Let’s discard the ridiculous notion that there may be such a thing as “too many” doughnuts. Fried dough is an American birthright. However, in a grease-saturated market, how does the newest Top Pot set itself apart? In short, it doesn’t.
Top Pot has spawned so many iterations of itself since the birth of its first location, all the kitschy charm of the original seems lost to a Starbucks aesthetic. Sure, there are a few nods to Top Pot’s nostalgic beginnings, like the Ovaltine latte and some cutesy doughnut names like the coconut-topped chocolate Feather Boa. The chai-spiced cake doughnut and the salted caramel — topped with tangible, crunchy bits of salt — are a couple of stand-outs that might make a trip worth your while.
Alas, those gourmet flavors come with gourmet price tags. A dozen doughnuts will set you back $19.99, with individual prices ranging from $1.29 to $2.79. Yes, it’s a little more upscale than your corner mom-and-pop shop, but the roughly doubled price is a bit hard to swallow.
The real kicker is the coffee situation. If you missed it above, let’s remember that Top Pot hails from Seattle, a place known for its coffee culture. With coffee advertised as carefully sourced and hand-roasted in small batches, you’re prepared to be impressed. In fact, their original location opened before the doughnut recipes were perfected, briefly subsisting on coffee sales lone. So it’s gotta be pretty solid, right? If only that were true. The Ovaltine latte is virtually flavorless, and the house drip coffee lacks any robust complexity. For SkyHouse residents, it may be a perfectly suitable caffeine fix, but it’s hard to imagine anyone traveling longer than an elevator ride for what amounts to a very average cup of coffee.
In a city that lays claim to everything from a late-night, punk-rock variety to Twinkie-topped, minion-shaped doughnuts, Top Pot lacks a distinct personality. Is the doughnut bubble about to pop? Maybe. You can bet we'll be waiting, doughnut holes in hand, to bask in the rainbow sprinkled fallout.
Top Pot, 2320 N. Houston St.