There is a storm brewing along the Jersey Shore. As the summer inches closer and closer, eager beachgoers are looking to start their mornings the only way they know how: donuts. The donut is the quintessential beach-trip breakfast. A flimsy white cardboard box on a shore house’s kitchen counter harbors sugary morsels with just enough energy to get you through a morning of sunbathing and wave riding. While there are plenty of bakeries to choose from, the fight for our favorite Jersey Shore donut shop rages on.
With that, we’ve narrowed it down to three frontrunners. These shops are Jersey Shore legends, but which one will stand out amongst the rest? We’ll let you decide.
Uncle Dood’s Donuts
Toms River, NJ
A small hole-in-the-wall behind an empty copy center in Downtown Toms River is home to what some locals might call the best donuts at the Jersey Shore. Uncle Dood’s has been slinging donuts to the Toms River crowd since the early 2010s with no signs of slowing down. The shop is always looking to push the boundaries of their craft-even collaborating with local restaurant Burger 25 on a cheeseburger sandwiched between two donuts. Uncle Dood’s is such a New Jersey landmark that it’s gotten national attention from Thrillist and The Daily Meal’s donut roundups.
Uncle Dood’s donuts are cake donuts, which are dense and delightfully chewy, and the menu can be summarized with one word: unique. The first 15 treats on the menu are the year-round classics, including the cinnamon sugar-dusted “Beach Sand” and the maple bacon “Vermont Swine.” The remaining six are the monthly rotations, which mimic the flavors of the present month and its holidays. For March, Uncle Dood’s is doling out the Irish-themed “Car Bomb” (Irish cream filled with chocolate stout icing) and “Leprechaun Poop” (vanilla icing with Lucky Charms). The shop is open Tuesday to Sunday at 6:30 a.m., and be sure to grab a sticker or a T-shirt on the way out.
Toms River, NJ
Just across town from Uncle Dood’s lies Ob-Co’s Donuts. A rusty sign swings in front of the shack’s weathered red siding and cartoon donut murals. Ob-Co’s is located on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River, and the shop is open every day from 5 a.m. until they run out, hence their mantra: “Keep an eye on the string of lights outside–they’re turned on in the morning and stay on until our donuts are gone.” Ob-Co’s has been serving the Jersey Shore since 1953 with an impressive roster of classic sweets.
The donuts at Ob-Co’s are yeasted—featuring a light and airy interior and a golden-brown crust. Their menu boasts an impressive 35 year-round selection of donuts, as well as some seasonal offerings. Whether you’re craving Captain Crunch, orange frosted, red velvet, cinnamon croissant or a classic chocolate iced, Ob-Co’s has you covered. Rounding out the menu is Ob-Co’s crumb cakes (available in 10 flavors) and plenty of drink options from cold brew to Yoohoo to wash down your breakfast. A line is almost guaranteed, so call ahead and make sure to secure your spot.
Shore Good Donuts
Long Beach Island, NJ
While Ob-Co’s and Uncle Dood’s battle it out in Toms River, their third adversary lurks just south. Shore Good Donuts is self-proclaimed as “Long Beach Island’s Best Donut Shop.” Todd Hunt and Rich Platt hung up the plungers and ditched the plumbing business after a decade of service. The duo realized a donut shop was sorely needed on their home turf of Long Beach Island. That idea became a reality in 2011 when Shore Good Donuts opened for business. With locations in Manahawkin, Ship Bottom, and Beach Haven, Shore Good Donuts has the Long Beach Island market on lock.
Shore Good Donuts, like Uncle Dood’s, peddles a denser cake donut. Their menu turns the classics on their heads, with quirky confections like the “Inside Out Jelly” and the “Lemon Drop,” as well as their own rotation of seasonal favorites. Shore Good’s menu items are also completely customizable, where customers can choose any donut base and any icing to create their own donut. But their repertoire doesn’t end there. Being that the shop caters mostly to the summer beach crowd, Shore Good doubles as an ice cream parlor. Their ice cream can also be combined with any donut to make a donut sundae.
What’s your favorite Jersey Shore donut shop? Let us know in the comments.
Main image by @tutrinh