Not to be confused with Dunkin: Dunk Donuts in Melrose Park

9 Apr

While we do a fair amount of Internet research before vising donut shops, sometimes we are fortunate enough to simply happen upon a bakery in our day-to-day travels.  This was the case with Dunk Donuts in Melrose Park, IL, which we spotted earlier this week while out driving.

While the name is similar to that of the corporate giant, Dunk Donuts’ pastries would never be confused with Dunkin’ Donuts once one has had the chance to try them.  We were joined this Saturday by our fellow Donuteers Dame Danish and Colonel Custard.

Here’s what we found:


Donut #1: Buttercream Glazed Old Fashioned

Donut Boy: This unassuming donut instantly brought a smile to my face.  Few things are as satisfying as a cake donut done right.  Good donut-makers understand this basic requirement: The cake must be moist.  Here, it certainly was.  Awesome gnarled texture on the outside, strong cake dough flavor with a buttery, sticky-sweet glaze.  Phenomenal.

Coffee Girl: Is your mouth watering as you consider the picture above?  Mine is.  Oh!  The cake — so moist, so sweet, so innocent!  The glaze — so sinful, so knowing, as it slithered through my mouth making all my tastebuds squirm in delight!  I want to marry this donut and live forever in Donut Bliss.

Colonel Custard: This is the best cake donut I’ve ever had.

Donuts #2-3: Whipped Cream Frosted Cake Donut with Sprinkles

Donut Boy: There were so many sprinkles, it was kind of hard to tell what kind of frosting lay waiting beneath.  Oh! such glorious surprise when we discovered a whipped cream-based frosting — a Breakfast Adventures first.  Why aren’t more donuts made with frosting like this?  We were glad we picked up two of these — the fat cake donuts beneath were crumbly but not too dry and the sprinkles were a textural delight.

Coffee Girl: Sadly, no sooner had my lips touched these second donuts than I had to divorce Donut #1.  Here was my true love.  Whipped cream frosting held firmly but lovingly in place by a teeming mass of luscious chocolate sprinkles.  You probably can’t even imagine how much of an aphrodisiac this donut was.  You must get thee to Dunk Donuts forthwith and experience Donut Heaven.

Dame Danish: Oh, my.

Donut #4: Whipped Cream Frosted Long John with Sprinkles

Donut Boy: This donut provided us with an opportunity to separate the distinct parts of Dunk Donuts’ pastries and evaluate them individually.  Here we had the same frosting and sprinkles from previous donuts (see #2-3), but on top of a raised yeast donut.  Unfortunately, Dunk Donuts’ yeast dough proved to be inferior to the cake dough.  While I greatly enjoyed the strong buttery flavor, the dough itself proved to be either too squishy or containing a certain degree of “chew” (something you never want in any donut really — the best donuts are quickly fleeting Flavor Moments).  Good, but not as good as its cake donut kin.

Coffee Girl: This donut tried to seduce me, but I was already in a committed relationship with Donut #2 (see above), so its charm was wasted.

Donut #5: Nut

Donut Boy: The clerk behind the counter offered only the word “nut” when asked what type of donut this was.  So we were left to try to tease out exactly what kind of nut(s) adorned this pastry.  This proved a pleasant exercise.  Great, great crunch on top of (as discussed) a great cake donut.  I thought I detected a salty presence I would name as peanuts.  This donut’s air of Flavor Mystery only added to its intrigue, and I would certainly welcome another opportunity to conduct further Flavor Research.

Coffee Girl: What, you’ve never cheated on a boy/girlfriend?  I couldn’t help myself: the mere whiff of nuts unhinges me.  And it was worth it — oh, it was worth it.  Such crunch!  A nutty taste with a much more distinct character than I have come to expect from these nutty bad boys, who all too often lure me into a cheap intimacy, only to leave me pining for the Real Thing.

Donut #6: Maple Frosted Cake

Donut Boy: We love some good maple frosting.  And here we found it.  Creamy, sticky.  What I liked about this donut was that the maple flavor truly worked in tandem with the strong, almost spiced flavor of the cake dough.  Either on their own would be tasty, but together it proved a real winner.

