World's Best Donuts

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World's Best Donuts
World's Best Donuts.jpg
Restaurant information
Established 1969
City Grand Marais, Minnesota

World's Best Donuts is a doughnut shop and American restaurant in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It is located along the waterfront of Lake Superior. World's Best Donuts is an independent family-owned business established in 1969 by Merieta Altrichter. The shop has been featured in Minnesota Monthly and The New York Times, both of which described the shop's donuts as living up to the business's name.[1][2]


The donut business was started in 1969 by Merieta Altrichter as Grand Marais Donuts. Altrichter was also working a minimum wage day job paying $2/hour and made the doughnuts by hand as a way of supplementing her income. She would rise early in the morning, make the doughnuts and leave a friend to sell them as she went to her job at a department store during the day. In the beginning, the shop was called Grand Marais Donuts and was based out of a small building that is now a part of the Dockside Fish Market. The business began to grow and was relocated to Joynes' Bargain Barn. In 1975 Altrichter was able to quit her day job and started working full-time making and selling doughnuts in the summer.

In 1977 the business was moved into its current location on Wisconsin Street and the name was changed to World's Best Donuts, a nod to the rave reviews that customers from all over the country had been giving to Altrichter's doughnuts for years. A decade later, an oven was added and a new addition was built to allow for more seating. This new area constitutes the coffee room, which is filled with red and white tables and booths, each decorated with a manifold of photos featuring customers showing off the shop's branded coffee cup.

Over time, Altrichter's family grew and so did their involvement in the business. Upon moving into their new location on Wisconsin Street, Altrichter's daughters, Sherrie and Donnie, began working at the shop. Soon, her son-in-law, Chet, followed suit. As they grew up, Altrichter's granddaughters too helped out with the family business, wiping down tables from the age of 4 or 5. In 2002, at the age of 79, Altrichter announced that she planned to retire and the shop would shut down. Shocked and dismayed, her granddaughters, who were now grown up, announced that if she was going to leave the business, they would take it over. Since then, Stacey and Dee have taken charge of the business. In 2008, Altrichter died, but the business has continued to be a family affair with four generations still involved in the shop, carrying on the legacy that Altrichter left.

Awards and mentions[edit]

In 1997, The New York Times mentioned World's Best Donuts, saying, "This really is The World's Best Donut."[2]

In 2007, Minnesota Monthly mentioned World's Best Donuts, saying, "The Grand Marais Donut Shop changed its name after customers kept telling them they had the 'best doughnuts in the world.' They're probably right."[1]

In 2012, NPR mentioned World's Best Donuts in an article detailing some of best places in the country to get donuts in the summer.[3]

In 2012, World's Best Donuts was awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence as an outstanding hospitality business.[4]

World's Best Donuts has also been featured in numerous national travel guide books including National Geographic's The 100 Best Affordable Vacations,[5] Lonely Planet's USA's Best Trips,[6] and Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to the Best Barbeque Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gihring, Tim. "Epicurean Expedition". Minnesota Monthly. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hampl, Patricia. "Small Is Beautiful; Grand Marais, Minn.". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Wolf, Bonny. "Since When Does Summer Taste Like Doughnuts?". NPR. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Wooldridge, Jane (2011). The 100 Best Affordable Vacations. National Geographic Books. p. 88. ISBN 9781426207181. 
  6. ^ Benson, Sara (2010). USA's Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries Across America. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781741797350. 
  7. ^ Stern, Jane and Michael (2014). Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 900 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More. Random House LLC. ISBN 9780770434533. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]