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Food & Drink

Video: District Donuts

District Donuts proves that pretty much any flavor tastes good in donut form.

Beignet, don(ut) that. Except when it’s District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew. Every day of the week, this shop in the Lower Garden District turns out creative flavors like sopapilla, miso praline bacon, strawberry basil, Vietnamese iced coffee, and black cherry coconut (they even have a beignet donut in rotation).

We just kind of approach it like, ‘What tastes good, and could a donut be a vehicle for it?’ And typically the answer is yes. – Aaron Vogel

We spoke with co-owner Aaron Vogel about the concept behind District, which offers “handcrafted, small-batch, unique, creative, fun, kind of energetic donuts,” he says. Add to that spinoffs like District Streatcar, a food truck-style operation that donates proceeds to a local foster care nonprofit, and you’ve got a recipe for sweet success.

District Donuts Video Transcript

Aaron Vogel, co-owner: “We just kind of approach it like, ‘What tastes good, and could a donut be a vehicle for it?’ And typically the answer is yes.

We do three things: Donuts, sliders, brew.  A lot of people think it might be beer. It’s actually coffee.

Originally we wanted to do a concept around donuts and coffee in a way that wasn’t being done in the city. We wanted these handcrafted, small-batch, unique, creative, fun, kind of energetic donuts. We do the simple ones every day like glazed, chocolate glazed, and cinnamon sugar.  But then seven other donuts rotate every single day: maple sriracha, Vietnamese iced coffee, chocolate blackout (personal favorite). 

1,000 Faces Coffee. They have been great partners to us from the beginning. Micro-roasted, small batches: specialty coffee is what the industry would consider it.  

We didn’t want to just have a morning experience, so we said ‘Man, what’s going to allow us to have a breakfast, lunch, and dinner?’ And sliders!  No one was headlining that. So we said, ‘Let’s get after these little cheeseburgers, little fried chicken, tofu, bulgogi Korean barbecue – people love that.  A big one is from the farmers market when they’re in season, we get softshell crabs. Cut them in half, claw sticking up ready to be bitten into.  So it’s a lot of fun.

Two and a half miles down the road we launched District Handpie & Coffee Bar. We didn’t want to take our donuts and our sliders here. I grew up in Metairie eating Hubig’s Pies. Again, how can we do that a little differently? What’s Beef Wellington in a handpie?  With foie gras on top?  I don’t know, let’s give it a shot!

In terms of the culture of New Orleans, it’s really changed since I was a kid.  You know, when I was coming up it was all about expensive dining. Very very formal. Versus what we’re raising our kids in: very different. It’s about small plates. It’s about price point. It’s about ambiance and atmosphere.  But being an entrepreneur in a place that’s kind of turning with food right now has been something neat to be a part of.  And I love it!”

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