Cardigan Donuts: My Holy Grail

Do you ever have a donut you dream about? That you frequently crave out of nowhere?

I do.

It’s the old fashioned from Cardigan Donuts in Minneapolis. This donut is my holy grail. It’s the one I tell friends to try. It’s the donut I suggest to anyone who works downtown Minneapolis, is visiting downtown Minneapolis, or is willing to just drive downtown for the best donut in the state.

Back when I used to work downtown Minneapolis in a building connected to the skyway system, I remember seeing a sign about a donut shop opening soon. I of course got excited, and I didn’t even know if the donuts would be good.

Turns out, they weren’t good. They were great.

For my money, you won’t find a better donut shop in Minnesota than Cardigan. They do the classics really well — in addition to the aforementioned old fashioned, their cake donuts, fritters, and more are all awesome — but they also elevate the game with their specialty donuts. Earlier today, I saw a post on their Instagram account about their pumpkin old fashioned, which I’ll definitely go out of my way to pick up next week on my way to work. Other specialties include their vanilla blossom, lemon poppyseed lavender old fashioned (one of my all-time favorites of their specialties), salted cookie dough, and more.

Despite the pandemic significantly decreasing the amount of foot traffic in the skyway the past few years, Cardigan has not only survived, but thrived. It recently opened a second location, in the IDS Center a few blocks away, that also serves ice cream. You can order a donut ice cream sandwich. Need I say more?

Cardigan does offer more than donuts, including their oatmeal bowls, and they have several coffee and kombucha offerings as well. But the star of the show is, of course, the donuts. When I worked downtown, I’d often have the impulse to walk through the skyway to grab one. Sometimes my coworkers would join, because they recognized Cardigan’s greatness, but sometimes I’d make the solo trek. It was a blessing (good donuts) and a curse (my waistline) to be in such close proximity to Cardigan. A coworker and I went frequently enough that we got to know the owner a bit, and we filmed a video of a donut drone delivery (which they don’t actually offer; it was an April Fools video).

In this donut blogger’s opinion (now that I have this blog, I’ll reference myself as a donut blogger whenever I get the change), you won’t find better donuts in Minnesota. The only donut shop I’ve been to that rivals Cardigan for me is Blue Star Donuts, which has locations on the West Coast but none near us. But even Blue Star doesn’t have a donut that I hold in as high of regard as the old fashioned from Cardigan.

If you’ve never been to Cardigan Donuts, find a time to go. They do deliver if you live close enough to downtown (I don’t 😔). Be sure to get the old fashioned, but try a few of the other flavors as well. You can’t go wrong.

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