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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Game of Dones: A Blind Taste Test of 6 Doughnuts Including Reigning Champ Pharaoh

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The worthy contenders. | Jessica Lussenhop/Kelsey Meyer
  • The worthy contenders. | Jessica Lussenhop/Kelsey Meyer

Back in March, Gut Check bought five plain glazed doughnuts from five local shops and pitted them against one another in a blind taste test. Pharaoh's Donuts (200 North Seventh Street) beat out Strange Donuts, World's Fair Donuts, a doughnut of humble origins from Schnucks and Donut Drive-In. Were you, dear Gut Check reader, amused? You were not.

We received an onslaught of e-mails and comments challenging the validity of our little test and scolding us for omitting your favorite dones. Your cries of anguish did not fall on deaf ears. Today we bring you a second attempt -- we call it Game of Dones: A Song of Icing and Fried. We raced to the four corners of the county and city to bring back reader-suggested doughnuts and put them through a trial by combat with reigning champ Pharaoh. Who will claim the Iron Done?

See also: A Blind Taste Test of 5 Doughnuts Including Strange, World's Fair and, Yes, Schnucks

This time, our low-born doughnut was from QuikTrip, and it entered the arena against Old Town Donuts (510 North New Florissant Road, Florissant; 314-831-0907), Tony's Doughnuts & Ice Cream (12218 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights; 314-739-1388), Ray's Donuts (2542 South Brentwood Boulevard; 314-962-6210) and John Donut Co. (1618 South Broadway; 314-241-3360). So, how did they measure up?

As before, it should be noted that these weren't fresh and warm at 5 a.m.; we purchased them in the early afternoon. We also used plain glazed doughnuts to be able to compare, so places that specialize in cake doughnuts are at a disadvantage. These were decisions made of practicality and logistics.

RFT staffers sampled all six doughnuts without knowing which was which and ranked them according to taste. The votes were then tallied and the doughnuts revealed (and extras eaten!).

1. Pharaoh's Donuts 2. Old Town 3. QuikTrip 4. Ray's 5. Tony's 6. John

Pharaoh cut down all others in its path again with 38 out of 40 points, while Old Town came in second with 31 points. Surprisingly, QuikTrip came in third with 25 points followed by Ray's with 20 points. Tony's and John Donut Co. rounded out the bottom two.

Our takeaway is that you have got to get to Pharaoh. It recently reopened after a brief hiatus, but lucky for us, it's now open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Now, doughnut devotees, is your bloodlust sated? We expect likely not. Who should enter the contest next? Will there ever be a Pharaoh-slayer? Leave suggestions in the comments.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at

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