kingpin donuts

Just off Berkeley’s famous Telegraph avenue is a tiny plaza packed with well-worn wooden tables. Neon signs advertise everything from bucatini to barbecue to boba. Pigeons crowd the ground, eager to clean up after students seeking solace from the dining halls.

On the southeast corner of the plaza lies a local legend. Scents of frying oil and sugary glaze beckon from the open door. The display case is packed with sprinkle-crusted rings, shiny buttermilk bars, and deep-hued apple fritters. This is Kingpin Donuts.

Hole in The Wall

We first came to the Bay Area as undergrads at UC Berkeley. Eating on a student budget, we spent many a night in this magical plaza. And like many generations of Cal Bears before us we were drawn
in by the deep fried magic on that southeast corner.

Kingpin always offered fantastic people watching. Drunk partygoers. Frantic finals crammers. Families headed to the Big Game. And be it 1pm or 1am, a real-life wizard could always be seen in the window—his wooden chopsticks working their magic with zen-like grace.

A Day At The Shop

Room for all

In an era of yelping, gramming, and toking, donut shops like Kingpin stand firm. Their menus haven’t changed in decades. They don’t care if you are a Peace and Conflict Studies major or a College Republican. The door is always open. The donuts are always hot.

Thank you donut wizard behind the window for keeping the rings golden. You remind us that sometimes the most important food doesn’t have micro-green garnishes or Michelin stars. The most important food is the food that creates community.