The doughnut dilemma — Krispy Kreme, Duck Donuts battle it out

How to navigate between the many choices of donuts


The road is curvy, but when the bright neon lights reading “Krispy Kreme” emerge, you hit the gas just a little harder.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

With their green dotted boxes and warm, freshly-made doughnuts, Krispy Kreme always reminds me of my childhood. My parents would buy boxes in the morning, and my brother and I would bargain to get two — or maybe three — doughnuts from the box in one sitting. We then warmed them up in the microwave to get that perfect melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Krispy Kreme proved this semester that you never outgrow the excitement when they brought hundreds of doughnuts to the Corner to promote their new opening — and just about every college student ran in that direction. I was excited to hear a Krispy Kreme was opening in Charlottesville, but I worried about the gourmet doughnut shop, Duck Donuts. Would Krispy Kreme be their new competition? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized Krispy Kreme and Duck Donuts are entirely different — so you should treat yourself to both from time to time.

One con to Charlottesville’s Krispy Kreme is that it is difficult to find. Locating Krispy Kreme is a like finding a gingerbread house in the middle of the woods. Located near Wegmans, the new doughnut shop’s location makes a visit difficult without a car. The road is curvy, but when the bright neon lights reading “Krispy Kreme” emerge, you hit the gas just a little harder.

The smell of doughnuts frying hits you as soon as you walk in. The store displays the conveyer belt where the doughnuts are glazed — so you can watch all that icing drip on the doughnuts and onto the floor. I’m sure more than one college student has considered licking the floor for that icing, because I sure did.

The classic Krispy Kreme doughnut is a plain, glazed doughnut that tastes like a cloud of sugar, but the shop also has a variety of others. My childhood favorite was the chocolate glazed doughnut. In my opinion, chocolate makes everything better, but I’m also a fan of the strawberry glazed. Krispy Kreme is known for the soft, light and fluffy texture of their doughnuts. But if you’re looking for a heavier doughnut, they also serve cake and crème-filled ones.

If Krispy Kreme is the picture-perfect, classic doughnut shop, then Duck Donuts is its eccentric counterpart — in the best way. Duck Donuts was founded in Duck, N.C., and then spread to neighboring states like Virginia. Its Stonefield shop seems closer to Grounds than Krispy Kreme, as it is a straight shot up Route 29 for any students needing a sweet fix. 

As opposed to an intricate conveyer belt, Duck Donuts ices and crafts each doughnut individually when ordered. Their gourmet doughnuts are made of quirky combinations that always seem to go together deliciously. A fan favorite, for example, is the maple bacon doughnut. This doughnut starts out sweet with the maple, and then the salt of the bacon hits your tongue — you have the perfect sweet and salty mix. The doughnuts at Duck Donuts are a little denser than Krispy Kreme, but this denseness does keep you from shoveling down four or five at one time.

For the month of October, Duck Donuts has Halloween-themed doughnuts such as a chocolate doughnut with Oreos and gummy worms and pumpkin with Halloween sprinkles. My personal favorites are the vanilla with coconut and hot fudge drizzle and the cinnamon sugar with vanilla drizzle. The coconut shavings on top of the hot fudge add a little extra sweetness to the doughnut, which is perfect if you have an enormous sweet tooth like me. Duck Donuts also offers make-your-own concoctions with your choice of coating, topping and drizzle.

If you’re in the mood for a more classic doughnut, there’s nothing better than a warm Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. But if you’re in the mood for something a little more whimsical, the unique flavor combinations of Duck Donuts will satisfy your cravings. With so many good options for doughnuts in Charlottesville, I say the more doughnuts the merrier.

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