Friday, May 14, 2010

Lee's Donuts: Like the Little Donut Shop I Grew Up With It

Growing up, there was a little donut shop by my elementary school. It was called Mr. D's Donuts, and it was owned by a really nice Korean couple who loved the kids who would come in before school to buy an early morning donut. For a while, it was a semi-regular stop on my way to classes, and I would sit at the counter and have a cinnamon twist or an old-fashioned and a pint of milk, reading a book, waiting for class to start. As far as I know, the donut shop is still there, though it's run by the next generation of that family, now.

I moved away, though, and had to settle for Dunkin Donuts in the college town I lived in after I left home. It has a certain mall food appeal: everything is exactly the same, at every Dunkin Donuts in every town all over the country. But, when we got to Eugene? No Dunkin Donuts. We went on a search for the Good Donut Shop of this town. I don't know that we've found it, but we have found one thing that bears mentioning here: the best apple fritter in the Eugene/Springfield area.

You'll find it at an unassuming little donut shop in West Eugene. We have to drive about 20 minutes to get there, so it requires a little advanced planning if we're going to have donuts on any given weekend morning, but it's SO worth it for the apple fritters.

They're absolutely huge, for one. A single one is well over a meal for one, with a cold glass of milk. Sometimes, they could have a little more apple in them, but I have almost never had a fritter so perfectly fried. It's doughy and delicious inside and has the perfect outer crust and light coating of glaze. When we go, I get two, because they save well enough to make a late night snack or a second day breakfast, and they lose almost none of their deliciousness after 12 or 24 hours, provided you keep the bag closed tightly. If you're a fan of this kind of donut, you should definitely go have one soon!

They also have ice cream, though we've never partaken. Inside, the shop is pretty much exactly a suburban donut joint, complete with a TV that is usually tuned to TNT, as far as I can tell. We always just take our donuts to go, and Mr. Lee is often nice enough to slip us an extra donut for the road.

Location: 1950 Echo Hollow Rd, in the same parking lot as Big Lots.

Hours: I think they close at 3:00 PM.

Lee's Donuts on Urbanspoon


  1. I have to agree -- I tried both of the donut shops I knew about in Eugene, and that one was the better of the two, IMO. Never had their apple fritters, mostly because by the time I girded myself to make the trip out there, I needed DONUTS in a bad way. Let's hope Voodoo Donuts lives up to its PDX parentage.

  2. This sounds lovely. I nearly went in search of the fritters just on the strength of your word.

    Mmm, donuts.

  3. It's a good thing they have the best donut in West Eugene. Because they have the worst customer service of any family owned business I've ever been to. They are unfriendly, rude, and treat you like they're doing you a favor by selling you their donut - donut nazi's.

  4. Oh, Ron, I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience there. I can't say that they've ever been anything but pleasant or even kind to me, but it seems your mileage varied. :(