Coffee Girl: Of course, when I first met this donut, I was actually in a committed relationship.  I’d like to say I played hard to get, but it was pretty much ecstasy at first bite.  My friends know that I’m a pushover when it comes to maple frosting.  And paired with Dunk Donuts’ signature luscious cake donut?  Seven minutes of heaven.

Donut #7: Lemon-Topped Yeast Donut

Donut Boy: I’m really at a loss with regards to exactly what to call this donut.  We were simply provided with “lemon.”  Fortunately, my concerns over Donut Classification took a backseat to my appreciation of this pastry’s flavor.  I actually thought the raised dough in this donut was better than other yeast donuts we tried (see #4), and the powdered sugar on top was nice.  This would have been a good donut without the lemon on top.  But the lemon custard was smooth, cool, and tart.  An interesting donut I certainly enjoyed.

Donut #8: Strawberry Jelly

Donut Boy: This donut was a true disappointment.  First, check out this extremely weird Jelly Distribution:

At first glance, there appears to be almost no jelly.  A second bite reveals a weird pocket of excess jelly (but only in one half of the donut):

The other half had almost no jelly in it.  Total failure on Dunk Donuts’ part, as far as Jelly Distribution goes.  Alas, the mystery did not end there.  I swear I detected a sour flavor in the jelly — honestly, it tasted like someone snuck yellow mustard into my donut.  Gross.  The dough surrounding this donut was good, but the jelly’s totally lopsided distribution and (frankly) disgusting flavor made me sad.

Donut #9: Chocolate Frosted

Donut Boy: Very sticky, gooey frosting with a classic milk-chocolate flavor.  Yay!  Unfortunately, the dough was just a little too chewy.  I would have preferred this frosting on one of their cake donuts.

Donut #10: Glazed

Donut Boy: I really liked the almost-overwhelmingly buttery flavor that hit my tongue immediately.  Unfortunately, that’s about all this donut had going for it.  Very squishy, which I kind of liked, but ultimately the dough did not dissolve fast enough on the tongue.  Too much chewing involved.

Coffee Girl: Now I wasn’t going to just give the yeast donuts the cold shoulder; that would have been rude.  I was just having a harmless conversation with the chocolate frosted and its friend, plain glazed, when all of a sudden I found myself chewing them.  And chewing.  And chewing.  I’m with Donut Boy here.  If I wanted to chew that much, I’d be a dog.

Donut #11: Custard

Donut Boy: Because of my previous bad experience with Dunk Donuts’ jelly-filled donut (see #8), I was wary of this donut.  Turns out I was right to be wary.  The filling in this donut was even more sparse.  In fact, one half of the donut had no filling at all:

Zero filling in this half of the custard donut.

It’s a shame, because the custard I did get was tasty.  The powdered sugar added a nice level of sweetness, too.  But I think Dunk Donuts needs to seriously reexamine their filling methods.

Donut #12: Apple Fritter

Donut Boy: We’ve encountered giant apple fritters before (see here).  At first, one just gapes at the mammoth pastry.  But then one quickly remembers their duty and digs in.  Here, we were happy to find that quantity was no substitute for quality.  Crunchy exterior with a real “fried” taste and chunks of moist apple laced throughout.  A classic fritter and plenty of it.  Just make to sure to bring a few fellow Donut Appreciators along with you.

Coffee Girl: Sometimes we just have to have a little sump’n sump’n on the side.  While I will never completely wipe the maple frosting off my fingers, I really have to confide that a romp with this bodacious apple fritter is not to be missed.  Ooooeeee baby!  We’re talking some mighty fine, buttery crunch!  Almost too much to handle.  I suggest a threesome.  Just don’t tell my maple frosted honey bunch that I’m playing the field.


It never gets old. We’re always so happy to discover a new donut shop.  Dunk Donuts proved to be a worthy addition to Our List with their consistently awesome cake donuts and their very special whipped cream frosting.  We were reminded this morning, though, of an important Donuteering Rule: Always be sure to examine all racks of the bakery before placing your order.  As we paid for our donuts, we noticed a second rack below the counter with some very intriguing flavors:

Chocolate frosted with nuts? We should have been paying more attention!

Our regret that we had not ordered any of these donuts was quickly replaced with this realization: We just need to come back to Dunk Donuts soon and try more of the flavors they offer.  This, we will happily do.

Until next week!



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