On the Cheap: Union Square Donuts

Pastry perfected in Somerville
By LUKE PYENSON  |  March 5, 2013


My first maple-bacon donut was overnighted to my freshman-year roommate and me by his mother in Portland, Oregon. I hadn't had one since. But then in February, two locals — Josh Danoff of Culinary Cruisers, which sells kombucha and fancy fruit pops via bike carts, and Heather Schmidt of City Chicks, which hosts home-ec classes and parties — opened Union Square Donuts, plugging the gaping hole in our city's specialty donut market.

Say what you will about maple-bacon donuts. They're gimmicky. They're a dumb trend. They're unnecessary. Naysayers can keep hating — more maple-bacon goodness for the rest of us. The Union Square version is perfectly plump and yeasty, and not at all greasy. The maple glaze is subtle and light, and the bacon is perfectly proportioned. Yes, it's $3.50. I know I'm not alone when I say that I've dropped at least that much at a Dunkies in my lifetime. This donut is fully worth the indulgence.

I sampled every variety of donut on offer, heeding the reassuring voice in my head that crooned, "You're doing this for work." There were only three flavors besides the maple-bacon — honey-almond, cherry-hibiscus, and orange-ginger cream (all $3). The cherry-hibiscus looked like the archetypal Simpsons donut, sans sprinkles. It was the least assertive of the bunch, yet still satisfying and floral. The honey-almond was not overly sweet, as donuts of this ilk can sometimes be, and the honey glaze lent a pleasing density. I was least excited to try the orange-ginger cream, but this one ended up being my favorite. It's a total knockout — baked, covered in sugar like a jelly donut, and filled with a truly delightful citrus-kissed cream that tastes of real live ginger.

The man in front of me bought several boxes for his office; Danoff told him he was doing a "mitzvah." But he's got it mixed up. Union Square Donuts is doing a great mitzvah for us all. Mazel tov, guys. Your donuts rule.


EAT UP :: Union Square Donuts, 201 Somerville Ave, Somerville :: 617.702.2446 :: Thurs–Sun, 9 am to 3 pm

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