San Francisco: A Flavor Tour of Dynamo Donuts

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

San Francisco's Mission District is still somewhere in that transitional phase where the vast majority of storefronts are still old-school taquerias and Mexica-tessans, but the hipsters and artisans have slowly started encroaching with a mix of a few duds and plenty of truly fantastic and uniquely delicious eateries (think Flour + Water or Bi-Rite Creamery). Dynamo Donuts falls firmly into the latter category, serving freshly fried, doughy, yeasty, chewy doughnuts.


On weekend mornings, lines form at the outdoor walk-up window and don't seem to die down until well into midday, with young urbanites forming the majority of the clientele. They line up for unique flavors like passionfruit milk chocolate or lemon Sichuan. Last Sunday, I went and sampled every doughnut on the menu, and left duly impressed.

With a few exceptions, they're flavors that if attacked with a heavy hand could come off as clumsy and overwrought. Dynamo is neither of these things, showing impressive restraint with even their most ambitious combinations.


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Like good pasta, doughnuts are a balance of stretch, structure, and tenderness. Aside from the chocolate versions, which border on fudgy and dense, the doughnuts themselves are remarkably light, with just the right level of play, giving you a bit of chew without becoming heavy.

The best part: For some reason, most people tend to get their doughnuts to-go. Perhaps they're unaware of the sunny, quiet garden seating in the back of the shop? I can't imagine a nicer place to spend a lazy Sunday morning. Not that tasting your way through a baker's dozen of doughnuts is particularly lazy...

Peep the slideshow above for a full lineup of a typical Sunday's worth of flavors.

Dynamo Donuts

2760 24th Street, San Francisco CA 94110 (map) 415-920-1978;