I was skeptical of Holy Donuts.
I'd seen their donuts at places like the Friendly Street Café, where they looked small, scrawny, and dry next to their fluffier, non-vegan cousins. The day that I ended up at Holy Donuts, my original goal had been VooDoo Doughnuts downtown -- but that place is, so far, only inconsistently open.
So it was that on a gorgeous Saturday night, C and I walked past the Eugene Mail Stop, down something called "the holy trail," and finally saw, for the first time, the adorable little shop and courtyard of Holy Donuts. It really is a cute little building, painted green, with a wide window showing off the donut case inside and fairy lights strung through the tree branches. A few sturdy outdoor tables and a less sturdy swinging sofa dot the grassy courtyard and its constructed, flower-lined path. This place, I'd already decided, was much cuter than I'd expected (as I'd been expecting no open space behind the mail place, just a crowded, converted back room).
Then, inside, we saw something to further change hearts and minds: a vegan donut with bacon on top.
Yes, it's real bacon. We asked.
This meatiness shouldn't come as such a surprise, I guess. Though the donuts and their frostings are vegan, the rest of the place's menu isn't. There's a BLT sandwich on offer, along with chicken salad. For the no-meat but yay-dairy among us, the night we visited they had some delightful looking morning pies -- think Cornish pasties -- that had brie, fake sausage, and other herbs, swirling in the refrigerated case.
But what about those donuts?
Mine were great. I had a standard cake donut with raspberry frosting -- made, shock of all shocks, from real raspberries. The donut itself, which is fried cake, was surprisingly moist and sweet. I later had a maple bar with chocolate zig-zagged across the top, and I can report, faithfully, that it was very good as well -- though I did miss the flaky lightness that a very good, non-cake base offers in a long-john.
C went for the bacon bar, which has crumbled bits instead of slabs (a la VooDoo). On his first bite, he proclaimed the frosting "amazing," and I'd have to agree. Real maple syrup seems to have touched these toppings. He also had a jelly-filled donut, and the filling itself -- again, with real raspberries! -- was tasty but not well spread throughout, and there was a battle with a 1/2 inch of powdered sugar to even find the donut.
Still, those small individual taste quibbles aside, this place rocks. We took home a fritter bite ($1), which is exactly what it sounds like (and 1/3 the cost of their massive, tasty-looking apple fritters), and two donut sticks (one chocolate, one plain). The donut sticks alone, which kept marvelously for three days (with only a brief detour to the freezer), will draw me back. I've found chocolate donuts in so many places to be disappointing -- not chocolatey enough -- so imagine my delight at finding this this slim, glazed dunking stick, with chocolate rich and sweet enough to cry out for coffee.
When I go back, I will try their coffee, and maybe one of those breakfast pastries, and maybe five or six other things. Because, oh yes, I will go back. Holy donut, will I ever.
Location: 1437 Willamette
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays.