On the Brown Low: Wait, there’s another gourmet donut place in town?

Welcome to On the Brown Low—a column dedicated to exploring all that the lovely city of Providence has to offer. Join me, Isabela Karibjanian, as I take you on a tour of all the hidden gems I find off College Hill!

Providence, like many cities, is having a bit of a donut moment. No, not the kind of moment like when Dunkin’ runs a buy one get one free promotion or when there are free donuts at a club meeting…it’s more of a “wow when did all of these gourmet donut shops get here?!” type moment. In the past, I’ve written about the East Side staple, PVDonuts, but this week I’m going to introduce you to a lesser-known local donut shop, Knead Doughnuts.

Knead Doughnuts is located right across the river from the Main Green, but it can be a bit tricky at first to find it. Hidden in a small alley (Custom House Street), in what first appears to be an office building, you wouldn’t necessarily know it was a donut shop without the large banner hanging from the outside. Once inside, the smell of their donuts is overpowering (in a good way), and you are greeted with a large counter filled with a dozen different kinds of donuts. Unlike PVDonuts, I’ve never experienced a wait at Knead, and I’ve always had more than enough time to debate the merits of ordering each type of donut. To help you decide, Knead even has a platter of samples for you to try by the register.

Knead is open every day of the week, from 8 am to 3 pm, and they never seem to run out of donuts. They sell several varieties, including “old fashioned,” cake, brioche, and filled. Knead also sells “fritters,” which are comprised of chopped up pieces of their brioche donuts, put together with either raspberry or spiced pear compote, and covered in glaze. The best donuts I’ve had at Knead (though, this is by no means an exhaustive list because I haven’t tried all of their offerings yet!) would have to be their classic chocolate cake donut (a dark chocolate donut with a vanilla glaze) or the cinnamon roll donut (which is basically a cinnamon roll turned into a brioche donut).

The store itself has a decent-sized seating area, where I’ve seen many people sit down to work with a donut, a cup of coffee, and a laptop. It’s a nice bright space, and there’s a window that shows the bakery in the back of the store, so you can watch as your favorite donuts are prepared. Personally, I don’t think I could ever work in Knead—I’d want to buy way too many donuts!

The last time I got Knead was for a club meeting, and as I carried the boxes of donuts back to campus with a friend, we were stopped by several people asking us for a donut or who just wanted to talk to us about how delicious Knead’s donuts are. If that’s not a sign of an up-and-coming donut shop, I don’t know what is! If you’re tired of the lines at PVDonuts or of them selling out of your favorite by the time you get to the front of the line, or if you just want to try some really tasty donuts, Knead is definitely worth a visit!

Is there something in Providence that you want to see covered here? Have any suggestions for my next adventure? Send me an email (isabela_karibjanian@brown.edu) to let me know!

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