I found its icing to be overly sweet.

There were no snowballs, so I ordered a raspberry jam-filled doughnut. Similar to the glazed doughnut, but with the added confectionary touch, it was sweet and juicy.

7. Go Donuts

The sign is up for this shop, which is scheduled to open around the time this story is published. It occupies the former Papa John’s Pizza outlet in the Erickson’s Market block on Northeast Greenwood Avenue near Eighth Street. No other information is available at this time.