Daylight Donuts: First Impressions

I grew up in New Jersey where Dunkin’ Donuts are as ubiquitous as 7-Eleven. I’m no donut junkie, but I do enjoy them and appreciate quality. Living in Richmond, however, means a comparative dearth of donut shops. There are a handful of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises around, but too far outside the city for practical travel. We have a lone Krispy Kreme that’s reasonably close, and they’re pretty solid. There is, of course, the excellent Country Style Donuts out by the airport on Williamsburg Rd (you can find their goodies at the fantastic Lamplighter coffee shop, as well).

So imagine my surprise when I drove past a new donut supplier yesterday on my way home from dinner in the West End. In part of the space once occupied by the Richmond Decorating Center I saw the bright blue and yellow sign for Daylight Donuts:

daylight donuts signage

This morning I decided to check it out, and while it wasn’t bad it wasn’t really anything special, either. The chalk-written menu boards over the counter didn’t indicate what donut varieties were available. Nor were there any little signs in the case by each donut. Sure, some were self-explanatory, like the cake donut with chocolate frosting and chopped peanuts, or the glazed cruller. But the filled donuts? The donuts with different glazes? I received quick responses from the staff to my inquiries, but I could see this missing basic information causing a slow-moving line during the morning rush. At any rate, I settled on the orange-glazed cake and a powdered donut filled with custard:

donuts and milk carton on a tray

The donuts were okay. The orange-glazed cake donut had a decent texture, but the glaze had only the slightest hint of citrus and tasted, for the most part, like generic sweetness. My custard-filled powdered donut fared worse. This approximated, to my memory, Dunkin’ Donuts’ “Bavarian Kreme” variety, but with less success. The so-called custard had the same unfortunately fake flavor, but the donut itself was inferior to the yeasty baked goods from Dunkin, Krispy Kreme, or otherwise.

The shop itself felt too empty and boring – cheap and generic decor gave the impression that they’d set up in a hurry on a limited budget (perhaps they did). I understand this is a donut shop and not a fine dining establishment, but nothing about this place invites you to stay, let alone come back. I may return once more to try the aforementioned donut with chopped peanuts on top, but I’m honestly not that intrigued.

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