small bites

La Dona Donuts

By Megan Greenberg / Photography By Chad Spencer | November 24, 2015
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I can’t even type the word “donut” without my mouth watering. Donuts. They’re decadent while still being delicate. One is fulfilling, but doesn’t leave you full. They’re adorable and attractive and it’s perfectly acceptable to eat them at ANY time of the day. Breakfast? Donuts. Dessert? Donuts. 4 p.m.? Donuts. What other edible can lay claim to the whole clock?

Although there really is no such thing as a “bad” donut–trust me, I’ve given the search a fair shot over decades of dedicated donut consumption–some donuts just run circles around the competition.

Cue La Dona Donuts, which is pronounced la-DOUGH-na, not la-DON-na, by the way.

“This is not your typical donut shop,” says owner Chelsea Elliot, who was blessed with the energy of 200 puppies, allowing her to put her passion to work on her 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. (yes, p.m. to a.m.) routine of personally hand-cutting and hand-rolling every one of La Dona’s donuts. Now, that was a labor of love when La Dona started earlier this year as a delivery-only donuteer (Is that a thing? It’s a thing now), when demand had her topping out at about 250 donuts a day. Now that she has a brick-and-mortar establishment on Bee Ridge, as well as continuing the delivery service, that number has ballooned into the thousands. Let me repeat that. Chelsea Elliot comes in at 10 p.m. to personally hand-create Every. Single. Delicious. Donut that La Dona offers and then sticks around to help sell them at the shop with a couple of other coworkers who assist with frying and decorating.

That’s not the only thing that sets La Dona apart.

“Our dough is a wonderful vanilla with hints of nutmeg and other spices, but we are currently working on different doughs like pumpkin spice, red velvet, and seasonal eggnog,” Chelsea says, referencing La Dona’s unique cake-based donut which is rich and dense, unlike a yeast-based squishy donut made by machines. That dough then serves as the base for a slew of fun and funky flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Fruity Pebbles, Banana Cream Pie, Fluffernutter, Cinnamon Roll, Dulce de Leche, and Maple Bacon, which has quickly developed a cult following. “It’s been so awesome,” she says. “We’ve been slammed.”

La Dona plans on sticking to what they know for the time being, which means oodles of deliciously dense donuts, but someday Chelsea aims to offer crullers, yeast donuts, and more.

If you want a bite, place an order or swing by the shop. But get there early as it’s usually crumbs only after 11 a.m. “We close when we sell out. I’d love to stay open all day, but they just keep disappearing,” says Chelsea.

La Dona Donuts: 4567 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota; 941-702-5207;

Article from Edible Sarasota at
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