Happiness is a warm donut, a marvel of sweetness that’s fabulously fresh and fluffy. And at Craft Donuts & Coffee, they come made to order and topped with fantastic flavors. Think peanut butter and chocolate, maple and bacon, strawberry and lavender. These are the kind of donuts that people line up for—outside in the rain, sun, or snow—at the family-owned food truck in Santa Fe.

Since January 2020, Craft’s trailer of temptation has been parked in the Santa Fe food truck lot across the street from Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, drawing loyal fans from near and far. Now that Craft has expanded, with a new brick-and-mortar donut shop by Lowe’s in the San Isidro Plaza shopping center, you can almost hear the cheers from the city’s Southside. Six days a week, people line up in the sparkling new space to watch with anticipation as their donuts are made to order. (Don’t worry, the food truck isn’t going anywhere.)

“The thing I hear almost every day is ‘That’s the best donut I’ve ever had in my entire life,’” says Craig McGregor, who co-owns Craft with his wife, Michelle McGregor. “People say ‘I’ve had donuts all over the world and this is the best donut I’ve ever had.’ We’re not the only people in the country to make fresh, made-to-order donuts, but it’s rare.”

“Being able to order your donut and watch it being made in front of you really adds to the experience,” Michelle says. And just like at the truck, “you can craft your own donut, so you can pick your own coating, your own drizzle, your own topping,” she adds. Perhaps best of all, chocolate cake–based donuts are on the menu, while the food truck serves only vanilla ones.

As the donut-making process begins, the Donut Robot Mark II machine turns cake batter into three-inch donuts, fries them, and then delivers them along a conveyor belt to be hand-dipped into coatings, decorated with drizzles, and topped with a tantalizing array of goodies. The resulting edible art is not only beautiful to behold but tastes delicious. When I visited, some donut lovers devoured their treats at tables and counter seats in the airy, window-fronted shop while others carried them out in white cardboard boxes.

I find Craft’s classic, signature, and specialty donuts ridiculously irresistible. Consider the S’mores, coated in a chocolate glaze with marshmallow drizzle, adorned with graham cracker crumbles and a toasted marshmallow. It’s big with the little ones. Another favorite, the Homer, is a technicolor combo of strawberry glaze and rainbow sprinkles that pays tribute to The Simpsons’ bumbling antihero.

Don’t see a donut you fancy? Then build your own fantasy, choosing from an array of enticing ingredients, such as cinnamon sugar and maple or chocolate glaze coatings; peanut butter or Bavarian cream drizzles; and rainbow sprinkles or cookie or bacon crumble toppings.

Coffee and donuts are longtime companions, and the bean of choice at both Craft locations is Red Rock Roasters. The menu also includes frappés, hot cocoa, and other specialty drinks, along with Italian cream sodas.

When it comes to popularity, the Cinnamon Roll takes the cake, coated with cinnamon sugar and topped with a vanilla drizzle. The Apple Cider donut is also a hit, and even though it’s a fall specialty item, it’s secretly always available. “It’s such an American thing,” Craig says. “We get a lot of comments from people who say it reminds them of funnel cake.” Other specialties include the Unicorn, adorned with vanilla glaze and a riot of colorful Fruity Pebbles.

Occasionally, a specialty donut has an island twist, like the Lilikoi Raspberry. Dipped in a homemade passion fruit glaze and topped with a raspberry drizzle, it’s a nod to Hawaii, where the fruit is widely cultivated and where the McGregors lived for ten years before they visited Santa Fe thirteen years ago and fell under the city’s spell. “We came here on vacation, and by the second day, we were at the real estate office,” Michelle says.

The McGregors are experienced business owners: Craig owns a tech company and Michelle designs jewelry for her own company, Laws of Nature. They honed their donut skills running a mini-donut franchise in Albuquerque in 2018 and 2019. “It’s just one of those things that fell in our laps,” says Michelle. “It sounded exciting, something we wanted to turn into something we did together as a family. Who doesn’t love donuts? It’s one of America’s top desserts. How fun would it be to serve something that makes everyone smile?”

They opened Craft in a shiny black food truck just before the pandemic, and their take-out business model turned out to be a good thing. “We stayed open all through the pandemic,” Michelle says. “It was an inexpensive pleasure that everyone enjoyed.” Success led to the decision to expand. “We wanted to go to the Southside,” Craig says. “We wanted to cover the whole town. The truck is overwhelmed and in the summer, it’s maxed out. This location gave us a home base, instead of our house. We were tired of warehousing out of our house.”

Craft is a family affair. The McGregors’ three children, ages fourteen, twelve, and nine, have a hand in the business. “They’re my taste testers when it comes to flavors,” Michelle says. “My youngest, she named the Unicorn donut, and the Death by Chocolate is inspired by my son.”

Since Craft’s debut during the tumultuous days of the pandemic, its donuts have offered comfort and delight. With the Southside space, Craft is spreading donut joy throughout the city. “Owning a small business gives us a chance to really build a community,” Michelle says.

Northside food truck: 502 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505-490-9171
Southside storefront: 3482 Zafarano, Unit B, 505-658-6515

Photos courtesy of Craft Donuts

Lynn Cline

Lynn Cline is the award-winning author of The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes and Tales From New Mexico. She’s written for Bon Appétit, the New York TimesNew Mexico Magazine, and many other publications. She also hosts Cline’s Corner, a weekly talk show on public radio’s KSFR 101.1 FM.