What happens when two Burnsville best friends and vintage-shopping fiends go on a road trip? Stuff that puts a whole lot of heavy breathing in the Minneapolis’ donut scene.
Teresa Fox and Arwyn Birch are the best friends in question, and have been since they were 10 years old.
“We just always have liked the same things,” Fox told me. “Vintage-inspired anything, dressing like pin-ups, furniture, music, donuts. We were in Seattle, and took a trip to Portland, and one night we were standing in line for a donut for half an hour at 1:30 in the morning and got in the car to drive back to Seattle, and all of a sudden we were like: What if?! We talked the whole thing through in that three hour car ride. The concept really never changed. A couple months later we thought of the name: Glam Doll, and two years later, here we are.”
Here is the corner of Nicollet and 26th Street, in the heart of Eat Street, in that space attached to the Black Forest which has been everything from Strudel Noodle to Ly’s Vietnamese sandwich shop, and Glam Doll is just cute as rockabilly kittens, with vintage furniture, Intelligentsia coffee, and scads of cute and/or hipster donuts everywhere.
Real, real cute donuts! All the classic, simple, loved-by-kids-for-generations donuts are well-represented at Glam Doll, they make fresh, all day, classic fluffy raised-glazed yeast donuts, chocolate, or plain cake donuts modestly glazed or swirled with day-glo frosting, sprinkles, smashed up Heath Bars, or M&Ms. If you’re of the opinion that the first duty of a donut is to be good plain, Glam Doll has those good plain donuts. But if you’re a hipster thrill-seeker, well, they have those too.
Does Glam Doll have Long Johns topped with a full strip of bacon? You betcha! But everyone seems to have those these days, in the hipster donut revolution that has spread from Minnetonka (YoYo) to St. Paul (Mojo Monkey) and even had a healthy phase (in now-closed vegan-specialist Donut Cooperative). Now donuts have gone all sexy-time, in Uptown-adjacent Minneapolis, with the cleavage-and-Cat’s-eye-glasses-themed Glam Doll, which does it with bacon. And not just bacon, however, Glam Doll has what I think of as adventure donuts, including a cheese stuffed, curry glazed jelly donut-like creation, a Sriracha (SIR-rotch-ah) chili sauce splashed peanut-glazed donut, and a bourbon apple fritter made with real bourbon.
I’ve liked all the donuts I’ve tried at Glam Doll thus far, though I must admit the plain ones taste a little generic, without the nutty depth that distinguish YoYo‘s or A Baker’s Wife’s plainest efforts, or the ethereal buoyancy of Mojo Monkey’s. That said, I’d venture that the very best that Glam Doll does can go toe-to-toe with the best of the rest in town, and that very best is their raspberry-filled donut, a jelly-donut adorned with an adorable hand-drawn heart and filled with a loose, fresh, and very delicious and original fresh fruit puree. When you reach the raspberry filling you have to sort of jockey the thing around to avoid dripping it on yourself, and the filling is appropriately tart and lively, it contrasts with the fluffy dough and sticky glaze quite nicely, creating an immersive full-contact donut experience. Imagine the exact opposite of everything about a Matt’s Juicy Lucy, and you’ll get the idea. Fun.
When I talked to Fox she told me that Glam Doll, open mere weeks, is still in the process of refining their recipes and ingredients, and that the best is yet to come. I say this brand new shop has already cracked the top five Twin Cities donuts, just dislodging Sarah Jane’s Bakery in Northeast. (And I am not counting fried-to-order restaurant donuts, like those at Café Lurcat, or the Chef Shack mini-donuts, because I am not. If you want to count them, you have to make your own list, and factor in the savory bacon-infused donut holes from Union, too.)
Where were we? Oh yes, we were about to discuss sacrilege, because is it sacrilege to displace the after-church prim donuts of Sarah Jane’s with sexy donuts made by glamorous dames for the after-bar crowd? (Glam Doll stays open till 1 a.m. on the weekends, and has applied for an extended license to serve donuts till 2 a.m.). Whether it’s sacrilege or not, Glam Doll has come out of the gate strong, and should. As inspiration for all of us, take road trips with your best friend! It could change your life, and a city.
My New Top 5 Donuts in the Twin Cities:
3) A Baker’s Wife’s, 4200 28th Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-6898
4) Mel-O-Glaze, 4800 28th Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-9316