Joe and Dough

Where to find the best cup of coffee (and doughnut to match) in Sarasota

Like Sonny and Cher, Romeo and Juliet, Forest and Jenny, doughnuts and coffee are a natural pairing, destined to be together. Finding the best in each area is a traveler’s mission and, once you have a favorite, it’s hard to break that level of loyalty. Everyone’s tastes are different (hence the world is still going ‘round), so it’s probably best to give each a try until you find one that fits you just right. It’s a Goldilocks and the Three Bears mission, and I think you’re up to it.

Coffee – By neighborhood, because sometimes you need the good stuff and you need it now

Burns Court

In the historic Burns Square Neighborhood, just south of downtown Sarasota lies the Burns Court Café. The vibe is European, and sitting outside with a warm cup, watching shoppers and diners stroll by, you’ll feel as though you’re in an off-the-beaten-path Parisian suburb. It’s a slow vibe.


In Southside Village, Perq Coffee Bar serves the trendiest single origin coffees in town. Pop in for a cup to take shopping along Hillview or pop in headphones to work on that travel blog. With its industrial décor, the vibe is modern and minimalistic, just like their brew.

Siesta Key

No need to leave the island for a good cup of brew. Pop into The Local Bean in the Siesta Key Village for a cup to enjoy on the sunrise on the beach with the sand beneath your feet. Pretty sure it’s the best way to start a day.

Across the street is Lelu’s Coffee, with a surfer vibe and palapa to match. The focus is on local roasters, so if you find one you love, buy it in bulk, bring it home, and let that mug bring you back to island time.

Downtown Sarasota

Strolling along the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, it’s hard to tell which you notice first – the smell of the beans beckoning you, or the sight of a scarlet double decker bus. Both lead you to Java Dawg, the source of many of Sarasota’s best coffee shops’ beans. And with a cup made directly from the source, with friendly faces and fresh air around you, it’s as good as it gets.

Out & About Coffee is a mobile coffee stand generally located on Main Street (follow them online to find their daily location). Don’t be fooled by its small and no-frills appearance. This might be the best flat white I’ve ever had and the only complaint is that I want more. Single-origin brew, made before your eyes by a genius named Justin, and you don’t even have to veer through a doorway. During market season (October through April), Out & About Coffee can also be found at the Phillippi Farmhouse Market, so you can shop and sip.

A local favorite on Main Street, Pastry Art, invites chatting with friends and people watching at their outdoor tables. Just around the corner from the Farmer’s Market and centrally located along the main drag, it’s the ideal spot to rest your feet and regroup with a frothy concoction.


Gulfgate neighborhood’s prime Joe go-to is The Clever Cup, featuring fair trade coffees in the least pretentious way. Between the décor and the staff, The Clever Cup exudes friendliness - exactly what you need when you haven’t yet had that first cup of the day.

Indian Shores

Across the street from the Ringling College of Art & Design is a tiny unassuming shop. Inside? My two favorite (non-living) things – books and coffee. Shelf Indulgence may be a used bookstore, but it’s first and foremost a coffee shop. And there are few smells better than the combination of caffeine and literature.

Lakewood Ranch

So it’s kind of a chain, but only in the Tampa area, so it’s still not a full-fledge corporation. Kahwa Coffee roasts their coffee in Tampa for their seven locations, two of which are in Sarasota County. The Lakewood Ranch location features the often-necessary drive-through. Perfect for those days when you’re running late, have car seats you don’t want to deal with, or you are still in your slippers.

Kahwa has an additional branch in across the street from Whole Foods in downtown Sarasota, in case you’re down there in need of a second cup. I know the feeling.

Doughnuts (or Donuts, if you prefer)

Amish Baking Company: Open at the Phillippi Farmhouse Market (yup, the same one as Out & About Coffee!), this doughnut truck emits lingering aromas of baking doughnuts, created and dipped before your very eyes. Every sense anticipates their arrival, from the smell of them baking, to the sound of them sizzling, to the sight of them dripping in glaze. Your fingers and tongue anticipate its stickiness waiting to dissolve at your touch. These gigantic doughnuts don’t need any flair; they stick to the basics and nail it, each time. The truck is only open from October through April because the heat messes with their yeast rising, so gorge yourself while you can.

Meaney’s Mini Donuts & Coffee House: Anything mini is always better, and I truly believe calories don’t count when they’re tiny. So for a craving of sweetness, Meaney’s Mini Donuts fill the bill. Order a half or full dozen (I don’t judge) of a variety of flavors from plain to powdered sugar to cheesecake to key lime. The stand, located in Siesta Key Village, opens to the sidewalk, so it’s the ultimate casual experience.

Five-O Donut Co.: The newest donut hot spot, located in downtown Sarasota near the courthouse, fully embraces the donut stereotype. With a name and décor nodding to the ‘cops love donuts’ theme, the tongue in cheek vibe is set. Donuts aren’t serious, but these are seriously good. They look like a screenshot from a Simpsons episode, but with gourmet flavor. The shop stays open until sold out but their donut surveillance cam allows you to see the stock from your couch or cubicle so you can (a) make sure they still have goodies available and (b) ask your friends and coworkers if you can bring some back for them. They’ll thank you. Add a side of cereal-infused milk to your croissant donut to bring you back to your childhood and daydream the day away.

LaDona’s Donuts: A donut is an indulgence, and if you’re going for it, you might as well really go for it. At LaDona’s on Bee Ridge, it’s best to dive in and leave the worries about your waistline at the door. LaDona’s donuts are just plain fun for your mouth and pure Instagram fodder. Culinary creations such as Reeses Puffs and Elvis Love (complete with PB, bananas, and bacon) play with the world of toppings to create something new. For purists, they do offer the Plain Jane and Average Joe, as well. Donut decorating events also allow customers to embellish their own delicacies before diving in.

Abbe’s Lil Donut Nook: Don’t let the name fool you; the shop may be lil’ but the donuts are big. Big in size and big in flavor. A local favorite for 33 years, Abbe’s knows what they’re doing. As my 8-year-old says, they’ve been making mouthwatering donuts “since the 1900s”. Their sister from another mister, Abbe’s Donut Nook in Port Charlotte, serves as a second location to fill that warm gooey void. From classic to elaborate, Abbe’s fresh concoctions stick around the old-fashioned way – word from one sticky mouth to another.