Better than Shipley's: Classic Donuts

Categories: Sweets

Classic Donuts.JPG
Long ago, I accepted Shipley's dominance of Houston as a case of always had, always will. The warm glazed donuts at the Ella Shipley's are indeed superb, but I avoid other locations.

I was thrilled when Krispy Kreme entered the market, with their ethereally light donuts, but after a few dozen I realized the hot and fresh glazed are too ethereal--they quickly disperse in the mouth, as if Chef Ferran Adria had created a foam for the "El Bulli Donut Shop."

So it was a delight to discover Classic Donuts, 8409 Hillcroft, on the southeast corner of Beechnut and Hillcroft. The donuts here are less dense than Shipley's, and more substantial than Krispy Kreme's. Better yet, they have the minimal sweetness that is required to be a doughnut.

The simple glazed are satisfying enough, but I decided to go for my holy grail of donuts, the Bavarian Cream. Most versions have uninspiring industrial custard that seems to be made for ease of use than taste, but Classic Donuts' filling tastes like a tangy and freshly made. Score! If I was restricted to only one donut for life, this would be it.

Classic Donuts has a wide variety of donuts, twists, rolls, and muffins. I normally don't care for cake donuts, but the maple-glazed cake cruller changed my opinion.

The kolaches have actual bread, rather than the underbaked dough that can be found at many kolache shops. If you want more breakfast, there's tacos, pupusas, flautas, and sopes. The fastidiously clean shop is bustling every morning, but the service is fast and friendly. There's a small area for dining, but most of the trade is to-go.

The final test for any donut is caramelization, in which I put a leftover donut under the broiler for a minute. The kid likes them that way better than fresh. The Classic Donuts didn't fare as well as the denser Shipley's, but then I realized that it was a pointless test. I will never have any leftover Classics.



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Classic Donuts

8409 Hillcroft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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15 comments
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Mike Simon
Mike Simon

There is a new Shipley Do-Nuts "Concept Store" at 12225 Westheimer which takes things to another level. They serve hot donuts, beignets and fresh kolaches (try the Italian sausage with Provolone cheese) 24/7. The dining area is done nicely with benches and cushions, a bar with stools across the front window, as well as tables & chairs. There's also an outdoor patio seating area -- oh, and free wi-fi. If you order online or from your iPhone they'll bring it to your car without waiting in line. You can even save a stop at Starbucks because they serve real espresso based bevs plus frappes & smoothies. I hope this becomes a trend for other Shipleys to follow.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

If it's kolaches you're after, make the drive out to Olde Towne. It's worth every miserable drop of gas.

Guest
Guest

Especially the bacon and cheddar.  Yow.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Shipley's kolaches are terrible...bland, with way a poor meat to bread ratio.  In regards to the Ella location for doughnuts, it really is better than all the rest. 

Guest
Guest

Completely agree.  And I hold a special place in my heart for the Ella location, as it provided 1/3 my diet during Oak Forest's endless Ike power outage (Guinness and Starbucks filling the remainder).

Brian Poirier
Brian Poirier

Kudos to Classic from me also.  After Houston was almost vacated by the Rita scare, it was one of the few places open the next day.  The wife and I stopped and got a big bag of kolaches and breakfast tacos (which is all they were making).

kill heights hipsters
kill heights hipsters

Funny how donut "experts" all claim "their" Shipley's location is the only worthwhile one in town. Both the Ella and North Main locations have been frequently characterized in this manner. Perhaps someone should conduct a "battle Shipley's" between these two locations. And I have to question the opinion of someone who does not care for cake donuts. For shame, sir.

JB
JB

It's Ella for the glazed donuts and N. Main for the kolaches.

John Kiely
John Kiely

I visited the Ella location, and the next day visited the two Shipley's in my vicinity.  The Ella doughnut was decidedly the best of the three.  But that was pre-Classic.

Ali
Ali

I live near the North Main one. It isn't all that. Christy's is still my favorite. But I do want to try Classic.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

In theory I always want to eat a doughut. But my years working at Dunkin' have rendered me unable to eat them. The occasional Greek doughnut from Nikko Nikko's is as close as I can get.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Is there a particular kolache you recommend from Classic?

John Kiely
John Kiely

They are not destination kolaches, though.  Heed Katharine's advice.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Old Towne Kolache at 43rd/290: Get the ham, egg, cheese ranchero kolache. 

John Kiely
John Kiely

The jalapeno sausage and cheese, with a doughnut chaser.

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