In a nutshell: You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy donuts (at San Francisco’s Pier 39)… and that’s kinda the same thing.
Follow your nose to the storefront of Trish’s Mini Donuts, where the aromas of fried dough and cinnamon sugar fill the air. The opening picture captures a rare lull in the day, as more often than not a crowd is clustered around the order/pick-up windows.
Single-item restaurants are few and far between, but when you do something so right, there’s no reason to spread yourself thin. Trish’s sells donuts. Simple enough. You can get them plain or cinnamon sugared (or any combination of the two) in half-dozen, dozen, two dozen, or three dozen quantities. Trish’s also sells coffee, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and other beverages to accompany your puffs.
Once you place your order, sidle over and watch the self-contained assembly dispense the batter into a lazy river of hot oil, the miniature inner tubes floating downstream with an intermediary flip before tumbling onto the prep area grate. The entire process brings back fond memories of Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price stories. The staff will shower your donuts with a heavy dose of cinnamon sugar if you opted for it.
I promise these will melt in your mouth. Sometimes, the donuts are so fresh from the fryer that you’ll burn your tongue, so watch out!
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy your donuts, you can grab a seat at one of the tables overlooking the marina (reflected in Trish’s poster sign), but I’m a fan of walking to the other side of the pier to view the barking sea lions and the setting sun.
Trish’s Mini Donuts
Pier 39 (Building B, Level 1)
San Francisco, CA