Visited: Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
A new donut shop? What?! This is big news for any breakfast aficionado, as well as any red-blooded, pastry-loving American. So imagine my surprise when I read online about a new donut shop opening across the street from Ohio State’s campus. It snuck up on me! So on our first available Saturday we sought out the new shop with the quaint name: The Little Donut Shop. You can find The Shop on street level below The Big Bar (get it?), part of the Newport Music Hall building facade.
The interior includes a small ramp up into the space (which eventually leads to the staircase up to the bar). There are cab tables and counters spread along the walls. It’s fairly open and easy to access for the grab-and-go customers.
The menu sports a good variety to begin with, and I’m sure they cycle in some specials once in a while. The pricing is pretty standard, at $1 per donut, $5 for the half dozen, and $8 for the full dozen. I didn’t think to ask how many donuts come in the Late Night Bucket. What’s a little odd is that the current hours – 9am to 4pm – aren’t exactly of the “late night” variety, so I’m not sure when is the ideal time for such a bucket.
Little Donut Shop’s donuts are a little smaller, maybe about three inches across. The intention seems to be that customers can put away two or three of these, in lieu of a single giant bismark or a thick cake donut.
They make up for the smaller size, though, with an over-the-top line-up of toppings, glazes, and flavorings. They seem to draw inspiration from some of the wackier donut shops out there, like VooDoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon. Which is good, in some ways, because Columbus doesn’t have anything quite like that (although Heather at Destination Donuts gets pretty creative). They use one type of cake donut as the base and then go all out with the toppings. See above: the Oreo and the M&M donuts, covered in a white glaze and generously smothered.
We grabbed a good variety: maple bacon, M&M, chocolate, samoa, Milky Way, and sprinkle. The verdict? Good, but not mind-blowing. Certainly very sweet and fun to eat: a big hit with our kiddos. The base donut is pretty simple, and the toppings are very creative, but they came off as overly sweet. Case in point: the Milky Way is a donut that’s glazed and drizzled with caramel and mini chocolate chips and more chocolate. It’s just a lot of sugar packed into one small bite. I guess my ideal for this size of donut is something like Duck Donuts in North Carolina and Virginia, which uses a simple yeast donut as their base, and then dips them in sweet but balanced toppings.
Little Donut Shop is certainly differentiating itself with a lot of creative flavors. They’ve done a wonderful job with that space and the branding, and hopefully the nearby student population will take notice. Their challenge will be carving out a niche when nearby tried-and-true spots like Buckeye Donuts have already been winning over donut fans for decades.