Not surprisingly, it’s hard to lose weight when you write a food blog, especially if you have a sweet tooth like I do. So when Waylynn Lucas, the former pastry chef of The Bazaar and Patina, announced earlier this year that she was planning to open a bakery serving only healthier, non-fried, lower-sugar versions of donuts, she immediately had my attention. Fonuts (pronounced “Faux-nuts”) finally opened a few weeks ago to long lines of LA foodies (myself included), curious as to whether a fonut was the latest food trend to hit upscale urban neighborhoods or simply another phony LA model/actress-type rocking a beautiful exterior, but ultimately lacking in substance.
The interior of Fonuts is modern and sparse. There are no tables and chairs, just a small counter with a few stools and a bench out front. Besides the fonuts, they serve coffee drinks made with gourmet Lamill Coffee. Fonuts currently come in 13 varieties, 4 of which are wheat/gluten-free and 2 of which are also vegan. They are not cheap and range in price from $2.75 to $3.75 per fonut. While a dozen assorted donuts will usually run you less than $5, a dozen assorted fonuts will cost you around $40, making you evaluate how much you really like those office co-workers you’re buying them for.
So are fonuts as good as donuts? No; not even close. Essentially, fonuts are low fat cakes, many of which are similar to the low fat cakes that Starbucks sometimes offers, but in the shape of donuts. I tried 6 of the 13 varieties and was generally not impressed (my daughter even less so). The only fonut which I really loved was the savory Chorizo Cheddar. It was similar to a cheese bagel, but with a more cake-like consistentcy, and was really delicious. I thought most of the other fonuts were just OK including the Maple Bacon, which had crispy pieces of bacon on top of its maple glaze, and the PB&J stuffed fonut, which they should have called the “Goober Fonut” because the Peanut Butter & Jelly was unfortunately mixed together. My least favorites were the Strawberry Buttermilk, which was too mushy, and the Chocolate Hazelnut, which I thought was absolutely terrible. I do admire the concept though; selling low-fat cakes in the shape of donuts in a donut shop-type bakery could potentially be quite a brilliant marketing strategy.
Fonuts is located at 8104 West 3rd Street in Los Angeles.