From the outside, the Grantville fried-dough emporium Donut Panic looks more or less like any unassuming doughnut shop. In fact, the sign out front still reads "Sunshine Donuts," which is what occupied the unassuming storefront before ownership changed in March. Now under the control of new owners Linda Dami and her father, Mark, Donut Panic (6171 Mission Gorge Road) has taken the idea of the humble doughnut purveyor and infused it with it a lot more character.
It helps that the doughnuts themselves—many of which are vegan—are damn tasty. Linda Dami bakes the sugary treats, which range from the classic (chocolate, glazed) to those with a little more innovation and subtlety (Earl Grey, lemon lavender), right on up to a pink-frosted doughnut with sprinkles that looks like it should already have been devoured by Homer Simpson. Take a dozen to go if you must, but there's a cozy living-room atmosphere that's likely to give patrons an immediate feeling of comfort. Wednesday night is game night—you're more than welcome to cart over your own Clue or Candy Land boards—and the crackly recording of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home you're hearing isn't streaming on Spotify; it's actually spinning on a record player.
Not that Donut Panic's gooey, pillowy creations need be consumed inside the store. You'll occasionally find Dami's doughnuts at other haunts around town, whether paired with beer at Modern Times or The Hideout or with student activism at Che Café meetings.
Here's the best part, though: Donut Panic sometimes books live music. So, if you ever thought all-ages shows were missing something, you were absolutely right: Doughnuts.