Savoy continues to attract new developers and shop owners; that now includes Industrial Donut, housed behind Christie Clinic and Aldi on Commerce Drive. (From Route 45/Dunlap, turn onto Calvin Street by the Mobil station and it’s immediately on your right.)
What’s nice about this new development is there are plenty of parking spaces with room to turn around. It doesn’t have the same cramped feeling as other busy shopping areas in town. (Looking at you, Carriage Center.)
The concept of this all-cake donut shop is that they’re fried fresh in front of you before being dipped into your preferred icings and toppings. They also serve coffee, offer free Wi-Fi, and have a unique ordering system — more on that in a bit.
My donut review is based on two different visits: One right when they open at 7:30 a.m., and another closer to 1 p.m., when they close. I wanted to see if the time of day would affect the flavor or freshness at all.
At least in East Central Illinois, opening at 7:30 a.m. is almost too late for early birds and those who want to pop in before work, where most people have to be by 8 o’clock. Perhaps down the road, Industrial Donut will consider opening at 7 a.m. or earlier, but for now, this opening time attracts a line of hungry people before the doors are even unlocked. I got there at 7:15 a.m. for my first visit, waited with a few others, and they unlocked the door at 7:25 a.m. Once inside the spacious shop, you follow the laminate “footsteps,” which take you to the specific counter with plenty of pens and pads, which is how you order.
The ordering sheets make it a fun process; it feels like donut bingo. Every custom donut starts with a freshly fried cake donut, the base of which has a bit of a lemon flavor, but I have since learned that not everyone tastes it. There are 16 available toppings and 7 icings and glazes. They feature a weekly flavor and some regular specialty donuts, too, so there are what feels like limitless combinations.
The boxes for the specialty and plain & simple donuts reside at the bottom of the ordering sheet. Specialty donuts range from the Industrial Waste (which is a donut that has all of their toppings on it except for bacon), the PB&J-hole, which is exactly what you would expect, the dirty donut (plain glaze topped with Oreo and a gummy worm), and the special of the week. Plain & Simple include powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and plain (for donut purists, I guess).
For my first visit, I ordered a half dozen to go. Each donut is $1.49, but they are discounted if you order a half dozen ($7.99) or a dozen ($13.99). I was pleasantly surprised when my total came out to $8 and change, as there are many sweet treats in town priced at $3 to $5 for one item, so this really felt like a bargain. I made a note that they offer a plain iced coffee (16oz) for $1.99, and you doctor it to your liking at the coffee station at the front of the store. They do offer espresso-based drinks, which is a nice perk. At my first visit, I noticed a heavier scent of oil in the air, which makes sense, as the donuts are made to order. For anyone picky about getting the odor in your hair and clothing, you may not want to linger.
My six donuts were: chocolate frosted, strawberry frosted, maple with toasted coconut, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and glaze with raspberry drizzle. Taking them to my office, some were cut in half and shared, and others were snatched up whole. I sampled bites from the cinnamon sugar, the maple with toasted coconut, and the plain glaze with raspberry drizzle. They were all fried fresh and served warm. They held onto some of their warmth by the time we tried them, which made it feel like an extra special treat.
It’s really fun to watch the donuts made in front of you, both being fried and then dipped. The cinnamon sugar was the outstanding favorite: zero flaws. Some donut shops prefer to use a caster or granulated sugar, but this is powdered sugar with cinnamon blended in; it's my personal favorite, and it works extremely well with freshly fried cake donuts, since it tastes similar to a funnel cake at a fair, but with cinnamon added in. Coffee or milk would make a perfect companion. The maple with toasted coconut was also excellent; the toasted coconut provided a bit of crunch and texture without piling on more sweetness. The gal behind the counter told me maple with bacon bits on top is extremely popular, a) because bacon, and b) sweet and salty is always a great combination.
The plain glazed with raspberry drizzle, was really flavorful but most of it had leaked into the box by the time I got to it. Perhaps if I had eaten it at the shop, I could have gobbled it up while hot and not cared. But taking it to go, it’s less than appealing when most of the topping has melted off. The strawberry donut was the least popular, at least among adults at an office. I took a forkful of it when it was the lone orphan in the box and for me, it was incredibly artificial tasting, like what you find in a strawberry frosted cereal. That said, kids probably love it, especially if they want to put candy or other crunchy toppings on it.
For the second visit, we did another office run and grabbed a dozen donuts just before closing time at 1 p.m. The place was relatively empty and they were finished making donuts for the day, so the scent of oil was almost nonexistent. All of the donuts we got had already cooled completely but still tasted incredibly fresh.
In this box were: chocolate icing with M&Ms, chocolate icing with bacon, maple icing with bacon, peanut butter icing with Oreo and bacon, vanilla icing with sprinkles, vanilla icing with bacon, two cinnamon sugar, one vanilla with cinnamon sugar on top, maple icing with peanuts, chocolate icing with toasted coconut, and a vanilla icing with toasted coconut. I took two donuts from this box: the cinnamon sugar and the chocolate icing with toasted coconut.
Cinnamon sugar for the win! Despite being completely cooled, it still tasted fresh and delicious. It was a bit crumbier, but I was also trying to be less messy at my desk and eat it with a fork, which probably didn’t help. Someone else seconded the fact that his donut was crumby and fell apart on him. My chocolate one with toasted coconut was also top notch. A note on the oil flavor: the cooled donuts did not have a distinct oil flavor like the hot ones did on the first visit, so if you are picky about this, it may be best to let the donuts cool before eating.
Everyone enjoyed thier donuts. That said, the person who ordered the peanut butter icing with Oreo and bacon said he would get it without the bacon next time. Another person who had bacon on top said the bacon was extremely chewy and had a jerky texture to it, but he liked that it balanced the sweetness of the donut. No one complained that any of the icings or glazes were too sweet, either.
It would be fair to say Industrial Donut is a hit for both adults and children, and has filled a donut-shaped hole in the southern part of our twin cities. I won’t be surprised if their hours become extended down the road: they are open 7:30 a.m to 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday and are, unfortunately, closed on Sundays.
Stop in and find your favorite flavor combination!
501 Commerce Dr
M-Sa 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Photos by Zoe Valentine