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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

No crumbs left behind: The Nashville Underground Donut Tour

Celebrating their first birthday in Nashville, the Underground Donut Tour takes you on a donut-filled stroll through Music City.
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Eigen Escario
A delicious box of donuts from the first stop—Parlor Doughnuts, as photographed on Oct. 9, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Eigen Escario)

What do you get when you mix a hot girl walk with enough donuts to serve a small town? The Nashville Underground Donut Tour, of course! The tour company was founded over seven years ago in Chicago but has since spread nationwide and worldwide. Getting ready to celebrate their first anniversary in Music City, the Nashville tour has become one of their most successful routes. Our guides, Tracey and Kipp, gave us behind-the-scenes info on all of the best pastry-related insider stories and rich history our beloved Nashville has to offer. 

The tour itself lasted just over two hours. We traveled as a group of around 20 people and made four sweet stops along the way. Each person was allowed one free beverage or coffee for the day. As for donuts, we sampled a large variety of sizes and flavors. One thing is for sure; no one returned to campus hungry! 

The authors as photographed with their Parlor doughnuts on Oct. 9, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Jorie Fawcett)
The authors as photographed with their Parlor doughnuts on Oct. 9, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Jorie Fawcett) (Jorie Fawcett)

Parlor Doughnuts

We started off the tour in downtown Nashville’s Parlor Doughnuts, a specialty pastry shop that serves croissant-style, layered doughnuts. Their doughnuts are freshly-baked in their West End location and shipped to their downtown location in small batches all morning. 

One of their best-sellers, the Blueberry Hill donut, hit just right on a crisp, Sunday morning: masterfully airy and perfectly glazed. The consistency of the dough is reminiscent of newly-made Italian bread served at a fancy restaurant, beautifully chewy with a crust to die for. The “blueberry” on top was little candied blueberries coated in the glaze resting atop the scrumptious dessert. The glaze and toppings were subtle enough to let the dough shine as the star of the show—definitely a 9.5/10.

Rise

Originating in Durham, North Carolina, Rise serves freshly made southern biscuits, “righteous” chicken sandwiches and donuts. They have since expanded to two Nashville locations to make their mark on the foodie city. 

We were served a variety of their most popular donuts and biscuits: mini beignets, cinnamon sugar, apple fritter and, our favorite, the cheerwine donut. Cheerwine is a North Carolina specialty soda that has a unique fizzy, cherry taste, so tasting it in a donut version was definitely a unique experience. It had a good consistency and the cherry flavor was not overpowering. The mini beignets were perfectly poppable with a sugared outside and gooey inside. Although we give this stop a 7/10 overall, their lunch menu and Cheerwine donuts are definitely calling us back for a second visit. 

D’Andrews Bakery & Cafe

While we were becoming quite full, we somehow made room for more sweet treats at our third stop, D’Andrews Bakery. Serving food ranging from pastries to sandwiches made in-house, David Andrews, a trained chef from New York City, owns this hidden gem. The exterior of D’Andrews Bakery and Cafe featured clean white and blue accents while the interior possessed a warm, golden aesthetic. 

Our first step inside had us swooning at the heavenly aroma of freshly baked pastries. At this stop, Nikki tried a hot cappuccino while Jorie was still holding onto warmer weather and ordered an iced latte. Both drinks were rich, creamy and had the perfect level of sweetness. Tracey then served us the D’onut, a sugared brioche-style donut filled with vanilla cream. Even being a total cream donut snob, the D’onut surpassed all of our expectations. Unlike the soggy or overly soft exterior often seen with cream-filled donuts, the exterior was beautifully browned and dipped in crystal sugar particles, making a subtle, crispy crunch when you bite into it. The dough had an unbelievably soft, moist texture, and we could actually taste the layers of butter within it. While soft, it was not too doughy, striking the perfect balance between dense and airy. The vanilla cream was decadent. It was light and not too sweet, and the texture was incredibly creamy and smooth. Achieving a beautiful harmony of different textures, this place is a must. The D’onut is an enthusiastic 10/10.  

Donut Distillery

Donut Distillery is an adorable donut spot nestled in Assembly Food Hall that serves up tiny “cake” style donuts. In contrast to some of the other donut places we tried, Donut Distillery donuts are fun-sized—about two inches in diameter—and dense and cakey in texture. 

We sat at the high tables by the windows of Assembly Food Hall overlooking Broadway and feasted on these beauties. We tried the double chocolate donut—a cake donut topped with chocolate icing, chocolate crumbles and a chocolate drizzle. It boasted the richest icing of the donuts we tried. As a cake donut, it felt like the perfect “dessert” after a day full of donuts. 

Donut Distillery is particularly known for “The Homer,” a classic donut with pink icing and sprinkles inspired by The Simpsons. We also had the chance to try a strawberry lemonade cake donut featuring a sweet strawberry glaze with tangy sprinkles. The moist cake and toppings left us feeling like we had taken a bite of summer. Donut Distillery was the perfect end to the day and left us as stuffed as we needed to be to say our goodbyes. These mini treats brought home a 9/10 to end the day. 

After two long hours of exploring the city and leaving no donut crumbs behind, it was time to say our goodbyes—but not without picking out some merch first. Each participant was given adorable stickers and a pin before we chatted with our guides for a few more minutes. The Underground Donut Tour is the perfect activity if you want to get out and explore Music City. The best part? You don’t have to leave your sweet tooth at home. 

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About the Contributors
Jorie Fawcett, Editor-in-Chief
Jorie Fawcett ('25) is from Tiffin, Ohio, and studies secondary education and sociology in Peabody College. She previously served as Managing Editor and Life Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her teaching, reading or pretending to study at Local Java or Suzie's. You can reach her at [email protected].
Veronica Tadross, Senior Staff Writer
Veronica Tadross ('25) is majoring in economics and history and minoring in Arabic in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Long Island, N.Y., and you can reach her at [email protected].
Eigen Escario, Former Staff Photographer
Eigen Escario ('26) is from Birmingham, Alabama. He is majoring in human and organizational development with a double major in computer science and minoring in business in Peabody College. In his spare time, Eigen enjoys taking ballroom lessons with his friends and handling the livestream for Vandy Ice Hockey.
Nikki Weitzenhoffer, Former Staff Writer
Nikki Weitzenhoffer ('25) is majoring in history and public policy studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, Nikki can be found fueling her coffee addiction at local cafes or riding her horse! She can be reached at [email protected].
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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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Jason
1 year ago

This tour looks awesome!! And sounds delicious!