In an unapologetically old school donuttery just west of the Missouri Botanical Garden, World’s Fair Donuts owners Terry and Peggy Clanton have been cranking out some of the world’s best donuts for 40-plus years.
World’s Fair Donuts is located at corner of Vandeventer and Shaw (1904 Vandeventer to be exact … get it?), and though it doesn’t exactly have the curb appeal of the newer, seemingly cooler donut shops, it’s an absolute must stop. The creaky screen door, hand-painted open/closed sign and antique cash register only add to its charm. You may think you’ve stepped into a time warp, but this is a traditional donut shop at its finest — no frills, no fuss.
Speaking of which, World’s Fair Donuts is cash-only, but the donuts are so inexpensive you don’t need much. A variety dozen of these sweet, doughy treats set us back just slightly more than $7.
Trust us when we say it doesn’t get much better than this heavenly, fluffy, yeasty beauty. Unlike a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut, which is about like eating cotton candy (otherwise known as biting into air with little to no substance), this has to be the tallest, thickest glazed donut we’ve ever tried to fit our mouths around. That’s what she said!? Anyway, it’s substantial without being dense or chewy. We also liked that the gooey, pillowy Glazed Donut isn’t so greasy and sweet that you develop a sugar hangover an hour after breakfast. In that case, we’ll take a half dozen each.
Chocolate Long John
At last, we found a Chocolate Long John on which the icing isn’t caked on too thick that you can’t taste the donut itself. Like the Glazed Donut, the Chocolate Long John isn’t super sugary or greasy. It’s irresistibly thick and fluffy with a proper ratio of donut to frosting. Oh, and speaking of that decadent, smooth, creamy glaze, it’s just chocolaty enough without being too overwhelmingly rich to still be considered breakfast rather than dessert.
Buttermilk Cake Donut
A World’s Fair Donuts staple, the Buttermilk Cake Donut is known for its sweet vanilla flavor and signature soft crumbs. It’s dense and subtly rich, which is exactly what you want and expect in a cake donut. With a crisp edge and moist center, the Buttermilk Cake Donut is the ideal textural juxtaposition from the Glazed Donut, so you’d better get one of each for good measure.
Powdered Sugar Donut
The Powdered Sugar Donut at World’s Fair Donuts is similar to the Hostess version, but bigger, fresher and tastier. Like the Buttermilk Cake Donut, the Powdered Sugar Donut starts with a thick, moist, buttery cake dough but rather is finished with a dousing of snowy powdered sugar. Sweet flavor and cakey texture … what’s not to love?
If you’re like us and reserve your donut-devouring for the weekends, Sunday is the pick day. We were 0 for 2 when trying to snag on a dozen Glazed Donuts on a couple different Saturday mornings, regardless how early or late we went. However, we could have walked away with a couple dozen if we so desired when we switched it up and went on a Sunday. Whichever day you visit, World’s Fair Donuts surely won’t disappoint.
If You Go …
World’s Fair Donuts
1904 S Vandeventer Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110