The name Fōnuts (don't forget the macron) implies "faux," but there's nothing ersatz, derivative or watered down about pastry chef's Waylynn Lucas' upscale doughnut shop. Opened in late August on West Third Street in Chrysta Wilson's shuttered Kiss My Bundt storefront, the minimalist shop is nearly bare, except where it counts: the doughnut selection.
Los Angeles lost its best artisanal doughnut shop -- and yes, we are aware of how absurdly gentrified that concatenation of words sounds -- when Frittelli's in Beverly Hills closed. Those were bona fide doughnuts, made with organic blueberries and expertly conched chocolate, but immediately recognizable as doughnuts.
Fōnuts are another species altogether. These are closer to miniature cakes pressed into doughnut form: Soft and moist, they crumble apart in large, cakey chunks. Taxonomy notwithstanding, Lucas brings all the artistry and precision of the pastry chef's craft to bear on this, the traditional snack of cops, students and carb-crazed, sugar-starved Americans.
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The faux-doughnuts at Fōnuts are never too sweet or too dense, and they're made with good stuff. The zing of fresh fruit comes through in the lemon doughnut, glazed in a slightly tart white icing flecked with lemon zest, and in the subtle strawberry buttermilk. It's hard to go wrong with banana chocolate, perhaps one of the best flavor combos known to humanity, by Fōnuts goes very, very right with gooey chunks of banana and ample nuggets of chocolate.
They bear no resemblance to anything you'd find at Winchell's, but standouts among the 16 flavors include rum, chocolate hazelnut and, finally, the fresh, chewy, savory-sweet bacon maple doughnut this city deserves. The peanut butter and jelly, a golf ball-sized nugget dusted with powdered sugar and filled with a thick, sweet paste of PBJ, is a thing of beauty. Arrive early. Lucas often sells out of the most popular flavors by noon.
Whether or not Fōnuts can make a go of it in the high-rent West Third Street corridor -- a baker's dozen will set you back $38 -- Fōnuts offers up a very real treat.