Donuts, donuts, everywhere

A box of colorful donuts sitting on a counter from King Pin Donuts in Berkeley, California. The donut shop is located at 2521 Durant Ave. in Berkeley, by Downtown Berkeley BART Station.

We’ve rounded up our favorite BARTable donut locations in the East Bay. This box of colorful donuts is from King Pin Donuts in Berkeley. 

Whether it’s soft, fresh, chewy or cakey, donuts in the morning (or, let’s be honest, anytime of the day) always hits the spot. There’s nothing more comforting than biting into a sweet donut to put a smile on your face. Ride BART and explore some unique donut shops in the East Bay.

A worker at All Star Donuts is standing in the background  while a rack of freshly-baked doughnuts is displayed.

All Star Donuts is regular morning meeting spot for residents. The popular doughnut shop is located across the street from El Cerrito Plaza BART Station. 

All Star Donuts is a short, one-block walk from the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station. Donuts are served inside a warm and inviting setting.

Longtime customers Peter and Debbie compare this donut shot to the show “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name. “We come here every day to relax, enjoy a good cup of coffee and visit with other regulars.”

Recently remodeled, the interior is roomy and very accessible at street level and was designed with privacy in mind, so you can study, visit with friends or gather together for community meetings.

Racks of fresh, perfectly-rounded, raised-glazed donuts are the most popular item served here, but other items, such as custard-filled, maple or chocolate bars, will delight you.

A picture of the famous bear claw from All Star Donuts in El Cerrito. The shop is located by El Cerrito Plaza BART Station.

All Star Donuts in El Cerrito is a favorite among locals. The bear claw (pictured above) is a must try. 

At All Star Donuts, huge bear claws have paws (it is Cal Bear territory) and are filled with bite-sized pieces of gooey apples. Fans of cinnamon twists (my favorite) will find that these pastries are generously loaded with savory cinnamon.  

Huge croissants are also on the menu and are served plain or filled with ham and cheese. English muffin and bagel sandwiches are made to order.

A maple bacon cake doughnut from King Pin Donuts sits on top of a pink doughnut box.

The maple bacon cake donut (pictured above) always sells out early at King Pin Donuts in Berkeley.

King Pin Donuts is a moderate walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Head south on Shattuck Avenue toward Allston Way, and take a left on Durant Avenue. If you prefer to enjoy the sites of the university, walk up Bancroft Way to Telegraph Avenue, turn right and proceed one block to Durant Avenue.

Established in 1939, King Pin serves the college student community seven days a week and is open 20 hours a day. Baking begins at 6pm to accommodate the late-night crowd who depend on donuts to get them through writing papers and studying for finals, or for those who want a late-night bite.

A display counter at King Pin Donuts shows off trays of freshly-baked doughnuts.

King Pin Donuts opened in 1939 and has been offering fresh-baked deliciousness ‘round the clock. The shop is open from 7am to 2am daily.

King Pin Donuts has a following and draws customers from close by and from afar. A pastry chef from Petaluma I met there (purchasing a variety of donuts inside a pink box) told me she drove to this donut shop at midnight one night just to sink her teeth into a hot, raised-glazed, fresh from the fryer!

Although King Pin Donuts is small (two tables inside and accessibility in a wheelchair is tight), it’s always busy so plan to wait in line to order your rustic-looking, extra fancy apple fritters, fancy raspberry jelly donuts, or regular cake donuts such as old-fashioned or chocolate cake donuts with coconut, nuts or sprinkles on top.

Try something new – a popular maple bacon cake donut that always sells out early.

The store entrance to Powderface Cafe. People are waiting in line to order.

Powderface Face is located 41 steps away from the Fruitvale BART Station. 

Powderface Cafe is located just 41 steps from the Fruitvale BART Station fare gates.

At Powderface, you will find upscale New Orleans French donuts called beignets, made to order, where you can watch the entire process from start to finish. Sink your teeth into a hot, crispy beignet, fresh from the fryer. Here, you call the powder (dusting of powdered sugar or cinnamon). Add chocolate or caramel as well for the finale.

A freshly-baked pastry is pictured next to an espresso drink at Powderface Cafe near Fruitvale BART Station.

The New Orleans-inspired Powderface Café offers the best BARTable beignets to those that came through its doors. 

Imagine yourself in New Orleans inside this quaint, quiet and relaxing indoor/outdoor setting.  Listen to soft music and enjoy the wide variety of artwork (and photographs of visitors getting powdered) as you savor your beignet at one of the numerous tables, all arranged so you don’t feel crowded and are very accessible for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers too. 

Enjoy your tasty treat with a variety of coffees to choose from on the menu board. Customers enjoy the Mexican Spiced Mocha. Another favorite is the robust Lava Drip coffee.

An espresso drink is sitting on a counter at Powderface Cafe.

The Mexican Spiced Mocha is a favorite among Powderface Café customers. 

Watch the busy BART trains as they stop here at Fruitvale Village and travel overhead along the tracks through the many windows that allow natural sunlight to fill the premises. Order some beignets to go on your way out to share with friends!

Mornings are the busiest times at Powderface.

1. All Star Donuts

3070 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Nearest BART Station: 
El Cerrito Plaza
Monday to Friday 5am-7pm; Saturday and Sunday, 5:30am-6pm

2. King Pin Donuts

2521 A Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Nearest BART Station: 
Downtown Berkeley
Daily, 7am-2am

3. Powderface Cafe

3411 East 12th St. #134
Oakland, CA 94601
Nearest BART Station: 
Fruitvale (Oakland)
Monday to Friday, 5am-8pm; Saturday and Sunday, 7am-6pm
Nearest BART Station: 
El Cerrito Plaza
Nearest BART Station: 
Downtown Berkeley
Nearest BART Station: 
Fruitvale (Oakland)

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Author: Janice Armigo Brown
Janice Armigo Brown, a freelance writer, has always called the East Bay home. She can be found exploring the Bay Area on BART when not working in Special Education or volunteering on the BART Accessibility Task Force. Janice also spends time with her husband and two cats, Cinder and Tippy.

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