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I was already aware of the chicken and doughnut trend that had hit Washington, D.C. Indeed, when I was in the city for the 2015 NHL Winter Classic, I was able to sample the delights of one of the two market leaders, Astro Doughnuts. Wowed, I vowed to taste the competition, GBD, when next I made my way to the nation’s capital. How pleased I was that the opportunity came so soon. The battle was on!

GBD (Golden Brown Delicious)
I arrived in D.C. on my most recent trip via a Megabus into Union Station. Though the temptation was high to go to Dangerously Delicious Pie‘s Union Station location, I did not pass go and took the Metro straight to Dupont Circle to try GBD (Golden Brown Delicious). While I arrived knowing what chicken doughnut sandwich I would order, The Luther, their doughnuts were another story because of their rotating selection. Looking over their options, I was surprised at how childish the options that day seemed–Funfetti? After less deliberation than I usually need, I settled on a Tres Leches cake doughnut and a Nutella Glazed yeast doughnut.

GBD in Dupont Circle.

I sat at GBD’s bar and sampled my doughnuts while I waited for my main course. The Tres Leches had some nice coconut flavor (for some reason), but was a bit limp. It was more impressive than the Nutella Glazed, though, which despite boasting hazelnuts on top had zero Nutella flavor. I was surprised when my sandwich arrived with a huge side of fries. How many fried things could I, should I eat in one meal? The sandwich was fried chicken with two bacon strips served on a brioche doughnut bun. The bun itself was topped with a maple sauce and sprinkled with pecans. It was tasty, but not remarkably so.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Located near the Metro Center stop, conveniently near two of my brother and I’s tourist destinations (Ford’s Theatre and the International Spy Museum), the storefront location for Astro Doughnuts is much more modest than GBD’s Dupont bar; it is a grab-n-go counter with a handful of sidewalk cafe tables. Their space is so small, the food is delivered up to the store counter on a dumbwaiter from a lower level.

Astro Doughnuts at the Winter Classic.

Having already tried their wonderful chicken doughnut sandwich (sriracha-mayo with lettuce and tomato) at the Winter Classic, I set my sights on trying their doughnut selection, which was far more extensive than the food truck menu from months previous. I settled on two. First, a Carrot Cake doughnut: a yeast doughnut with raisins mixed and a sweet (not especially cream cheesy) glaze. It was like a lightly fried cinnamon roll, which despite not tasting like carrot cake, left no room for complaints. Not too heavy, not too sweet.

Second, I had Boston Creme. I didn’t have the highest of hopes. Long ago, Boston Creme used to be my go-to doughnut. And as time went on I continued to love the delicious custard, but years of eating cloyingly sweet chocolate glaze frosting took its toll and Boston Creme doughnuts were forsaken for the powdered sugar (or glaze) of Bavarian Creme. But when I saw Astros’ square doughnut with a hole in it, I gave into its hipster charm and bought it anyway. The first thing I noticed was that the chocolate on top was a lighter color. Then when I took a bite, I realized it was because the topping was the same chocolate used on Boston Creme Pie, not the aforementioned cloyingly sweet abomination. Another plus was how light the doughnut was, like a proper Boston Creme pie’s cake layers should be. This is the best Boston Creme doughnut I’ve ever had, restoring my faith in that particular species of doughnut.


GBD’s The Luther.
Just look at that maple glaze.

Without a doubt, Astro Doughnuts & Fired Chicken is the better choice than GBD. In all categories–doughnut selection, doughnut quality–Astro has a better doughnut. As for chicken, Astro also wins for quality and for including some lettuce and tomato to add a little something fresh to the fiesta of fried food. The one thing GBD wins at is the maple sauce they drizzled over their doughnut chicken sandwich; Astro, follow their lead on this one.