Whether you call them donuts or doughnuts, there’s no question that we are living in the golden era of these round and tasty treats in Champaign-Urbana.
Now that school is over and summer has reached Champaign-Urbana, perhaps it’s time to take a donut tour of East Central Illinois. It’s pretty easy since most of these locations are close to one another.
So get ready to treat yourself and your taste buds this summer on the Champaign-Urbana Area Donut Trail. How many can you check off your bucket list?
(Note: we do not include chains or big box stores on our “trails.” We prefer to focus on locally owned joints. You know, the good stuff that you can’t get anywhere else.)
Pandamonium Doughnuts, Champaign (1105 Windsor Road): Local pioneers of the gourmet donut, Pandamonium Doughnuts used to only be available at Urbana’s Market at the Square. Then they started a food truck (which can often be found on campus near Krannert) — and ultimately, grew into a storefront featuring popular donuts such as the Cereal Killer (think Fruity Pebbles meets a glazed donut), a favorite of children and grown-ups alike.
We particularly like the seasonal Girl Scout collection featuring a thin mint cookie creation as well as a chocolate coconut concoction. Probably one of the best kept secrets is Pandamonium’s strawberry slider doughnut, which features a glazed donut, homemade whipping cream, and fresh sliced strawberries. We’ve been told that it is easier to serve this at the storefront, so be on the lookout for this tasty treasure. TIP: as of this writing not open on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Curtis Orchard, Champaign (3902 S. Duncan Road): Our friends at Curtis Orchard make LEGENDARY cider donuts. Not surprisingly, since they grow legendary apples. Get them hot, or buy a bunch to freeze – they are absolutely delicious either way. The only problem? Curtis Orchard is only open five months a year, from July 20 through Dec. 20 (generally). TIP: customers can call (217) 359-5565 during business hours or check their online store to purchase donuts in the off season (they are frozen but thaw easily).
Industrial Donut, Savoy (501 Commerce Dr.): Our friends at Industrial Donut in Savoy are magical donut makers who brought to Central Illinois a new donut concept: made-to-order, customizable donuts created in small batches and served hot. And yes, adults and kids alike can create a customized donut delight, so don’t be shy. Choose the icing and topping for each donut. Donuts are made fresh while you wait, and they are the perfect size for you to indulge yourself.
Some of us powered through the pandemic by picking up their Mini Donut Bar (one dozen plain donuts, two icing choices, and three sprinkles choices) far more often than we will admit. Getting hungry just thinking about it … seriously, hot donuts are a game changer! Order ahead and they will turn out creatively decorated dozens. TIP: as of this writing, not open on Sundays.
Ye Olde Donut Shoppe, Champaign (1401 S. Neil St.): Ye Olde Donut Shoppe has a long history in Champaign and Urbana, with multiple different storefronts over many years (for example we remember the previous one at Green and First, which later hosted Maize). For years, Ye Olde Donuts has been supplying others with its wares (such as Art Mart and Espresso Royale) and has also been a regular at Urbana’s Market at the Square. On Memorial Day 2019, the latest edition of Ye Olde Donut Shoppe opened on Neil Street (with a drive-thru window!). They feature a wide variety of donuts, from classic glazed to filled to “artisan” editions to custom-order letter and number shapes. Great for the donut traditionalist as well as the donut connoisseur. TIP: discounts available for larger orders (dozen and two dozen).
Central Illinois Bakehouse, Champaign (208 N. First St.): This wholesale bakery has been a fixture at area farmers markets for years, and they offer many delectable pastry favorites. But for this post we need to discuss their croughnuts. (Or cronuts, if you’re paying by the letter.) What is a croughnut, you ask? Imagine if a croissant and a doughnut had a baby — a large, flaky, and delicious baby — and there you have a croughnut. You can obtain these magical yet elusive treats in a number of ways: get them delivered right to your doorstep via Market Wagon; shop at the Champaign or Urbana farmers markets; or enjoy them at retail outlets such as Pekara on Springfield or Yo Yo’s in Mahomet. TIP: we hear that for a limited time, weekend brunch at Champaign’s Maize at the Station offers an exclusive Churro Cronut from CIB!
Royal Donut, Danville (911 N. Vermilion St.) There’s a story here. Established in 1973, Royal Donut had been a home for donut enthusiasts for years. A trip to Danville wasn’t complete without an angel bite — think tiny Long John donuts with a delicious creme filling and icing. Kiddos on our trips loved the smiley face iced sugar cookies, while grownups craved the bismarck donuts available in a variety of delicious flavors. While Royal Donut sadly closed in late 2021, the best donut news of 2022 is that they reopened on August 9, 2022 under new local ownership, with the donuts and recipes remaining (largely) the same. TIP: the new owners also run Mad Goat Coffee — both Danville locations — so look for some delicious cross-overs in the future.
What local donuts did we miss? Tell us in an email what makes them list-worthy.
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