Blink and You Might Miss It: Donut King Grill in Melrose Park

14 May

One of the things we like about donuts is they bring us to places we might not check out otherwise.

Donut King Grill (a.k.a. Doughnut King & Grill if you’re doing a Google search) is a hole-in-the wall place, part diner and part bakery.  Located right near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Wolf in Melrose Park, IL, it’s the kind of place one might easily miss.  Fortunately, we had our Donut Binoculars handy and spotted it right away.

Here’s what we found:

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Donuts #1 & #2:

Choc. Frosted with Sprinkles & Vanilla Frosted

Coffee Girl: I really liked Donut King’s frosting, both vanilla and chocolate, which was especially fortunate in that their yeast dough was lackluster — bland and overly chewy.  But the frosting was so good that I would be happy to greet another of these donuts on a Saturday morning.

Donut Boy: With both of the above donuts, I enjoyed the flavor of the frosting.  The chocolate was your basic textbook milk chocolate frosting.  The vanilla was a bit more interesting, with a Flavor Nuance I thought might be marshmallow.  Unfortunately, nothing else exciting presented itself with these donuts.  The dough was chewy, bread-y, and disappointingly dry.  They tasted like they’d been sitting around.  The frosting was stiff and too crackly.

Donut #3: Glazed

Donut Boy: Not enough glaze for my taste.  The dough inside could have used something to cover it up/overpower it.  Still kind of dry and chewy, still not that fresh-tasting.

Coffee Girl: If I were to run into one of Donut King’s glazed yeast donuts again, I would stick out my tongue and yell, “I spurn you, you stale, boring donut!”

Donuts #4 & #5:

Glazed Cake & Glazed Choc. Cake

Coffee Girl: I liked the plain glazed cake donut.  While, at first bite, I would have appreciated a soupçon of crunch under the glaze, the cake tasted nice and moist.  The glazed chocolate cake needed intervention, however, with dry, bitter-tasting dough left stranded by an insubstantial glaze.

Donut Boy: Finally, we reached some donuts that weren’t totally dry!  Nice, moist cake that dissolved pleasantly on the tongue.  The glaze surrounding these donuts helped bring a little something to the table, combating the fact that the actual flavor of the cake dough in both donuts was sort of C-list.  It was the moistness of these pastries that I enjoyed the most.

Donut #6: Coconut

Coffee Girl: A good donut.  Needed more exterior crunch, but I love Donut King’s vanilla frosting, and the coconut added variety to the texture.

Donut Boy: I don’t think I could taste anything here except puzzlingly nondescript cake dough.  Was there really frosting or was it some sort of Flavorless Pastry Paint?  Again, I encountered the There’s-Coconut-On-This-Donut-But-I-Can’t-Taste-It problem, but this is commonplace in our Breakfast Adventures.  Let’s move on.

Donut #7: Double Chocolate

Coffee Girl: After the first bite, I ate the frosting off the donut.  I love their frosting, but life is too short for Donut King’s stale, bitter chocolate donut dough.

Donut Boy: While I, too enjoyed the chocolate frosting, the chocolate cake dough underneath was lacking.  Not as terribly dry as the raised donuts we tried early on (see previous), but still not that fresh.  Without the coating of glaze that the glazed chocolate cake donut had (see donut #5), the dough stood sheepishly on its own, and I was not impressed.

Donut #8: Jelly

Donut Boy: The only thing this donut even sort of had going for it was the crunchy coating of granulated sugar on the outside.  The jelly within was stiff and lifeless and tasted like cherry cough medicine (most likely due to artificial flavors and additives).  Tasteless dough.  Gross.

Donut #9: Apple Fritter

Donut Boy: This fritter looked as a fritter should: thin, craggy, dark.  Unfortunately, no real crunch was evident (a key component for any real fritter, as far as I’m concerned); this pastry’s consistency was uniformly blah.  As with other pastries we tried, not that fresh.  Disappointing.

Coffee Girl: This was a real disappointment.  I bet it was delicious when it was hot, but this fritter had apparently lost its will to live as it looked out at the world from its donut shelf.  No crunch at all.  Poor, sad fritter.

Donut #10: Buttermilk

Coffee Girl: Nice heft, nice clefts on the exterior (the better to add surface area to capture sweet glaze), but this donut lacked Taste Focus.  And if one is going to ingest such a large tract of carb acreage, one wants to at least remember what it tasted like.

Donut Boy: This donut had the best texture of the bunch: crunchy and crispy.  The buttermilk dough itself bordered on downright bland and will quickly be forgotten.

Donut #11: Boston Kreme

Donut Boy: At this point, I wasn’t that impressed with Donut King Grill, but I have to admit that I liked this Boston Kreme very much.  A straightforward approach, the custard inside this donut combined nicely with the chocolate frosting in a doubly sweet experience.  The dough was just mushy enough to not be too dry.  I’d get this again.

Donut #12: Bavarian Kreme

Donut Boy: This donut was also good.  Same filling as the Boston Kreme (see above), but this time combined with a powdered sugar coating that gave it a similarly strong sweetness.  This one, too, I would get again.

Donut #13: Blueberry

Coffee Girl: Very nice.  Moist dough with a blueberry-flavored punch to the taste, finished off with a sweet glaze.  And this despite the fact that, as you know, I’m not a big fan of fruit during my Donut Time.

Donut Boy: Moist and blueberry-tastic, I’d have to say this was my favorite donut of the morning.  Sure, I could have used more crunch and the blueberry flavor tasted a bit artificial, but I’d be nitpicking if I tried to steer you away from this donut.  Donut King Grill serves up a great version, and I would happily have another.

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At this point in our adventures,
we have tried many donuts.  This is both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, we’ve had a lot of great donuts.  Hooray for that.

On the other, when donuts are lacking, it is immediately apparent.  The donuts we tried this morning at Donut King Grill didn’t wow us.  No single donut had it all (freshness, gooey frosting, moistness, etc.), but certain aspects of certain donuts were good.  And it’s important for us to keep things in context: Any of the above donuts are still way better than Dunkin’.

Still, on a Saturday morning — prime donut-eating time — you would expect a donut shop to bring their A-game.  If this is the best Donut King Grill has to offer, we’re a little scared of their worst (Where was the freshness???).

If you live near Donut King Grill, it’s the kind of place that’s worth stopping by and checking out.  Having done so ourselves, we might stick with something a little closer to home next time.

Until next week!

-CG&DB

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One Response to “Blink and You Might Miss It: Donut King Grill in Melrose Park”

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  1. Ancona Bakery in Northlake: How dry is too dry? « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - May 21, 2011

    […] our way to Donut King Grill last week, we spotted this place right near the intersection of North Avenue and Wolf Road.  We […]

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