The spice-covered, cream cheese-filled “everything bagel” doughnuts clogging everyone’s Instagram feeds have become a media sensation in D.C. — though only part of the origin story has been reported so far.
Local and national media (Twitter trumpeted the culinary mash-up based on a Washington Post article, increasing its national exposure) have attributed the captivating pastry almost exclusively to B Doughnut, a Virginia-based company that opened a pop-up shop at Union Market on July 11. Be it implicitly or explicitly, consumers get the impression that B Doughnut is the only such purveyor in town.
In actuality, Barracks Row’s own District Doughnut introduced everything bagel doughnuts to D.C. proper. Beginning in late May, the novelty doughnut appeared occasionally before being added to District Doughnut’s daily menu on June 15.
District Doughnut’s version is a standard-sized doughnut without a hole, filled with a whipped cream cheese mixture that’s less tangy and dense than conventional cream cheese. It’s the first savory doughnut made by the three-year-old company, voted best doughnut shop by Washington City Paper readers in 2016 and 2017.
District Doughnut executive pastry chef and co-owner Christine Schaefer tells Eater her goal was to modify the bagel and cream cheese duo into a “lighter version with a little more flavor.” She added “secret” ingredients to complement the flavor and texture of the yeast dough base.
B Doughnut co-owners Brian and Pin Chanthapanya created their version of the everything doughnut in Baltimore, Maryland; they opened their first store there in October 2015. The company specializes in malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts popular in Hawaii. The basic malasada recipe makes generous use of eggs, plus milk and/or cream; In B Doughnut’s case, the resulting texture is airy, pliant, buttery, and evocative of a croissant interior, especially when the doughnut is freshest.
The everything bagel doughnut became the company’s signature item during its first year in operation.
“When we opened our Baltimore store, we were new to doughnuts and ours were nontraditional,” Brian Chanthapanya tells Eater. “There were no holes, no sweet glaze and no sugar coating. We didn’t sell any other breakfast items, but our customers started asking for bagels.” The couple closed the Maryland store in late 2016 and relocated to Loudoun County, Virginia, where they reside today.
According to the company website, the Chanthapanyas claim to have “pioneered” the everything bagel doughnut — an assertion followed by the parenthetical qualifier, “some will contest this, they chuckle.”
The first documented incarnation may come from Fiorello Dolce Patisserie of Huntington, New York, which created a proprietary Frenagel by adding cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning to a French doughnut. Fiorello Dolce released this in March 2015, well ahead of B Doughnut’s January 2016 announcement of its then-new addition.
The following month, the Doughnut Project captured New York City’s attention when it brought its interpretation to market. Customers reportedly went “bonkers” when a Sag Harbor shop offered an everything bagel doughnut on its August 2016 opening menu.
B Doughnut currently serves its everything bagel doughnut three ways: with chives, bacon, or lox. It’s available at Union Market until Sunday, August 13, but typically sells out before closing time, especially on weekends.
Meanwhile, the everything bagel doughnut will remain on the menu indefinitely at District Doughnut’s Capitol Hill and Georgetown stores.