danny’s donuts / vista

Right next door to Peppertree Frosty is a little place called Danny’s Donuts.


Danny's Donuts window - Vista, CA

The place is named after Dan Abeyta, who worked in the donut industry for 46 years before he retired… and then went right back to it, opening Danny’s Donuts a few years after he retired. He missed the customer interaction and came out of retirement to open his own shop (after working at Dunkin’ Donuts on the East Coast, among other places). Danny created recipes featured in his shop and ran the store until his passing in January of 2013.

In December 2013, Danny’s Donuts was ranked in a national poll for “America’s Best 25 Donuts” for their Blueberry Cake donuts. A site called The Daily Meal ranked them as #6 in the poll.


We heard all about Danny, his shop and his donuts after Marilyn, Danny’s wife, saw me taking my usual slew of photos and asked where we were from. This started a conversation where she told us about her husband and how he opened the shop and about his passing.


She told us all about the national ranking for their blueberry cake donuts and how she wished Danny had been around to see it when it the ranking came out.

“He would have been so proud,” she told us. She offered to show us the article and pulled out the above for us to look at. You can read the full article here from the Union Tribune. She was so nice in telling us more about the shop and their donuts.

We also asked her about the name Peppertree Corner and she told us that there used to a Pepper Tree behind the restaurant/ice cream stand and in order for them to move in on the corner, they had to include the name “Peppertree Corner”.  It was great to hear about the donuts and Danny from Marilyn herself!

Now for some donut photos! When you walk up to the shop you can view all of their donuts in the window.

Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

Twist donuts, bars and cake donuts.

Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

The famous blueberry on the bottom with donut holes and crullers on top.

Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

Old fashioned donuts and chocolate cake donuts.

Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

Plain donuts, more old fashioned, cinnamon buns and apple fritters.

Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

Apple betty’s and yeast donuts.


Donut seeds!

Off to the side there are a few tables under a covered patio where you can sit and enjoy your donuts. I wasn’t planning on eating the donuts right then and there but we figured we should take a few bites of each after talking with Marilyn.

Our donut stash at Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

This is our haul of donuts – all 95 cents each.

(From left to right): Blueberry donut, cruller, apple betty, cinnamon donut and a butterfly donut. The apple betty is one of their signature donuts along with the famous blueberry cake donut. I had never seen a butterfly donut before so figured I needed to try that, too.

The cruller, which is usually my favorite donut ever, was just okay here. The thing about crullers is they need to be super fresh, otherwise they fall a little flat. The crullers were not crisp and were much more on the softer side – a little too soft – for my liking.

The butterfly donut also tasted like maybe it had been sitting around for a bit. It was the very last one and I wanted to really like it but it tasted a bit day old.


The apple betty was a really interesting donut since it looked like it was folded over. There’s a very good amount of cinnamon here – I detected more cinnamon than apple, but I did like this one and I loved the look of it as well. If you don’t like cinnamon, don’t get this one! It almost kind of like a cross between an apple fritter and a bar donut…

Blueberry Cake Donut - Danny's Donuts - Vista, CA

The blueberry donut though is really the winner here. It’s not quite like the other blueberry donuts I’ve tried and this donut tasted the freshest of the ones that we tried. It’s made with freeze dried blueberries and has a really tender crumb that stays together nicely. It has a simple, thin glaze on the outside which gives it just the right amount of sweetness. It doesn’t have that “artificial” blueberry taste that a lot of blueberry donuts suffer from, either. It tastes more natural and gets a little sweetness from the blueberries. Truly this is one of the best blueberry donuts I’ve had! 

We went back and bought a few more blueberry donuts to take home and share with my parents since we felt they NEEDED to try them because they were so darn good! We’ll have to try and make special trips just to have these tasty blueberry donuts again.

Link Love:

CC was the first post I read about Danny’s Donuts!
San Diego Donuts also did a post back in 2012 about Danny’s

Danny’s Donuts
102 Eucalyptus Ave.
Vista, CA 92084
(760) 724-4637

Danny's Donuts on Urbanspoon

10 thoughts on “danny’s donuts / vista

  1. I love a good blueberry donut! The next time we’re up in the Vista area looking for breweris, I might have to hunt Danny’s down for a treat.

    1. Hi Leanne – Yeah, it’s a little out of the way but they do have a mighty fine blueberry donut. Definitely check it out if you can! They are yummy 🙂 A little reheating also makes it taste better.

  2. What a nice story of Danny’s Doughnuts. That is pretty cool that you got to talk to his wife and take a stroll down memory lane with her. She sounds like a sweet lady. Wow, that is an impressive amount of time to be working in the doughnut business! I can just imagine that he became quite the doughnut professor over his lifetime. Now I want some of that blueberry cake doughnut.

    1. Hi Miss Kim – It was really nice to be able to chat with her. It was great they were recognized but a little sad that Danny himself didn’t get to see the honor. The blueberry donuts were awesome! I have been seeing them pop up in more shops lately but the version here is really good.

  3. Thanks for sharing the story about the shop. The owner seems really cool. What in the world are those donut seeds? I’m looking at it from my phone so maybe I can’t see the pic all that well?

    I’ve never been a fan of cake (old fashioned?) donuts or crullers. I think I tried a cruller once. Is a cruller supposed to taste crispy ? Sis and I grew up eating yeast donuts so that’s been my preference to this day for some reason.

    I can’t remember the last time I had a blueberry donut. It looks very muffin-y in your pic. I’m so glad this was one of the best ones you’ve had. I’ll have to visit this place if I’m in the area. What time was your visit? That’s a shame the rest of the donuts weren’t great. I always hesitate visiting a donut shop if it’s after 11a.

    1. Hi Faye – The “donut seeds” are Cheerios haha. You can totally tap on all of my photos on your phone to see the bigger version, FYI 🙂

      Crullers are those twisted (in a circle) ones that are light and eggy. When fresh there is a slight crispness but it melts in your mouth… it is my favorite donut, when made correctly (and when you get it fresh).

      The blueberry donuts here are different. A lot of places it does just tasted like fried muffin batter but these are really good – tender and cakey with a nice blueberry flavor. We visited about lunchtime – I think around 11am-12pm or so?

  4. Hi Mary – Yay! Danny’s Donuts! Their buleberry donuts are probably the best version I’ve had in San Diego. I remember reading that they use two kinds of flour for the blueberry donuts too.

    They’re just so far from Chula Vista though! Bert liked the apple betty. I also liked their apple fritter.

    The butterfly donut here looks interesting! I’ve had a butterfly donut at Doughnut Hut in Burbank and it looked different:

    If you are ever in Burbank, you’ve got to try that place as well as Quenelle for ice cream (that post is still to come).

    1. Hi CC – I agree with you – these blueberry donuts are the best I’ve tried! I even think it’s far for ME to go, it is even further for you! I like the look more of the butterfly donut you had. The one at Danny’s kind of looks like half of the one at Doughnut Hut. So many donuts, so little time, haha.

    1. Hi Ruth – I have not tried Sidecar Doughnuts yet but I hope to in the future! I have heard nice things about them. I don’t usually go out for drinks anymore so I’ll leave those suggestions up to others. 🙂

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