Mr. Maple Donuts | Vancouver, WA
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Mr. Maples Donuts was suggested to me by my Mother in-law while I was visiting her and other family in Vancouver, WA for Thanksgiving this year. She thought I would really enjoy it, since I'm known as the person who loves donuts and coffee, could give some feedback.
I'm not one to eat a ton of food on this particular holiday as is the tradition with most Americans. So having that 'post food coma' feel wasn't an issue and I could find plenty of space (and reasons) to get some donuts for my road trip back home.
With a long ticker-like sign stretching across the top portion of the two sides of the cornered building it was easy to spot from NE 78th Street, coming from the west, right next to the I-5 on and off ramps. Not too inconvenient at all! A spot I would probably frequent in the morning if I worked/lived here.
When I walked in it was already frozen outside with the morning sunshine caressing the chairs that were occupied by other donut goers. Donut shops are like coffee shops: They open early, close early, and have regulars. However, Mr Maple Donuts breaks this convention by staying open until 9-freaking-PM. I have never seen any other donut shop open that late before. It's almost unheard of. The regulars, however, were quite evident!
I saw the usual artwork you would see in a donut shop sporting the puns and jokes. Honestly, they get old fast. But there was one piece of artwork that caught my eye, which was from a child saying 'thank you' for a donation that the store had made to a local organization. Awesome, they love community. They definitely have regulars then.
In my honest opinion, kids' artwork is some of the best artwork I enjoy. Oh, look, they put their creamer on ice. That's smart. (I don't take creamer in any of my coffee, btw)
The interior has a modern texture to it with the furniture and counter tops, but the usual bland tile and wall paint as any other Ma & Pa donut shop. Except those tiles were intact and not dirty. The chairs were comfortable! I can't say that for many places. Their drink options were varied and had everything to fit any time of the day. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The menus are displayed on large flat screen LED TVs with clear, legible lettering. The donut options sit just under with a wide view for the buyer to make a well-informed decision. I ordered up the usual, a plain glazed, old fashion glazed, and a Boston Cream, along with one of their specialties. 6 in total so I could get the price of the half-dozen.
These donuts are small in comparison to other shops I've been to. Which makes the $1.35 price point seem a bit high for the regular styled donuts. I've had bigger, fuller donuts that were $0.65. This might be them trying to make back a profit faster, since from what I understand, they opened recently. Other stores also stick around this range, so it might just be them looking at the market and making a decision based on average market prices.
The rest of the prices I think could follow suit since they are all quite small. All except maybe the Fritters and other fried specialties. They also serve other breakfast items like bagels with cream cheese, which I was tempted to try.
Starting with the regular glazed donut, it was a bit disappointing. Firstly, there was a section of the donut that was not glazed at all. As if the person glazing this batch partially missed this donut that was sitting on the edge of the rack. Someone was not paying attention to detail, which decreases the quality of the donut.
Biting into it was satisfying. Exactly as soft as you would like a donut to be. Brown on the outside, white on the inside. Wonderful texture, but no flavor to add to the experience unfortunately. I've had strong flavored donuts and subtle flavored donuts, and this one was nowhere between. There was no hint of vanilla or butter or any other flavor you would expect in a classic donut. The glaze was the same. Nothing special.
I moved on to the old fashion glazed donut. The inside definitely had flavor, with that traditional hint of vanilla held by the buttery fluff inside the rough exterior. Texture was as expected, yet the glaze didn't offer anything. I would say this old fashion could have just as easily been enjoyed without the glaze. But a far cry from the regular donut.
I then tried the Boston Cream with hopes that the cream would have something interesting. It did not. It was just as plain as the plain donut. I do, however, like that the chocolate icing stayed atop the donut while eating it. A lot of times the topping slides off or crumbles into the napkin/wrapper below. In a sad, slow motion kind of way.
A specialty donut (or Fancy as they call it) I tried was the Cheese Cake, which had a filling and was topped with crumbles. It was surprisingly good. The crumbles did not fall off much, which good considering how much it adds to the flavor of the donut as a whole. The dough wasn't anything special, very much like the regular glazed, but the filling was very different. It wasn't too much, yet added enough flavor to not only compliment the crumbles on top, but really stand out from every other donut I tried.
Still wish they were bigger.
Coffee is as you would expect from any small coffee shop: not great. I would even say it had a Folgers ground bin taste to it. If you want to pair your donut with decent coffee, don't get the coffee here.
I sat back for a few while eating the donuts and sipping my coffee. The atmosphere was nice in the morning. I don't recall any music or radio playing, but I may have drowned that out with people watching. Which was enjoyable, and more importantly comfortable!
Their box was aptly covered in their name, but with no logo. The little Mr. Maple character is fun and would also be fun on the box. If you're going to veer away from the pink box tradition, I say throw some creativity into it!
They have a large selection of other kinds of donuts, with a selection geared towards kids. If you're in the Vancouver, WA area, I do suggest going by and maybe grabbing one or two, or a half dozen. Because why not?
Overall I'd give this place a solid 3 out of 5 donuts. The almost modern design of the place was clear they went more towards cheap/practical use rather than aesthetic and style, which I can still respect. When I get a donut I don't care where I sit, as long as I can eat it! The staff was very friendly and conversational. The traditional donuts themselves didn't deliver on taste, but definitely on texture. Again, the portion sizes were a bit small for what I'm used to, but seems like the perfect size for a young one. If they were a little bigger, I'd be OK with the current pricing. These are definitely not artisan donuts.
Thank you for having me Mr. Maple Donuts!