DJ Snugglemonster RARELY eats sweets. Perhaps it has something to do with that time he had a “5,000 Calorie Day” with one of his friends and included donuts on the list…and paid for it later. So when he suggested we get donuts, I didn’t question him. And The Donut Shoppe in Arlington on University has made all the hit lists in the Jacksonville Donut game. So we made the trek too early in the morning to get some sugary goodness.
Why so early in the morning? Well rumor has it that the Donut Shoppe opens at 5:00am and closes at 1:00pm…that is, unless they sell out of donuts beforehand. In that case, they just close up shop (or shoppe?) and call it a day. So DJSM bravely hassled me awake at 8:30 in hopes that we got there in time to get the goods. Let me tell you, nothing is worse than waiting in line behind 5 people and listening to them order a dozen donuts, knowing that when they are all gone, you’re out of luck – especially when one customer three people ahead of you suggests to the lady working the counter “oh, just six of those strawberry jelly donuts” and you fear he’s raked the lot of them. But perhaps it makes the reward so much better – that you have conquered the waiting, the line, the early wake up call, and the fear of sold out donuts.
The Donut Shoppe is CASH ONLY. That’s right, only the greenbacks will work here. I get frustrated when a company is cash only in a day of all plastic, but I understand keeping their costs low too. Either way, come prepared. It’ll run you about $7-$8 for a half dozen if that helps. Note that the “ugly” donuts, of which the Donut Shoppe is famous, (basically an apple fritter) and the eclairs are a bit of an upcharge, so you’ll usually have to order those outside of your dozen/half dozen.
As much as I hate to be boring (or what I call “skim milk”), there is absolutely nothing better to me than a glazed donut. If you make it a WARM glazed donut, then I’m in 7th Heaven. I wasn’t expecting the hot donut treatment here, but was pleasantly surprised when my glazed was a bit toasty. The donut was the perfect combination of sweet and doughy. I will say the donut could have been a bit thicker, as it seemed to collapse awful easy. I did like how there it appeared to be a bit of a crunch to the donut – and not just the typical flaky crunch of the glaze – it seemed like the donut itself had a bit of a crust. The texture was a pleasant change of pace. DJSM was equally pleased with his Chocolate Iced Donut and noticed the crunch as well.
Now, when it came to the eclair, I was beyond impressed with its size – at least 8 inches it appeared! Definitely the equivalent of two donuts in one. And honestly, no complaints on the flavor either – the bavarian (or custard) cream was thick and smooth. Given the size however, it seemed that the middle of the donut desperately wanted to cave, and with the slightest whisper of pressure, it would. But great flavor!
Now, when it comes to the jelly stuffed donuts, I think the Donut Shoppe missed the mark a bit. DJSM’s Apple Pie Donut had all of the apple pie filling on one side of the donut, disappointing when an equal distribution is a MUST with filled donuts. We both tried the Strawberry Jelly Filled one, and found the opposite issue – the donut was OVERFILLED with jelly, to the point that we had to drain a significant amount out to have a remotely decent donut. I also found the jelly a bit too thin/loose and we both thought that the flavor of the jelly was off. DJSM suggested that perhaps the jelly was just too sweet. I will admit, given those flaws, the strawberry flavor of the jelly was powerful and intense – you’ll feel like you have a mouthful of fresh strawberries in your mouth for sure.
If you are a donut hound, definitely check this place out, but I would suggest sticking to the classics and straying away from the jelly filled offerings. Go early, bring cash, and don’t freak out when people seem to be cleaning out a certain flavor. Leaps and bounds above the chain powerhouse Krispy Kreme, so it’s worth a tasting!