By Madison Gillespie
This cheerful pink food truck is a familiar sight for University of Illinois students. With its adorable panda logo and a variety of homemade donuts, Pandamonium Doughnuts is a favorite stop for early birds on campus. Usually located outside the Espresso Royale on Goodwin and Oregon, Pandamonium offers a unique donut menu Tuesdays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. until they sell out, which is usually quickly!
Until recently, this food truck was the only way to get a taste of the s’mores, matcha green tea, and blueberry lemon donuts (to name a few flavors) that have caused quite the buzz on campus. That all changed at the beginning of October, when Pandamonium opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Champaign. Located at 1105 Windsor Road, this storefront features longer hours and a more expansive menu than the food truck, all while featuring the same gourmet donut flavors that the Urbana-Champaign area has come to love.
While the Pandamonium Doughnuts storefront is not large, its minimalistic layout provides a spacious interior for customers. Its tile flooring, black and white counters, and metal furniture are in sharp contrast to the smiling panda face with frosted pink donut eyes greeting you on the front door. However, this contemporary design makes the shop a neat place to study or just sit and chat.
Another interesting feature is the floor-to-ceiling mural taking up the entire right wall of the shop. The mural, which features caricature-style sketches of pandas selling donuts to the Urbana-Champaign community, was designed by a local artist (whose work you can check out here). The level of detail in the artwork is astounding, and the Pandamonium Doughnuts food truck is the focal point, paying special tribute to the shop’s roots.
In terms of their menu, Pandamonium offers a different selection of donuts every day, all of which are freshly made on site prior to opening each morning. A variety of coffee and tea beverages are also available for purchase, and an assortment of house-made syrups can be added to any drink. Also, if you have $17 handy, you can buy a cute Pandamonium Doughnuts T-shirt featuring the panda logo, and one of the donuts in your purchase will be free!
This being said, there are a few important things to take into consideration before planning a visit to the Pandamonium Doughnuts storefront. Since it is located off campus, unlike the food truck, this makes the shop a bit more inaccessible to students. Because of this, it’s important to check bus routes, find someone to carpool with, or call an Uber or Lyft in order to get a taste of these scrumptious donuts.
Also, it’s important to get there early. The storefront opens at 7:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 8 a.m. on Sundays, so your best chance to get first pick of the donuts for the day is as close to opening as possible. While Pandamonium makes more donuts in their storefront than they do in their food truck, they still tend to sell out of donut flavors before closing. The first time I visited the shop, my friends and I arrived around noon and only one flavor of donuts was left, even though the shop didn’t close for another two hours. Everything ended up working out that day, but in order to avoid situations like this, just make sure to go in the morning!
Overall, the Pandamonium Doughnuts storefront is an excellent extension of this gourmet donut brand. The store has a great atmosphere for relaxing, and the addition of coffees and teas to the menu is a definite bonus. Just set a couple of alarms, and you can get everything you need for a nice morning pick-me-up before work or classes.
All images used in this article are from Pandamonium Doughnuts’ social media! Follow them today on Instagram @pandadoughnutcu, on Facebook at Pandamonium Doughnuts, and check out their website on Wix.com for daily donut menus, announcements, and more!