Donut Savant in downtown Oakland
When you’re known as “the best donut in Northern California,” there’s a certain pressure to deliver on your superlative sweets. But Laurel Davis isn’t one to shy away from pressure.
She is the co-owner of Donut Savant, located in Downtown Oakland. Davis, along with co-owner Danielle Feinberg, opened their Broadway shop in May of 2012, and people took notice.
With no formal training, Davis relies on the baking lessons learned from her grandmother and her love of the baking process (it has to be “exact and precise”) to create a unique assortment of donuts, which include the famous spicy Thai dust donuts (made from chilis), the chocolate bomb (with Irish whiskey), plus campfire favorites, S’mores and peanut butter cup.
If you’re looking for the standards, they have those, too – in a smaller, no-regret size that will still satisfy your donut desire, and not add to your waist.
To help wash down the decadent donuts, the shop serves coffee from Oakland-based America’s Best. Customers can linger in the retro-looking shop, which includes tables built by Davis and Feinberg’s photography lining the walls.
They have garnered numerous accolades, including the top prize from Food Network Canada “Donut Showdown.” To achieve victory, Davis had to create a donut that fit a “high school cafeteria” theme. But it’s not the awards that keep the dynamic donut duo motivated.
It’s their founding principle to provide a “high-quality, good-tasting product that everyone can afford,” according to Davis. But the best part about owning a donut shop?
“Invariably a customer comes in and eating a donut evokes memories of donuts from their youth,” she said. “It seems like everyone has a fond memory of donuts from their past. Being able to make something that brings back that sense of wonder and joy is such a great experience.”
And a great, sweet experience for the customer as well. Prices range from $0.50 to $2 for the treats.