A stack of takeout boxes at the counter of Ye Olde Donut Shoppe in Champaign (Lisa Chasanov)
A stack of takeout boxes at the counter of Ye Olde Donut Shoppe in Champaign

Lisa Chasanov

Review | Ye Olde Donut Shoppe: local donuts and coffee off-campus

June 1, 2023

Ye Olde Donut Shoppe, despite its unassuming exterior in a South Neil Street strip mall, is a unique local business that serves a rotating variety of sweet treats each day. 

The donut shop offers a different gourmet flavored cake donut each day as well as traditional donuts in a variety of different flavors — all baked fresh the same morning before the crack of dawn.

Also serving basic coffee beverages using local beans from Columbia Street Roastery in Champaign, Ye Olde Donut Shoppe represents Central Illinois through everything it sells.

The store opens its doors bright and early each day at 6 a.m., displaying the pastries sourced from their dedicated bakehouse earlier that morning. At 9:30 a.m., while the most popular selections may be gone, a variety of donuts still remain.

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    Lisa Chasanov

    Ye Olde Donut Shoppe menu


    The medium roast Columbia Street Roastery brew served at Ye Olde Donut Shoppe leaves something to be desired.

    Although it is evident that the beans used in brewing this cup were of a high quality, it seemed as though at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, the coffee flowing from the Shoppe’s heated reservoir was not particularly stiff.

    Even so, the raw materials used to brew this cup shone — with notes of dark berries and a pleasant acidity. It is good to know that there are solid beans being roasted on Columbia Street.

    For those who don’t enjoy a strong cup of coffee, this may be the place to go. The cup was mild, unassuming, relatively inexpensive and sufficiently hot.

    However, as someone who prefers a brew with a bit more umph, I will not be frequenting Ye Olde Donut Shoppe for a cup of coffee.

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      Lisa Chasanov

      Ye Olde Donut Shoppe exterior

      Cinnamon roll donut with cream cheese icing

      Prior to my arrival at the Shoppe at 10 a.m. on Memorial day, all of the flavor of the day cake donuts had already been depleted from behind the store’s shiny plexiglass display.

      Unaware of the store’s specialties, I enlisted the help of the employee behind the counter. They ever so kindly described all of the flavors and recommended a cinnamon roll donut with cream cheese icing, stating that the pastry was the most distinctive thing left on the roster at that point in the day.

      The donut itself had a pleasant texture — the dough was chewy, slathered in a sticky sugary goop and seasoned with a healthy dose of cinnamon. The dessert tasted strongly of butter and warm aromatic spices.

      The cream cheese icing evoked whipped cream, decadent buttercream frosting and that pleasant tart funkiness that accompanies a tall slice of cheesecake.

      Although the donut had pleasant flavor notes and seemed to be well executed, it is important to note that each and every part of the experience was marked by an overpowering sweetness.

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        Despite the fact that each of the ingredients shone through and tasted good, it was entirely too rich and saccharine for me to finish in a sitting.

        In short: having a cup of coffee to wash it down was a godsend.

        If the goal in visiting Ye Olde Donut Shoppe is not to partake in a tooth-achingly sweet piece of dough with sugary frosting on it, then I fear this may not be the place for you.

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        Maaike Niekerk

        Base of a donut lamp at Ye Olde Donut Shoppe

        Custard-filled Long John

        The incredibly polite staff make you feel at home as you select whichever flavor suits your fancy. Depending on the hour of the day when you arrive, you may be limited in your choices, but Ye Olde Donut Shoppe’s selection of everything from cake donuts, to old-fashioned, to classics provides something for everyone.

        A custard-filled long john was filled somewhat unevenly, creating some overwhelming sweetness during parts of the eating experience. Although this was an enjoyable treat, the level of sweetness present in the cream may be overpowering for those who are sensitive to sweet foods.

        In spite of the sweet filling, the donut was not too rich and still left room for a second flavor.

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        Maaike Niekerk

        Andes Mint donut from Ye Olde Donut Shoppe

        Andes Mint Donut

        A classic donut topped with chopped-up Andes chocolate mints was, again, slightly overpowering in its sweetness.

        In spite of this fact, the ingredients seemed to be of a high quality and the donut was extremely well made.

        Donuts can be difficult to prepare correctly, especially when preparing them on a daily basis to be served at 6 a.m. What this donut shop lacked in consistency, they made up for in flavor and quality.

         Ye Olde Donut Shoppe provides an undoubtedly sweet treat, but maintains quality and freshness across the board with their donuts.

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