Classic Takeout: Johnny's Donuts

A Lafayette shop that's happily frozen in time

In the 22 years since Chang Ngauv assumed ownership of Johnny's Donuts, a lot has happened to rings of fried dough.

There are now donuts topped with bacon, pornographic donuts and donuts glazed right before your eyes.

But in our opinion, there are no better donuts in the Bay Area than those found at Johnny's, which occupies an unassuming space in a Lafayette strip mall. (A second location in Dublin is also owned by the Ngauv family.)

There, the Cambodia-born owner rolls the dough by hand, fills the Boston creams to order, and always seems to have a supply of warm, freshly fried golden ringsā€“at least until he sells out for the day, sometimes as early as 10 a.m.

The space itself is a time capsule, with worn booths, a long counter with Naugahyde-clad swivel seats, and terrible coffee served in Styrofoam cups. But remember, you didn't come here for the coffee.

In a refreshing nose-thumb to competitors, Johnny's makes only six varieties: old-fashioned, glazed, jelly, Boston cream, maple bars and apple fritters ($10 for a dozen). The unfilled donuts are crisp on the outside, fluffy within; the filled ones are pockets of plush dough that yield at the slightest provocation, revealing standard-issue jelly and cream fillings.

They are donuts, plain and simple, and they are the best around.

Johnny's Donuts, 3629 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 925-283-9352; and 7355 Village Pkwy., Dublin, 925-828-9252