May 31, 2023
Unlike many made-up food holidays, National Donut Day actually has a rich history.
It was first celebrated in Chicago in 1938 to honor the Salvation Army's so-called Donut Lassies, a group of women who traveled to base camps in eastern France during World War I. There, the volunteers provided religious services and hot cocoa, played records on a Vitrola and fried doughnuts in soldiers' helmets. The treats were a hit, so much so that returning soldiers — nicknamed "doughboys" for not-obvious reasons — continued to crave doughnuts when they returned home, fueling their popularity stateside.
Today, the holiday, which is held on the first Friday of June, mostly means freebies, BOGO deals and specials at national and local doughnut shops. But you can still honor the Donut Lassies, in a way, by redeeming offers around Philadelphia, available bright and early on June 2:
The Philly franchise doesn't offer free food for National Donut Day, but it will roll out a special menu of "greatest hits" at its nine city shops from Friday through Sunday. The winning flavors, selected by popular vote, include cannoli, lemon poppy, chocolate sea salt, blueberry vanilla bean, churro and chocolate cookies 'n cream. Those doughnuts will be available at Philadelphia locations and in Marlton Square, the site of a forthcoming New Jersey shop. Federal Donuts will park its food truck there from 7 a.m. until noon, or sell-out, on Friday morning.
All week long, Dunkin' has been reminding customers of the impending holiday with jingles and hypnotically swinging doughnuts. On the big day, the chain will offer customers one free classic doughnut with the purchase of a drink, excluding expresso shots. The classic doughnut spread includes glazed, chocolate glazed, jelly, powdered, old-fashioned, chocolate frosted, strawberry frosted, vanilla frosted and Boston cream.
Buy one coffee or tea and you'll get a free churro doughnut at Mochinut's Chinatown shop, at 1023 Arch St. The chain's doughnuts are a unique American-Japanese fusion treat consisting of eight dough balls connected in a ring shape. Mochi doughnuts are also made with rice flour, lending them an extra chewy texture.
The hot light will definitely be on at Krispy Kreme this Friday, as the franchise is extending two different offers for National Donut Day. Customers can claim one free doughnut of their choice in store, or get a dozen original glazed doughnuts for $2 with the purchase of another dozen at the regular price. The latter offer can be redeemed in stores or online with the code BOGO2. Sadly, there are no Krispy Kreme locations within Philadelphia. The closest shops are in Havertown, Delaware County, and Collingswood, Camden County.
The Mechanicsburg-based chain is giving away one free cinnamon-sugar doughnut per customer in stores on Friday. While Duck Donuts has yet to open a store in Philadelphia, it currently has locations in King of Prussia, Levittown, West Chester and Marlton. There also are Duck Donut shops down the shore in Sea Isle and Avalon.